Kanji (or: my exhaustion with and revived interest in Japanese language study (31)

1 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-01-05 12:31 ID:u+E5e4ZQ

In my third year of Japanese language study (a high school class using the Adventures in Japanese textbook, which is basically a piece of shit: there isn't even a glossary in the back, and whenever you need to find a word, it expects you -- I suppose -- to flip through the chapters to find the vocabulary, which are arranged into mostly arbitrary groups. I also don't like the teacher very much, but whatever.) I've lost a lot of enthusiasm for learning the language. In my first year of Japanese, I was pretty enthusiastic. Learning Japanese seemed like a pretty good idea. Yes, I liked anime and manga and Japanese video games, and experiencing those in the original language would be nice, but that wasn't my primary motivation. Languages in general interest me, and I hoped to learn Japanese in order to expand my horizons (as I understand it, Japanese is about as far away as you can get from English, other than the random borrowed words). I think the main reason for my loss of enthusiasm, other than a general exhaustion with school (I'm taking a heavy -- by high school standards, anyway -- courseload this year, with four classes a day, where the average high school student would only take three), but a lot of it, I suspect, comes from a fear of kanji.
Not a literal fear, of course. Each time I see a kanji character I don't scream and close the book/window. But kanji is, as far as I can tell, and as everyone else has told me, the hardest part of Japanese, and the make-or-break part of Japanese learning. The grammar is mostly logical and easy to remember, and the vocabulary is just like any other language, but somewhat easier because spelling is rarely an issue. But I guess I had sort of given up, thinking, "what's the point of learning all this now when I'm not going to take another year of Japanese?" Not planning to take another year of Japanese, I think, was because I didn't want to deal with kanji.

2 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-01-05 12:31 ID:u+E5e4ZQ

Winter vacation just ended, which was a period of a lot of time spent alone and a lot of time playing video games and watching anime. Although those things were never my most important motivation for studying Japanese, I guess hearing so much of it in a short period made me realize, "Maybe I should try harder!", as if the characters themselves were telling me, "がんばって!べんきょうして下さい!!" Plus, since I didn't have to worry about all of my schoolwork, a lot of the pressure was off, and I became a lot more enthusiastic for learning -- not only in Japanese, but in my other classes as well.
So if kanji was the largest obstacle to learning Japanese, then surely if I learned kanji then I'd be much more enthusiastic for Japanese if I already knew kanji, right? A bit of Googling led me to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Kanji-Complete-Japanese-Characters/dp/0824831659/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199535536&sr=8-1">Remembering the Kanji: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters by James W. Helsig</a>. Since many of the reviews glowed about how easy and fun the book was to use and how quickly they learned all 2000+ kanji in the book, I immediately "<a href="http:?/www.isohunt.com">obtained</a>" a copy of the book.
The introduction to the book, however, warns against using the book to accompany anything other than self-study. It's designed to be taken at one's own pace, and being part of a regular Japanese course could disrupt learning kanji from the book, since it uses its own specialized system. A lot of the reviews also recommend against using the book as part of a course.

Has anyone else had any experience with the book? It's apparently very popular among Japanese students, so I figured I'd come here with this question. The book (which teaches the kanji) and the follow-up (which teaches the readings of the kanji) are supposed to take around six months, meaning I would finish before I began my fourth year of Japanese. Since year four is really when the study of kanji begins to pick up, would it be an issue? By the end of the third year, according to the curriculum the class follows, we're supposed to know about fifty kanji. Days of the week, numbers, the ones I've used in this post, and thirty or forty others. That's it. Would having to study those few, in addition to learning from Remembering the Kanji, be a huge problem? I'd prefer to get an answer to this question before starting to use Remembering the Kanji, only to find out nine chapters in that it's not going to work out.

For those Japanese students who did not use Remember the Kanji: How did you learn them? How long did it take? How comfortable are you using them? Are you able to recall all/most of them? If you used some other book/method, how did it go for you? Perhaps this thread could become a compendium of kanji-learning tools and books.

3 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-01-05 12:32 ID:u+E5e4ZQ

ごめなさい! Forgot to turn html formatting on in my post.

4 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-01-05 12:32 ID:u+E5e4ZQ

And I think I misspelled ごめんなさい。

5 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-01-08 19:50 ID:AQ1XHDFg

I'm in a similar situation and I've been trying to build my vocabulary of kanji. It's less intimidating to learn them in the context of words they're in than to try memorizing all of the readings and other information about a symbol.
For now, try going through the grade 1 kanji and seeing which ones are in words you know. Learn about proper stroke order, write those ones out until you're confident you know them, and try using them. See where that takes you.

6 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-01-09 22:52 ID:Heaven

Chat in English (英語で雑談) Part 100

The English board of 2ch is far more active than the Japanese board of 4ch.

7 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-01-11 19:57 ID:jTzOZbNu

I hate kanji. This is my 4th year of studying Japanese, and I agree, kanji is the hardest part of it.
My kanji skills were better when I was enthusiastic about the language. In my 1st, 2nd, and the beginning of my third year, no matter what we had to do, I was really in to it because the class was really, really fun and I wanted to do well. After that time we had a teacher change (to a woman I really dislike), and I just stopped caring. Since then my kanji has gone downhill completely.
Before that, though, I just did a lot of repetition. That's how the Japanese kids do it when they learn. They learn the kanji in class, and then write them as many times as they can on whatever they can. It's not fun, but it does work, because the kanji I learned from my early days I still remember, while the more recent things that I half-assedly wrote down on our reps page, I forget by the next test.

8 あぼーん

9 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-12 05:47 ID:Ie/S5SjJ

My eyes were bigger than my face,my head or my stomach.

10 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-13 11:51 ID:35xvDXjt

>>6 Except for the fact that I can't fucking post there, thanks

11 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-13 15:49 ID:/xJwgE31

I've been through 4 semesters of Japanese, and we learned 380 Kanji thus far. I don't remember every single one (at least how to write it) but I do mostly remember how to read and say most of them. Kanji is very hard, and the only way to remember it is to use it a lot. Practicing writing it over 30 times is the only way to remember it, which is how I aced all those classes. Personally, I think what sucks about Japanese are all the random grammer rules they have, its crazy. In comparison, Kanji is easier.

To remember Kanji, a good way to study (if you want) is to look at doujin or un-translated manga and see how much you can read. As you proceed, you can read more and more of it, until you eventually learn enough that maybe you have to look up one or two characters. If there is furigana (the hiragana above kanji) that its much easier.

In the college in my state, by the time you reach Japanese 8 you'll have learned 1200 Kanji, its crazy. Have fun, good luck

12 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-13 22:17 ID:ZhC7M0S4

why don't you install japanese windows to your PC?
if you do so, you can't do anything unless you remember kanji.

even if it's hard to get japanese windows, i think you can
easily get japanese linux or something like that.

if you can get japanese windows, you can play tons of
japanese games, including adult hentai xxx one.
(great vender alicesoft seems to distribute classic games
for free, i heard)

if you hate such way of studying japanese, i'm very sorry.

13 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-20 17:19 ID:lSGD6c74

Have any of you considered Heisig's method?

14 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-20 20:56 ID:QGB7SjZH

I used a variation on Heisig* plus a very good grammar book, and after 20 months of self-study at weekends I can read light novels and visual novel games. I can write about 1800 kanji, and have never done any formal revision or drilling. I am an English speaker and have no prior knowledge of Chinese characters.

You have to find a method that works well, drilling only works for little children or people who are persistant beyond belief (and it takes much longer).
So don't carry on and get depressed. As soon as you thought it was too 'hard' you should have looked for or invented better methods.

Oh, and >>12 's idea is good. I have my computer set to display everything in Japanese. Anything you can do to surround yourself with Japanese is a good thing, since it is subconscious revision.

(*I learned the first 500 as recommended by the book in about 4 weeks, then got bored and went onto real Japanese. During this second stage I learned the kanji as I came across them, tracing each character back through the tree of its components and memorising those too. After you hit about 1000 kanji you rarely come across one you don't already know all the components for.)

15 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-20 20:58 ID:Heaven


> Personally, I think what sucks about Japanese are all the random grammer rules they have, its crazy.

This comment is insane. Japanese grammar is the most logical in the world. You have a bad teacher, or bad textbooks, or something.

16 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-22 14:12 ID:Heaven

There are a few illogical things about it still. Like how 〜させる and 〜さす mean exactly the same thing and yet there exist two ways of saying it.

The only thing which really sucks about Japanese is kanji. And for that you can blame the Chinese for a large part, and to a lesser extent the fools over the sea who decided they would take it up.

17 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-22 15:18 ID:my/meWkK

If you don't like your textbook, find a different one. I don't see any problem here. Don't like the teacher? Quit wasting time in your high school and learn to learn on your own. Use other people when you want to test your skills or when you want to get an advice. You can also do that on the internet (omg) uless blinking text on the monitor makes you sick (and it is also something one can work on - changing motor, ligting up the room etc). You've lost enthusiasm? It's be cause you're doing it wrong. You talk about expanding horizons, be independent from all other people when it comes to understanding a foregin lanugage, interact with them in a way you find most optimal and you'll open your third eye. :)

If you fear kanji do something to fight your fear. What generally fights fear? Yeah, attitude and guts have lots to do with this. It's the hardest is part of japanese if you make it the hardest part of japanese in your head. The vocabulary is different? Match it with words and symbols you already know.

Be less negative, depend more on yourself and your own learning, not something other people prepared for you.


18 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-28 05:29 ID:TmqcsIaT

I would agree with you that our books were pretty bad about how grammar was introduced. I don't agree with it being logical, however, having studied 4 other languages. It does make more sense than something like Spanish, I'll admit that.

19 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-28 12:44 ID:Heaven

Maybe logical is the wrong word. "Regular" is probably closer to the mark.

20 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-28 15:27 ID:my/meWkK

Huh, I don't know about the rest of you guys but all the pseudo-intellectual serious talk and professional advices in this thread are making me sick to my bones.

How come /dqn/ is so much more brighter?

If some of you guys hate language learning so much go and do something you like more. If you want to continue at least try to have some fun and don't ruin it for others.

Also, on anonymous bbs it doesn't matter how serious you try to appear or how many words you use for a simple word with the same meaning. Hello! You don't have names here! You can take off your masks now, please.

21 名前: 仮面を脱いだ人@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-29 03:41 ID:EDVpotK0


22 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-29 08:14 ID:Heaven

What's your name?

23 名前: >>22のまま : 2008-03-30 09:50 ID:my/meWkK

How does it matter?

24 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-31 07:30 ID:Heaven

You were the one who brought up the anonymous thing.

25 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-31 09:34 ID:0boGVn1a

What I mean is, how does it matter what name I have IRL. I'm not sure what you're talking about. Say it normally or keep it to yourself, I'm not good at mind reading. What are you onto?

26 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-03-31 17:14 ID:h1g3j7xl

Heisig is an excellent idea, be sure to check out the various online resources related to it. When you are done with it you will rape Japanese.

27 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-04-02 05:13 ID:Heaven


> You can take off your masks now, please.

その英文は、「自分の事を隠れないで」という意味もあります。だから、「What's your name?」と聞いた ... そういうわけかも知れません。

28 名前: 22 : 2008-04-02 11:23 ID:Heaven


29 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-04-02 12:03 ID:0boGVn1a

Ooooh OK, I get you now. By "masks" I meant the normal everyday attitudes we have, these special acts we put on in real life to appear intelligent or powerful in eyes of others. What I meant by "take off your masks" is "be yourselves and don't try to appear all serious and smart because the IRL powers doesn't work here, the QUALITY of information is what matters". So if someone says something stupid, him claiming that his a professor in real life, or using 1231233 words for some very simple concept won't make what he said look any more not-stupid, if you understand. I should have used a different phrase, it may have confused someone else too, so sorry. There's no need to be tense and participate in the "who appears more serious game" because it doesn't translate well to the online world especially on an anonymous BBS, so why all the acting?

Sorry for typing it in English but I figured it would suck more if I translated it to Japanese (english is not my first language btw), but if you want I can try my best at translating it.

30 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-04-02 13:31 ID:Heaven


Yeah. I got your meaning, but apparently >>22 didn't. I'm sure my Japanese sucks too, but it's interesting to see if anyone will understand it.

31 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2008-04-20 02:36 ID:7kZwnljp

I used Heisig :3 I memorized 900 kanji by the english meaning in about a month and a half. Now I'm focusing on learning how to pronounce them based on how they should be pronounced in certain sentenses. It's a lot easier than memorizing them by writing or by the japanese pronunciation. Learn the english meaning first at least for half of them and then the rest begin to make sense and you will be able to read enough and see them enough that you don't need to use a computer flash card program. :3

This thread has been closed. You cannot post in this thread any longer.