Learning Kanji = Descent into Madness!

Conversation with Wife (might want to grab a coffee)

Wife: Are you doing math problems?
Me: * dramatic hamster look * What?
W: Looking at your facial expressions, you look like you’re doing math problems.
Me: Ah, no, Kanji.
W: * Comes around other side of screen and sees the Kanji *

W: See that doesn’t make sense to me.
Me: ?
W: If you’re just trying to remember characters I would expect your facial expressions to be the same as if you’re trying to remember something, and you either remember it or you don’t. Your facial expressions look like there’s a lot more going on there
(We both have degrees in Psychology).

Me: Oh yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. Cause there is.
Me: If I am on one that I know pretty well, it’s pretty straight forward, I remember it or I don’t.
Me: However, if it’s a new one, or a leech, the process is a lot different.
W: A leech?
Me: Yeah, one that I have had for a while, but keep missing, so it’s like a leech that’s stuck to you and is vampire draining your time and mental energy.

W: Right… So how’s the process different for them?
Me: OK, take this one: 詳細
Me: This one’s pretty easy for me, it means Details and I write しょうさい, SHOUSAI. I basically just looked at it and wrote it out almost automatically.
Me: However, if I didn’t know it well, this is how it would go.

Me: First symbol 詳
Me: I have to break that into parts before I can remember the whole symbol. So we have Say and Sheep * explains the shapes as pictures *
W: So how does Say and Sheep mean Detailed?
Me: Ah, because when sheep talk to you everything they say is extremely detail oriented. Like they break down a morning out to pasture like you’re reading a freaking Tolkien novel
(my mnemonics are usually a bit different than the standard ones).
W: They do?
Me: Yup.
W: Ok…

Me: Then we have 細
Me: I break this one into two as well. We have Thread and Rice Paddy, which also means Detailed. Or Thin…
W: Or Thin?
Me: Yeah a lot of these have multiple meanings that aren’t really related at all.
W: Mmm hmmm.

Me: So you see, I know that all the Rice Paddies that I own are sectioned off with thin lines of thread that make all these crazy intricate patterns, and if you know how to read them correctly, it gives you all the Details you need to know about the rice crop, like water levels, temperature, harvest times, etc.
W: All the Rice Paddies you own?
Me: Yup.

Me: So Detailed + Detailed gives you Details. So I know these symbols together mean Details.
W: But not Detailed, because that would just be silly.
Me: Yeah, super silly.

W: Ok, so the pronunciation?
Me: Yeah, so no one really listens to Sheep, because they are way too Detailed and nobody has time for that.
W: Of course not.

Me: That is unless you have servants that have to do your bidding, like the Shogun!
W: The Shogun?
Me: Yup. One of the reasons the Shogun has stayed in power for so long is that he has servants that are completely dedicated to listening to all the Sheep. And since they are spread all around the countryside, they see and basically record everything that happens.
W: Because they are so detailed.
Me: Yup. ^ _ ^
Me: And so they pass that information onto the Shogun, so the Shogun knows everything that occurs.

W: Why did you says occurs like that?
Me: Never mind.

W: And the other one?
Me: Ah yeah, so my super intricate thread patterns can only be deciphered by my Cyborg.
W: Not anyone else’s Cyborgs though?
Me: Nope, just mine.

Me: So Shogun and Cyborg = SHOUSAI
W: Uh huh.
W: Couldn’t you just remember that the Shogun has a really Detailed Cyborg?
Me: That’s a little Thin…
W: (¬_¬)

Me: It would only work that way in this one context. This time the two symbols mean the same thing, so they are related. But if that second symbol is with a different symbol, then it’s not going to have anything to do with the Shogun.
W: Or sheep.
Me: Right.

Me: So if I look at other words that have that symbol, so far I’ve unlocked: Thin, Detailed, and Sugar Sculpture.
W: Sugar Sculpture!?
Me: Oh yeah, so that’s Eat Machine, which is Candy, Thin, and Construction. So a Thin Candy Construction is a Sugar Sculpture.

W: Eat Machine is Candy?
Me: Of course, Candy is the only thing Machines eat.
W: Of course…

Me: And since hard candy looks like rain drops, this one is AME which is the Japanese word for rain. Then we have SAI for Thin, and KOU for Construction, because the guy who founded this website is KOUichi, who is a sexy Construction worker.

W: Did you make that up?
Me: Oh no, that’s totally them.
W: Mmmm hmmm

Me: So Sugar Sculpture is AMESAIKOU
W: Yeah that sounds accurate…
Me: (¬_¬)

W: What are the ones you haven’t unlocked?
Me: Bacteria, Cell, and Delicate.
W: Cause they’re all thin?
Me: Probably.

W: So that was an easy one?
Me: Yup.
W: What’s next?
Me: * Hits Enter *

Me: OK, we got 汽笛
Me: That’s an easy one too, it’s Steam Whistle.
Me: So you have Tsunami and Energy, cause everyone knows that Tsunami’s are powered by Steam.
W: Yeah, everyone…

Me: Then we have Bamboo and Rice Paddy again.
W: So more thin thread reading Cyborgs?
Me: Nope.
W: No?
Me: Nope. Cyborgs are only involved when you have the thread (well and other things), this time it’s Bamboo, so it means Flute.

W: OK, so Bamboo and Rice Paddy is Flute. Let me guess, one of your Rice Paddies is special cause it grows Bamboo instead of rice and you can use these to make Flutes?
Me: Actually I can’t remember.
Me: * Looks it up *

Me: Ah ok, I couldn’t remember because I got it wrong. it’s not Bamboo and Rice Paddy, it’s Bamboo and Reason.
W: Reason?
Me: Yeah, see that little thing sticking up there, that makes it mean Reason instead of Rice Paddy.
W: Does that happen a lot?
Me: Oh yeah, all the time.
W: OO;;;

Me: But it doesn’t matter in this case, because I was still right; it means Flute, which is really all that matters.
W: But if you didn’t remember that, you’d be sitting there trying to remember what Rice Paddies and Flutes have to do with each other right?
Me: Uh, yeah…
W: Mmmm hmmm

Me: Anyway, in this case it’s Reason. Which is made up from Cross and Mouth.
W: So Rice Paddy would be Cross and Mouth too, wouldn’t it?
Me: No it’s just Rice Paddy. The cross is like a Christian cross, so one side is longer, that’s why it sticks out a bit like that.
W: So it’s upside down?
Me: Yeah, I don’t know the Reason.
W: (¬_¬)

Me: No really. They’ve changed the mnemonic since I originally learned it in level 7, assuming they haven’t changed the level it was since that time too, and I can’t remember how I remembered it, but I know it’s Reason.

Me: I’ve actually never read that explanation for it there * points to the screen *
W: Do they do that a lot?
Me: Oh yeah, all the time.

Me: Actually, I think I remembered it by thinking about someone who had their lips sealed shut with an upside down cross.
W: What like a brand?
Me: Yeah, like a brand! So they walk around like that and they can’t talk. No one really knows the Reason, but it must have been something bad and only that person knows the real Reason it happened.

W: Could that have been one of theirs?
Me: Yeah they had a lot of weird ones like that back in the day.
W: Ok, I can see why they’ve made changes…
Me: Yeah…

W: So Bamboo Reason is Flute…
Me: Yeah, cause the only reason you’d need Bamboo is if you want to make a Flute.
W: Obviously.

Me: So Steam Flute is Steam Whistle
W: But definitely not a Steam Flute?
Me: What the hell is a Steam Flute?
W: You’d have to ask my Cyborg.
Me: (¬_¬)

Me: Ok, next is the pronunciation or reading.
Me: So I know Steam is Ki, because the energy part is also in the Kanji 気, which is part of AIKIDO, so I just know that. Then we have RI, because Flutes are reed instruments. So Steam Whistle is KIRI.

Me: * Types it in * - * Gets it wrong *
Me: Crap, Ri must be the Kunyomi reading not the Onyomi reading.
W: The what now?

Me: Oh, most of the time if you have two symbols together it uses the Onyomi reading, whereas if it’s accompanied by native Japanese symbols (Hiragana), then it’s usually the Kunyomi reading.
W: But not always?
Me: No, like if it’s body parts or a compound word, it’ll be different.
W: How many rules are there for when it changes.
Me: No idea.
W: * Scrunches face * wouldn’t it be good to learn all those rules?
Me: Yeah, maybe, but there are times where those rules just don’t apply anyway and it’s basically arbitrary because Japanese society just decided to pronounce something differently because it was cool in China, or the word just changed over time, or just because.
W: …
Me: Mmm hmmm.

W: You said Native Japanese symbols?
Me: Yeah, so these symbols are Kanji, which come from China, and these symbols are Hiragana, which come from Japan. The Japanese ones are more simple, but they just tell you the sound without any actual meaning to them.
W: So with ones that use those, you just have to remember what they mean without the little pictures?
Me: Right.
W: How many are there?
Me: Well, a little less than 50, but you can also add smaller symbols to some of them to change how they sound, like between voiced and voiceless.
W: …

Me: So that last one was probably an exception to the whole On Kun thing.
Me: * Looks it up *
Me: Never mind. I was just completely wrong.
W: Yeah?
Me: The Kunyomi for Flute is ふえ
W: Ok, this should be good. What is FUE?
Me: The sound a Flute makes when you suck at Fluting?
W: Are you serious?
Me: Yep.

W: So it’s KIFUE?
Me: * sigh * No.
W: No?
Me: No, I was right initially. It does use the On reading, which is TEKI.
W: Techie?
Me: No, TEKI.
Me: But yeah kinda, cause you have to use the Flute to whistle the song that gets the aliens to drop off their Tech to you.
W: But it’s Techie not Tech.
Me: Well TEKI not Technie, but yeah you gotta make it more Japanese.
W: Wouldn’t that be something like TEKU.
Me: Yeah probably, anyway…

Me: 汽笛 is Steam Whistle, which is KITEKI.
W: So where does RI come into it? Or was that just completely wrong?
Me: * Thinks about it a bit *
Me: Oh yeah! RI is Boots!
W: RI is Boots?
Me: Yep, I learned that one at the same level as Flute, so I got the two of them confused.

W: Ok… I’ll bite. Why is RI Boots?
Me: Cause there are Reeds growing in your Boots!
W: Why?
Me: Cause life finds a way! @@!
W: What?
Me: Even in a black hole!
W: Nani?
Me: You see, the Flag is Loitering in a Black Hole, and that marks the spot where your Boots are, which now have Reeds growing in them.
W: * Look of horror *
Me: I can’t believe I got those mixed up.
W: Yeah, I can’t imagine why…

W: So, let me get this straight.
W: First, you have to remember if the symbols are Japanese or Chinese symbols.
Me: Yeah, but there’s also two versions of all the Japanese symbols too, but they’re pretty easy to distinguish.
W: * Just looks at me *

W: So then, you have to remember what all the little pictures in the symbol mean.
W: Then you have to remember what all of them combined together means.
Me: Well sometimes they can also mean different things depending on when you learned them. So early on, four pictures may have four meanings, but later on two of those pictures together might now have their own meaning, so the four pictures might have four meanings, or three meanings, or two meanings, or actually even one meaning, as the whole symbol might become a picture that’s used in another symbol, cause otherwise it would have like 16 picture in it later on.
W: * looks like she’s short-circuiting *

W: Then you have to take however many of them are together and remember what they mean together.
Me: * nods *

W: Then you have to remember a different meaning for each of those symbols so you remember which of two different sounds it could represent.
Me: Well not two.
W: But you said there is a Kun and an On meaning for each right?
Me: Reading, but yeah, well, there can be multiple Kun and On readings too.
W: Is that common?
Me: Yeah…
W * look of horror *

W: So you have to remember a different meaning for each symbol to remember which of multiple possible sounds it could have, from two different categories, that have multiple rules for when they are one or the other, but those rules don’t always work, or there just might not be one in that instance.
Me: * nods *

W: And then you have to remember what part of speech it is, because Detailed is different than Details.
Me: Right, but there’s usually ways you can tell, for instance adjectives usually end with an I and verbs usually end with an U.
W: But not always?
Me: Yeah… no. There’s a whole group of adjectives that kind of act more like nouns and you can turn nouns into adjectives by making them possessive…
W: oO?
Me: Yeah, never mind…

W: So if you get any bit of that wrong, you miss the whole thing and it starts cycling through your queue more, until you get it right enough times, then it pops up less often.
Me: Yep.

W: And how many of these does the site suggest that you add to your queue at a time?
Me: 15.
W: A week?
Me: No, a day.
W: Say what now?
Me: Yeah… But I don’t add anywhere near that many, I just try to keep my review queue somewhere between 100-200 a day, depending on how busy I am.
W: * walks away *

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OK. Best/funniest read I have had in a while. Thanks.

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Yeah, I didn’t even get to explain how my next one was Bankruptcy.

You just:
Leader + (Trash + Dirt = Mole) + Knife = Overthrow
Stand + Cliff + Life = Give Birth
Thus:
Overthrow + Give Birth = Bankruptcy!

And then:
Overthrow = Tokyo
Give Birth = Santa Claus (¬_¬)
So you have:
TOUSAN

And not TOSAN, TOUSAN!

So simple!

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Next step is to get your wife to join you in torment the Japanese journey. She already knows about the difference between on’yomi and kun’yomi so might as well right?

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Yeah, she’s halfway there already! :rofl:

Something tells me that ship’s done sailed…

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Wife: Are you doing math problems?
Me: * dramatic hamster look * What?
W: Looking at your facial expressions, you look like you’re doing math problems.
Me: Ah, no, Kanji.
W: * Comes around other side of screen and sees porn *

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Me: Don’t get the wrong idea! It’s eroge - a precious study material for pillow talk :clown_face:

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Nice! :grin:

Now… Write it in Japanese if U can :rofl::rofl::wink::wink::wink:

Edit: That’s just insane even at Lvl60 :face_holding_back_tears:

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Bro, it sounds like you’ve delved into those deep categories…

W: Is that a nose?
You: No, no it’s not…
:rofl:

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Wife: Wait, why do you need to practice pillow talk in Japanese?

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I feel like I should send this thread to someone to encourage them to start learning Japanese. Not sure how successful I would be with that though…

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Or 金玉.

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Oh no, I burned my 金玉 a long time ago.

(>_>)

Oooh apparently resurrection is an option though…

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That’s not the recommended method of vasectomy.

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What the almighty Allicrab wants the Aillcrab gets…
:crabigator:

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