Learning Japanese the Baka Way: The Kanji Experience


It is my fervent hope that these records of my Japanese-learning exploits will be of use to my fellow moonspeak students, however, isn't there another option to consider? Shouldn't I endeavor to educate the non-Japanese-studying reader all about the experience of studying Kanji? Too many people shy away from learning Japanese because of the common assumption that learning Kanji is difficult/random/sadistic, and I cannot let such a falsehood stand.

I will use the above 380-stroke Kanji in order to give you an idea of what learning a typical Kanji is like. See, all you really have to do is memorize a few different pronunciations and closely-related meanings, and then it's all good. If you can't tell what the meanings have to do with one another, then you simply do not understand the logic of radicals, which are just like symbols, only without the exclusivity of meaning that makes symbols useful. But what am I doing, boring you with semiotics! On to education.

Kanji no. 6,085, 272

Pronunciations: ku, ko, ki, gi, mu, so, ra, to, wo, to, tsukichimichijuku, sa, pu, bu, shin, jin, fun, fuuuuun, ru, ro, ri, en, on SU JU KU MU DO KO RO SO SOKO KOSO EN YOTSUBA


1. Communication; the act of something being communicated.

2. The feeling of seeing a plushie in a spot where you do not remember having a plushie.

3. A bad episode of Fullmetal Alchemist that doesn't follow the manga.

4. The feeling of being unsatisfied with a slice of ice cream cake.

5. That half-inch of coffee at the bottom of the cup that is always cold.

6. International Cooperation in Latin America.

7. A bad dream where you give birth to a Pomeranian.

8. A good dream where you give birth to a Hanamaru Kindergartner.

9. Advanced water filtration systems.

10. Humanity; the human experience; reincarnation.

Getting into stroke order is perhaps beyond the scope of this blog, but in general: Always write the NIN symbol before all water radicals, keep the trees and the forests separated, and don't draw anything from the bottom up, because then everyone in Japan will know. Don't think for a moment that they aren't watching you.

Now Rinse and repeat 5,000 times, and bang- you can read Japanese! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to writing these guys out with my left hand to protect my right one from breaking again.

You are logged out. Login | Sign up



Karen Mead
Karen MeadContributor   gamer profile

Hi, I'm a former newspaper journalist who got tired of having a front row seat to the death of print. There probably could be some interesting story there about a disenchanted reporter moving on ... more + disclosures



Filed under... #Japanator Original #learn japanese



You're not expected to always agree, but do please keep cool and never make it personal. Report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community team. Also, on the right side of a comment you can flag nasty comments anonymously (we ban users dishing bad karma). For everything else, contact us!