Remembering the Kanji or Forgetting the Kanji?

So, yesterday I read lessons 4 and 5 of Remembering the Kanji and today I wrote down my mnemonics. Unfortunately, my mind isn’t entirely on learning kanji for today (it’s not really on much of anything), so I don’t really remember most of what I learned. Even worse than not remembering what I learned today is not remembering what I’ve known for a while. Some of the kanji I was studying today I already knew, but seemed to “conveniently forget”. I just didn’t make the connection. Most embarrassingly, I forgot 町. I didn’t realize until about 5 minutes after I wrote it that I actually knew how to read 町 in Japanese. I know I know it now, but minutes ago, I didn’t realize it. I seriously wonder how many more kanji I’ll come across and be like “wait, I know how to read this”.

I’ll have to go through my mnemonics again tomorrow and start making flashcards or something to help me study the meanings and stroke orders better. I’m also starting to become bothered that I’m not learning the readings for the kanji right now. I know for Heisig’s method, it’s writing & meaning first, reading later. My only problem is falling into the same situation I mentioned before – forgetting that I already know kanji and their readings when I see them. It’s like my mind wants to push them out. In honesty, that is not okay to me.

So what am I going to do?

I’m going to look at my options, which I feel are:
1.) Stop doing Remembering the Kanji right now and either a.) drop it or b.) wait until I finish my textbook

2.) Continue doing RTK and change its priority level to be above my textbook (so I have to finish it faster – so more lessons a day)

3.) Continue doing RTK and combine it with KanjiDamage to learn the readings

4.) Continue doing RTK with what I’m currently doing

I’m not going to lie – I want to learn kanji. I want to learn how to read it and learn how to write it. I prefer writing Japanese by hand (as oppose to on the computer – which is the complete opposite of English, which I HIGHLY prefer to type) and it’s frustrating when I know the kanji for certain words, but I have no clue on how to write it. Just the other day, I wrote 写真(しゃしん; picture) in kana and was annoyed that I couldn’t write it out in kanji. And now that I look at that kanji compound, I can now write half of it (thanks to what I learned today).

Kanji is actually probably one of my favourite things about the Japanese language. Not because it’s pretty, but because it’s convenient. Instead of writing these large, droning lines of kana, I can just put some rather compact symbols together and get the meaning across, as long as they can be read. Sometimes when I’m writing things by hand, I screw over writing full words out in English and just write their Japanese equivalent instead (usually in kanji). Kanji also makes reading a heck of a lot easier…when I know the kanji, that is. Of course, if I don’t, and it doesn’t have furigana (or even if it does have furigana), I’m gonna have to go look it up.

I think my best combination for right now is to bump RTK up a few priority spots and get more than 2 lessons done a day, while using KanjiDamage to learn the readings. If KanjiDamage doesn’t have the kanji I’m trying to learn for whatever reason, well, I’ll just go look it up on and learn the readings myself that way!

I think I would be able to manage this, as I have entered the time where my textbook learning is spread out of two weeks per lesson, so shoving this during it shouldn’t be that hard. For instance, today, all I have to do is read lesson 7. I don’t have to take notes, I don’t have to do practices. I just need to read. Tomorrow is notes on vocabulary and kanji, then I’ll be spending the next three days repeatedly pounding vocabulary into my brain. Depend on how I feel, it may or may not be more fun than it sounds. Then comes the copying down of grammar, and then the practices, and then I’ll be done with lesson 7. I know it seems kind of slow, but I think that seems like the best method for ME to learn a lesson.

Since the lessons are in short intervals, I think fitting in heavier kanji learning would be completely plausible. I just need to be up for it. Perhaps I just need to remember my frustrations of not knowing how to write certain kanji to push myself forward. My anger helped me learn kana, so why not kanji too?

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