As much as I like to think that I’m learning kanji while I go through Japanese textbooks, the reality is that I’ve been learning them at a snail’s pace. It’s been made glaringly obvious to me whenever I try to read just about anything in Japanese and can only reach about mid-sentence. Furigana is great, but it truly has become a crutch for me. One of my current iTalki tutors had me read through a furigana-less passage last week and it took 3 times as long due to having to stop at almost every kanji for her to give me the reading. Something’s gotta give.
I never really worried too much about kanji during my first Japanese learning attempt. I used to do WaniKani reviews daily and found it enjoyable at first. Grammar was my true weakness and I tried to do almost anything else to avoid actually sitting down and working with a textbook. This second time around, textbooks like Genki and Japanese for Busy People have given me my fresh start and although working through them can be a chore, I mostly enjoy them. My grammar has improved immensely after working through them week by week. I’ve also used the textbook dialogues for language shadowing (intonation/pronunciation practice) and kana reading practice and I’ve improved in those areas as well. Kanji? I left it on the back-burner. Surely I was picking up kanji in context? That would be the case had I not been relying on furigana to the extent that I am.
I keep getting signs from the universe about getting back to kanji. Ok, Tofugu and AJATT are certainly not the universe, but a few posts really inspired me to take action.
I couldn’t find the AJATT post that suggests getting kanji out of the way before moving on to anything else, but you can just imagine. Khatzumoto suggests that this will make all other Japanese language learning much easier. That ship has certainly sailed for me, but there’s no reason I can’t go back and try to fix this problem!
I mentioned WaniKani as being my go-to kanji app when I first attempted to learn Japanese a few years ago (Old review HERE). Since then, I’ve tried going back to it a few times (bless that “forever” beta-tester pricing) but the sheer number of reviews turned me off of it. I also hated getting something right and then completely forgetting it the next day or even a few hours after I last reviewed! Honestly, I don’t think I was motivated enough and I want to give it another try as a seasoned student of the Japanese language.
So here’s the challenge –
- Daily focus on WaniKani reviews for the rest of June – At least 1 hour during lulls in the work day, and 1 hour at home
- Textbook time limited to 30 minutes of my lunch break (I’m sorry, I can’t give it up completely)
And that’s basically it. I have no specific goal of learning a certain number of kanji or being able to read native text, but I would like to know more about the learning method itself. I want to know how far I can get in WaniKani during this time and if it is still just as frustrating when I’m actually doing it consistently. It would be great to move up a level or two within the app itself, but I’m making this as low pressure as possible. (FYI – I’m at Level 6, but I’m afraid I may have forgotten at least half of what I knew). All I want to do is force myself to focus on this app before I write it off like I had before. It sounds simple, but working on my ultimate Japanese weakness is like pulling teeth.
So what happens if I fail? I refuse to fail in doing my part! Then what happens if I don’t learn anything? Well… on to the next method! I will post an update next month!
So, what’s your ultimate Japanese weakness?