Your Brain on 10,000 Sentences

You’re gonna need a way bigger hat

All my life goals come from the internet. And so somewhere, in the ten minutes a day I spend surfing sites that don’t need to be immediately cleared from my browser, I stumbled upon the notion that studying 10,000 sentences was the one true path to learning Japanese. Next time, remind me to stick with porn. Hey, if it’s a question of going blind, I figure you’re much better off with a few pictures of enormous asses than two thousand tiny characters.

But anyway, here’s the idea: Continue reading “Your Brain on 10,000 Sentences”

A Friend of Mine Learned Japanese in 1 Year

A reader recently posted an intriguing comment about foreign sumo wrestlers: “Within a year, they have a command of the language that would take most students years to develop.” Implying that with enough immersion and dedication, it’s possible to speak Japanese well in a short amount of time. Apparently, there’s a Japanese book that popularized this notion.

I’d heard this before. Not just with sumo wrestlers but with, well, everybody. A friend of mine learned the language in a year. Actually, less than a year. Well, actually, a friend of a friend.

The first time I heard it was from a random guy in Columbus, Ohio, who told me: “My daughter went to Japan for a year, and came back speaking fluent Japanese.”

That was all the proof I needed. I’m kind of gullible like that. If she could do it, then damn it, so could I. Nobody beats Ken Seeroi, and certainly nobody from Ohio. Continue reading “A Friend of Mine Learned Japanese in 1 Year”

Why You Must Learn Kanji

For a lot of people, kanji is about on par with natto.   A huge sticky mess, difficult to consume, and not nearly as tasty as it is troublesome.  Plus it makes your breath smell like the wrong end of a dog, which is rarely a good thing.  I mean natto, that is.  Kanji does nothing for your breath.  Anyway, me personally, I never wanted to spend years studying kanji; I just wanted to speak well enough to communicate (read “drink beer”) with people.  Funny how things work out. Continue reading “Why You Must Learn Kanji”

The 3 Phases of Learning Kanji

So you’ve set out to master Japanese and decided to learn kanji.  Well, before you march further into the ranks of people who have devoted their lives to learning this arcane form of communication, it might help to step back and take an overview of the entire process.

Phase 1:  Learn the Individual Kanji

Well, there’s only 2,136 joyo kanji, so how hard could it be?  Riiiight.  Over the years, people have proposed lots of different ways of learning them.  Learn only the meanings and forget the readings (Heisig Method).  Learn them in context of words, write them, don’t write them, create mnemonics, make them into funny pictures, dissect them into their component parts.  Somehow you’ll need to find a way to sandwich them into your brain.

Continue reading “The 3 Phases of Learning Kanji”