Remembering the Kanji

I have recently added a new approach in my very slow ascent of the Japanese Language Mountain. After buckling down and learning all of the fifty-two characters in the two phonetic alphabets, I decided to get stuck into the kanji. That’s the characters imported from China. I was working away slowly when I began using a method called ‘Remember the Kanji’ developed by James Heisig. I bought the book and it clicked for me. There is now a website and I have purchased the great little app for my iPod Touch. The kanji are presented in an order that enables one to take their pieces and create stories for one of their meanings. It is amazing how empowering it is to take this first step and then learn the Japanese words associated with the kanji later. On the website, one is able to see some of the more popular stories that people other than the author use. If you like one, you can ‘star’ it. Here is an example of one that I like. The kanji with the meaning “leaf” is made up of parts representing ‘flower’, ‘generation’ and ‘tree’. Here is the story that I chose from suggestions on the website. “The flower generation spent far too much time up trees trying to smoke leaves.”