Put it into words. 言葉にして。

RTK: TL;DR Version

I bought the book Remembering the Kanji (Volume 1) from amazon.com for about 30% off MSRP for a brand new copy about 21 days ago.  I got it on 2 August, and over the course of 18 days studied the entirety of it.  Now, you might be asking yourself, what does this book contain?  The short answer is that it’s an approach to learning Kanji unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  Basically, the idea is that if you can see the kanji and assign an English meaning to them, you are then in a much better position to learn to pronounce them.  You end up being at the same level of someone whose native language uses kanji, so the only thing you don’t know is the voiced pronunciation.

Eighteen days.  It once took me about six weeks to learn 150 kanji, so let me tell you, this blows everything I’ve tried out of the water.  My reading comprehension has improved an incredible amount.  Had I known that things would be this easy, I would have tried Heisig’s method a lot sooner.  Thanks to this blog, All Japanese All the Time, I was interested enough to get started with the book instead of doubting it could work and my confidence as a Japanese language learner was bolstered immensely.

Here’s a little bullet list of things I learned while studying:

  • Read everything Heisig says.  He doesn’t ever waste space.
  • Do write out the kanji while you are studying it.  Once you come to the point where you are making your own stories, it helps to write them down.
  • Do use an SRS (Spaced Repetition System) to study.  I used a free program called Anki.
  • Write your stories in the “Story” space on the flash cards as soon as you have begun to review them in Anki.
  • Go at a pace which you find personally suitable.  If you need to pick yourself up and dust yourself off after a day or two of not studying, that is infinitely preferable to quitting (Also from AJATT).

I recommend Remembering the Kanji and All Japanese All the Time wholeheartedly.  If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask.  Good luck in your Japanese learning ventures!


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