At first, you might think the Japanese place great importance on addressing others properly. After all, it’s a nation where even elephants get called Zou-san. That’s Mr. Elephant to you.
The reality is that this naming convention works flawlessly until someone who looks “foreign” enters the scene, at which point thousands of years of custom go straight out the window. Continue reading “The Great Japanese Name Switcheroo”
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.