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Kanji Group 5

Making good, steady progress with my kanji learning! The more I learn, the easier it seems to be to get a feel for them. Starting off with the simple ones really seems to have been a good idea, because I can learn stroke order and ease myself in gently before the scary ones start appearing. 

So, here is kanji group 5.

大小月日年

I’m still writing down every kanji I know and their readings every day, and it’s reassuring that the list is getting bigger and bigger :) 

Kanji Group 2, 3 & 4

I learned the next 5 numbers pretty much straight after the first 5, as I was feeling super motivated to get them finished. Learning the on’yomi & kun’yomi for each one was pretty easy, as I’ve come across them in various ways before (mainly through watching Toriko, haha!)

So, here is kanji group 2:

六 七 八 く 十

Now, once I moved onto my third group of kanji, I experienced a lot of difficulty getting both readings to stick. It’s just a matter of repetition, repetition, repetition. I try to write out everything I know once a day, on weekdays. Here’s kanji group 3:

上 下 左 右 中

I’ve been trying to group kanji together that have similar meanings, so my brain has less to think about when learning them :P This group has taken me quite a few days to get my head around. I’ve only just comfortably remembered all the readings. But that means it’s time for the next set of kanji, which is group 4 of 16:

百 千 円 入 出

I’ve made a custom deck on Anki to reflect the kanji I’ve learned so far and the ones I wish to learn, so at the moment there are 20 cards in the deck. Anki is a virtual flashcard app which uses spaced repetition as its primary learning method, making it *very* useful for kanji learning! I’m hoping it’ll make learning these new 5 a lot easier! 

Where to go from here?

My Japanese classes start on the 25th September, but until then, I have to carry my learning on in a productive way. 

I figured that a good place to start would be to learn some basic kanji. In the classes, the focus will most likely be on speaking and listening, grammar rules and the like, which are best learned in a classroom setting. 

So there’s the Jōyō kanji, which are the 2,136 kanji you need to be able to read most Japanese texts. That is one *scary* number. As someone at the beginning of their Japanese journey, I figured it would be best to check out the Kyōiku kanji - literally “education kanji” - which Japanese schoolchildren learn in grades 1 - 6. In Grade 1, there are 80 kanji taught over the course of the year. I decided this would be a good place to start! 

I’ve written them all down in my little Japanese notebook, with both their on’yomi and kun’yomi readings in hiragana and rōmaji underneath. I’ve split them up into groups of 5, seeing as that worked so well with the hiragana and katakana. Instead of imposing time limits on my learning, I’m just going to progress to the next group when I can confidently recall the kanji and their readings without making mistakes. 

I’m starting with the numbers 1 - 5, and in line with tradition, here they are:

一 二 三 四 五

This is definitely a great place to begin, no 18-stroke monsters here. Talk about easing myself in gently. ^_^

Learning the last few katakana was easy! Seem to have been on a roll with it, so without further ado, here’s the characters I learned:
ヤユヨワヲ
And thus my katakana journey is completed! Here’s the completed katakana grid. Once again I apologise for my handwriting, I can barely write in English -_- 
I genuinely thought it’d take me until the end of summer to learn all that. So now I don’t know what to do!

Learning the last few katakana was easy! Seem to have been on a roll with it, so without further ado, here’s the characters I learned:

ヤユヨワヲ

And thus my katakana journey is completed! Here’s the completed katakana grid. Once again I apologise for my handwriting, I can barely write in English -_- 

I genuinely thought it’d take me until the end of summer to learn all that. So now I don’t know what to do!

Katakana Lesson 8

So the m- katakana didn’t fall out of my head like I expected them to, which leads me to the next lesson, the r- katakana:

ラリルレロ

I’ve not really got a lot to say here other than SOOO CLOSE TO KNOWING THEM ALL ^____^ Time to practice writing them! 

Hilarious lesson on the Japanese R sound. Really hope nobody walked past my room last night when I was following along with the video. The good news is, my mouth *is* capable of producing the sound. The bad news is, it’s usually by accident -_-

Katakana Lesson 7

I’m still slightly conscious of how boring these posts must be getting: “I learned the last lot so now I’m learning some more!” 

Buuut it does seem to help me keep track of my progress, so bear with me until I get more interesting. Plus, any excuse to change my keyboard to Japanese is good by me XD

Today, I’ve taken on the mighty m- katakana:

マミムメモ

Luckily, these ones seem to make sense in that weird, unspoken way. Making up stupid mnemonics seems to be the best way to learn katakana. Such as “this ma hood so I ma-rk it with a flag マ” -_- Or “look at this mu-dy face ム” imagining little dots for eyes over it. And of course, モ looks a little bit like も. Maybe. 

Also, I’ve been reading some beginner’s lessons, you know, the standard “My name is…” kind of stuff. 私 looks really cool, I won’t be forgetting that in a hurry. 

Just been looking at that hiragana grid I posted 2 weeks ago, and I’m cringing at my handwriting. I can only assume this is a good thing! It’s definitely feeling a lot more natural to write in Japanese. Now I just need to learn some words - any words - so I can really practice my writing. 

Katakana Lesson 6

Back on the “being able to learn things” track, which is always nice. That means it’s time for some new katakana! Woop woop. Today, we have the h- katakana:

ハヒフヘホ

Now that I’ve gotten used to the way katakana looks and feels, it’s getting much easier to pick up the new characters. Really motivated to keep going - I can just see myself easily being able to read in Japanese in no time at all (…as long as there’s no kanji -_-) 

Also, I’m loving Wanikani. It’s very well designed, and it effectively utilises  associations to aid learning in an unbelievable way. Makes me want to keep going back to it because the lightning-fast progress you make is very addictive. 

More Handy Tools

I think once I’ve gotten further into my studies, I’ll make a comprehensive list of all the learning tools I’ve found online, instead of having loads of little posts dotted around my blog. It will make this blog actually useful as opposed to just being the ramblings of a frustrated student!

First off, I’d like to introduce you to hiragana42, an absolutely lovely eBook which contains learning aids for each and every hiragana character. I wish I’d found it at the beginning of my learning journey! It’s also useful for refreshing your memory if you feel a bit rusty. It’s a shame there isn’t one for the katakana (which, as you know, are my ultimate favourite!)

Next, there’s Wanikani, which is brought to you by the same people as hiragana42. It’s an interactive online learning tool for radicals and kanji. The method it uses is to start off with the simplest characters, in terms of number of strokes, and build up from there. It’s very interesting and I’ll probably write a full post on it when I’ve used it long enough. Seems like it’ll be a very valuable tool!

Katakana lesson 5

Having finally gotten past the brainwrong I’ve been having, it’s high time for some new katakana, the n- series!

ナニヌネノ

Every time I crack another set of katakana, I really feel like I’m getting closer to actually learning the rules of the Japanese language and starting on some vocabulary. I’ve deliberately held myself back from trying to learn too much at once. Taking it slowly, step-by-step, is not a learning style I’ve utilised in the past. The results I’ve been getting are much better than my usual way of doing things, which would be to just jump in and learn as quickly as possible. It’s difficult sometimes to hold myself back, but it’s worth it. 

However, I do make a few exceptions when it comes to this method. I’ve found it helpful to read around the nuances and subtleties of the Japanese language so I can really get how it makes me *feel*. I came across an interesting article on the usage of ね in conversational Japanese here. I find it really interesting that it can convey such a broad set of meanings despite it being just one syllable! 

Also, to combat the difficulties I’ve been having learning the katakana (which I just didn’t seem to have with the hiragana - maybe it’s personal preference for the aesthetic?) I’ve been making a little book called “Meg’s Tiny Katakana Guide” where I list each character, its stroke order and any association I can think of which would help me remember it. Just going through the motions is helping a lot!