Tuesday, October 19, 2010

漢字問題 - Kanji Problem

I've been devouring kanji like nobodies business. As I mentioned a few posts back my reading comprehension is improving quite a bit as the days roll by. For the most part I've been pleased with my progress and have retained a lot. I was poking around the internet on some blogs and came across an article about forgetting kanji. He basically went on to describe how many Japanese people are terrible at writing kanji because they use so many electronic mediums where you can type the 64 character alphabet in, press a button, and presto you get the kanji without any work. For this same reason, as I spend most of my time typing Japanese instead of writing by hand, I have thought my study style to be adequate for my goals. I figured if I spend more time just learning how to read kanji instead of write I can always go back and learn to write it when I have time. Plus, I can learn a lot more if I'm not practicing writing I won't really use. I felt really good reading the article as it essentially supported all my reasons but as I read the comments on the post I couldn't help but feel a bit distraught.

Is it just a short cut to not learn the writing system right now? Can I really say to someone that I know Japanese if I can hardly write all the characters? I don't like to think I'm devoting so much time to learning this language to leave out an essential portion. If I'm planning to learn Chinese why not learn how to write over half of the characters I will eventually need to write for Chinese? I shouldn't just put it off until I can read Japanese well.

So today I have decided to start a separate study of writing all the kanji vocabulary I have learned to date. This will probably slow down my pace learning new kanji but it's for the best. I don't want to neglect such an integral part of the language. Plus, when I really think about it I like writing kanji and haven't done it for a long time. I think I have some 3,000 words to go back through and learn to write. I probably can already write a hefty chunk of those but I will have to see one by one. After I catch back up I will be better prepared for when I start to tackle some Chinese.

Now that you have read things of no interest to you, what are you going to do? Just sit here and think about me sitting over my table studying? No, go do something with your precious life while you can. As for me I have committed myself to this and won't stop.

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