Learning Kanji: My Lightbulb Moment
Friday, August 12th, 2011
Learning one hundred kanji is difficult enough but learning the stroke orders, readings and keywords of over 2000 Joyo kanji is an onerous task. It can seem insurmountable at times but with time and effort it’s eminently achievable – 125 million Japanese say so.
What can be really disheartening though is the realisation that after studying kanji for months or even years (depending on your daily kanji diet), you still cannot understand your favourite Japanese Facebook page or read the subtitles of your favourite anime.
It’s a vicious circle – you get frustrated because you can’t read enough kanji and stop studying. By not studying you never reach the point where you know enough not to get frustrated.
While nailing several hundred kanji is quite an effort and requires the sort of dedication and effort that not everyone possesses, I found it wasn’t until I hit the magic 1000 mark that everything started coming together – it’s what I call the lightbulb moment.
My Lightbulb Moment
I didn’t suddenly wake up one day and yell out “Praise the Lord, I can now read all the kanji! Hallelujah!” but over the course of several months, I clearly remember being able to look at a normal Japanese sentences on TV or a website and work out what it meant. It’s an exciting feeling and a proud moment – at least it was for me ^^
Kanji compounds become far less daunting when you can look at each character and recall each of their meanings. It’s also a great motivator knowing that the 25 kanji you’ll learn today is only going to make things even clearer tomorrow.
So if you’re sitting on 200, 300 or even 500 kanji and frustrated by your perceived Japanese illiteracy, make sure to remind yourself that the lightbulb moment is just around the corner. Yours may come at 700, 800 or 1000 but it will come – that’s guaranteed.
Five or six kanji a day and you’re all done in a year. Simple, huh? ^^
Image Credit: Pixiv