Japanese – Kanji Goal

Well, today is the start of a hectic Kanji week. Why? I have a simple goal of being able to read Haruki Murakami in Japanesemurakami. Recently I’ve read a short essay and a story which were part of two separate volumes of Japanese reading material. These books are aimed at students of Japanese – one offers a parallel text the other supportive commentary. I’ve really enjoyed reading these but to read more of such works is near impossible as they aren’t readily available in Japanese here. So, I’ve looked to Japan for the books I really want. I’m not sure I could tackle one of his novels – I’ll be lost in the ethereal narrative – so instead I want to read his shorter works specially his articles. Over the weekend I found a couple of books which seem to offer just what I want. But will it be near impossible to ‘read’ them? The chances, yes. Why? Kanji. At the moment I know around 400 or so characters but I really need to sharpen this knowledge. So this is my approach:

4 days a week, 20mins.
1. This week I’m going to be inputting the words from the ストーリ Kanji book. I’ll be doing this in LingQ as a way to record the time I spend and also my progress. My goal here is to see if I recognise the different readings. I’m creating a vocabulary list that is geared towards learning Kanji rather than simply learning the meaning of the words.

2. As well as working on my LingQ list, I will also be revising the meaning of each Kanji. I will use my textbook lists and also Sticky Study for this. Maybe even throw in the flashcards as well.

3. I hope to find time to use the ‘Look and Learn’ workbook as this goes through 500 characters in a contextual way.

4. MLC is a great site for JLPT tests. I’ll be using their N4 quizzes to aid retention.

5. Continually refresh my memory of the radicals –

6. Buy a poster??

So, my deadline for all of this is 1st of November


Japanese – Kanji pitstop



It’s always hard when starting Japanese when to actually begin looking at Kanji. Certainly getting through Kana can take time Yet the Kanji mountain can be tough to conquer. Where to begin?

 A lot of people do recommend Heisig’s ‘Remembering the Kanji’. Certainly there are some good supportive devices out thkanjiere now what with Anki and Memrise to help you revise these characters. I started with this book but somehow gave up around lesson 8. Was this the best thing to have done?
Heisig’s first book is great for remembering the meaning of the characters but not how to read them. At first it’s a struggle to commit yourself to this book as you actually want to be able to read them as well. My stopping at lesson 8 was for his reason. I moved onto ‘Kanji through Stories’ and worked through ‘Basic Kanji Book’. The first of these two is good for stories or mnemics to remember the characters and has a useful quiz at the end of each chapter where you actually have to ‘read’ them as well. Both books in the series are useful as they seem to get you up to about N3 level. As for ‘Basic Kanji’ (of which there are a few) this has no helpful stories to remember the characters but it really is good for its reading sections and sentence tasks. This was tough to get through as I struggle remembering the characters without aids but at the same time I felt I was quickly using the Kanji. Still 400 characters is not that many at this stage. Still needing Furigana when reading texts needs to be reduced. So where to now?
Looking back on my studies I’m tending to move towards a greater contextual immersion in Kanji. There has to be that balance of knowing the characters and understanding how they are used. There has to be an increase in familiarity through real material.
1. Use the app Sticky Study to secure my N3 Kanji – a great app for vocabulary as well, though no sound is present.
2. Use real material to create my own lessons at Linq paying particular attention to notice the Kanji in words I don’t know. I may even actively search to find the meaning of those Kanji, though this will be purely by my own interest.
3. Begin ‘Basic Kanji’ book 2. This really should be covering all the Kanji I’ve done so far so it’s going to have lots of practical revisions.
I’m not pushing myself to learn another list of Kanji but rather I want to be confident in what I have studied and also enjoy discovering new characters through simply reading articles or stories. I’m going to update on this in November. Instead, I now begin my journey in understanding Hanzi. So, how will my Kanji experiences help me to tackle this character system? Can I excel at a greater pace? We’ll see.