Sunday, May 22, 2011


Welcome, to you and me.  ようこそ (youkoso), in Japanese.

I think I've been able to tweak the blogger template to a point that I can tolerate. So I can now look forward to focusing on writing posts for this new blog. I still have some final tweaks to do, but it's in a good enough shape to start writing.

I've written a few things in the About page to get started, and I'll probably be updating that again soon, when the blog is in a more final form. Likewise, I'll be getting the other pages I plan for this blog up soon.

So, about Japanese. Learning Japanese is something I started doing earlier this year, just for the fun of it, and informally, not within the framework of formal classes. So as of this posting, I am a beginner student of the language, in a class where the syllabus is set by myself. I didn't know when I started out on this adventure that Japanese is considered one of the hardest languages to learn (as a second language), mostly because of the thousands of kanji (漢字) characters that one has to learn. It is said that 漢字 is the major obstacle for most foreign students of Japanese. To learn the common-use kanji (常用漢字), I use a method developed by James W. Heisig, which he has written out in a book called Remembering the Kanji, Volume I (RTK1). My copy is a used one which I bought for about $10 at a used books store. I didn't know then at that used books store how useful this book would be to me, how much of a good bargain it really was. I am now quite fond of this used book, and it is an indispensable part of my Japanese learning progress. I have gone up to kanji frame 1250 (out of about 2000) of this book, which means that I can recognize and write most of these 1250 kanji characters. I expect to go through the remaining characters in the book within a few weeks' time. I do not know how to say these characters yet, nor how they are used in compounds, but that will come next as I shift most of my efforts from recognizing individual kanji to building my vocabulary. And this next step will come easier because I will already have the images and basic meanings of the kanji in my mind, thanks to Heisig's method.

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