Today I decided to set aside a bit of time for learning Japanese from a book I’ve been using regularly. The book is Read and Write Japanese Scripts by Helen Gilhooly. I’ve found this book extremely useful for learning Kanji. I already know Hiragana and Katakana so I’ve mainly been concentrating on Kanji.
The way the book describes the origins of the different Kanji makes them really easy to remember and since there are only around 10 to learn in each new section you don’t feel overloaded with information. The small amounts are easy to learn and there are activities all the way through to help you recap on what you’ve already learned.
Examples of Kanji I’ve learned include: tree, wood, forest, sun, moon, water, fire, earth, gold, river, mountain, stone, gate, horse, ear, child, woman, mouth, eye, foot, hand, power, car, person, volcano, carriage, gateway, boy, rickshaw, water power. I’ve also learned what the Japanese word for many of these Kanji is e.g bamboo = take, wood = hayashi. I can read numbers now too, but need to practice writing more.
I’ve found it really easy to just go through a couple of lessons in the book at a time and then revisit them the next time before moving on with the next couple. I’ve been able to absorb the information and this book makes it fun at the same time, so I really recommend it! I’ve also been using the website Real Kana to recap on Hiragana and Katakana. It’s so quick to use and makes them so easy to remember.
In order to practise my writing, I ordered a Chinese calligraphy pen. I absolutely love it! It looks really beautiful and elegant and it makes practising Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji so much easier. The sakura pattern on the pen is so pretty. It only cost me £2.53, which was an amazing bargain. You can buy it here
One thing you should know about me is that I hold my pen ‘wrongly’. This is written with heavy sarcasm because I’ve been told this my entire life, but as far as I’m concerned there is no wrong way to hold a pen. One of my teachers even went as far as to nastily tell me I needed to practise ‘how to hold a pen properly’ over the school holidays when I was young. The thing that irritated me the most about this is that I’ve consisently been told how neat my handwriting is, and I won every handwriting competition at school. (Yes we had handwriting competitions).
As long as your writing is legible, it shouldn’t matter how you hold a pen. I’ve lost count of the amount of times someone has said to me ‘you hold your pen so funny!’ when they’ve seen me pick one up. I always have to go through the awkward ‘yeah I know (insert awkward fake laugh)’, but inside I’m thinking, is it even worth noting?
I’m a firm believer in not changing for anyone so now that I’m learning another language I’ve picked up my pen in exactly the same way. I am learning to write the characters and nothing else. My pen strokes are in the correct order and you can read what I’ve written, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Arigatou for reading