Learning Kanji and vocabulary more easily.

Posted in: Ryan Kopf's Blog
Often, to memorize something people will try to simple repeat it over and over until they've got it, only to notice that by the next day they've forgotten it entirely. The best way to remember something is to create a story around it, something that will add additional connections in your brain to help you remember.

Yesterday I picked up a copy of Kanji Pictographix's Dragon Book at Barnes and Noble, while I was actually searching for "Remembering the Kanji." RtK is a book focused on providing stories that describe the pictures within Kanji, and by connecting many Kanji together by their similar smaller-counterparts, it becomes much easier to remember a large swath of Kanji quickly.

But BNN didn't have it in stock, so I ordered a copy from Amazon. In the meantime, I noticed BNN did have a Pictography Kanji book, and I thumbed through it.

It was different than "Remembering the Kanji," which focuses on as few pictographic memories as possible and instead focuses on creating stories, this book seemed like it would be an excellent supplement - and it was cheap.

Temple Kanji
Temple Kanji
After buying it, I'm quite happy with it. I can remember the meaning of a whole lot more Kanji without hesitation through it's mnemonics. A "measure" of "protection" is needed at the "temple" all the "time." All of these kanji have similar elements, so remembering them is much easier.

I've read a few studies, or perhaps I was told by my High School Calculus teacher, that to really remember something you need to practice it seven times. Seven different days, or seven different methods spread out over a number of days. This is a great way to start, as forming more complex relationships and memories will help you learn Kanji more quickly.

Now, remembering how to pronounce them is going to be the tricky part, which is why I've downloaded a copy of Anki, which is basically a smart flashcard program. Combining this with a vocabulary deck has made practicing the meaning and recognition of a lot of words 10x easier than memorization by wrote.

So remember, if you want to learn Kanji or learn Japanese vocabulary, you'll definitely want to download Anki, get a copy of RtK, and start studying hard.

Hopefully I'll see you at one of our soon to be even greater anime cons!
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