Wednesday, 18 February 2009


I didn't mean for yesterday's followup entry to sound so emo. But there was a sparkle of truth to how I feel regarding Japanese language learning. It is frustrating -- especially knowing that other people pick it up so much faster -- and being at a loss as to how to improve really doesn't help at all.

When I go into the city this weekend I will try and find a bookstore that stocks kanji learning devices. There are actually two specific resources that I am after, having done a little research online. I even read an interview with the author of the book I wish to acquire, which documented how he formulated his method of learning kanji.

The book I want to get is titled Remembering the Kanji, Vol. 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters, and it is written by Prof. James W. Heisig. There is also a website I found that takes his book and expands on it, by providing an electronic form of a flashcard learning tool that assists with the practise and long-term memorisation of kanji.

The website is Reviewing the Kanji; obviously an homage to Heisig's learning series, Remembering the Kanji.

The second resource that I need to check for is a set of kanji flashcards. The best one I have found is Japanese Kanji Flashcards, Vol. 1 (Third Edition), by Max Hodges.

Both of these resources are available from, but it pretty much requires you to have a credit card, and international shipping costs are heinous. also has them but they are much more expensive than buying through the American-based website and I would have to receive help in setting up a new account.

So I will check around in K-city to see if I can get hold of these. If not, then it looks like I will have to try and get them either through or wait till Spring Break when we go to Osaka.

I wasn't able to get a Japanese credit card upon application for one. They never gave me a reason why it was declined, but I assume there is a stand-down period. Maybe when I've been here for more than a year then, huh. Sure would make things easier.

It's time I delved back into the text book that I brought over with me, too. If I work through that, I am guaranteed to improve my understanding of grammar and to build more vocabulary. I can also review the kanji that it introduces, in lieu of having the resources that I want.

Still, I will wait until this weekend passes to see if I get the resources I want. Chances are very slim, knowing K-city. So little is available here, even in the major centres.

I am determined to succeed. But I seriously do need a language partner in order to progress. Kanji memorisation is something I must do alone. But improving my understanding of the language and having a hope of ever being able to communicate in Japanese will require that I dedicate time to speaking with someone who can really help me to improve.

I think the people in my office, upon indication of my desire to practise with a native speaker, haven't thought beyond physically meeting. And so in all this time, nothing has advanced past my requests to find someone suitable to practise speaking with. I'll gladly speak to someone online regularly if that works best -- and in fact, it probably will. If I can find someone, that is.

「にほんごを れんしゅう したい」


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