Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kanji Reality Check

In my Kanji class, over the course of the semester, we have four kanji review tests.  Each of these tests makes up 10% of our overall grade. Each test covers about 60-70 kanji that we have learned recently along with a couple hundred compounds, about 10-15 radicals and some stroke order questions.  The few days before these tests are kanji hell, grinding and memorizing kanji every free second for several days.

I just got my first kanji review test of the semester back today.  I got 97% (applause, applause) and needless to say, I was feeling pretty damn good about it.

As I was on my commute home, I was checking out various signs and advertisements picking out words in kanji that I have learned over the last few years.  I start thinking about the number of kanji I know.  I can recognize and read about 300 hundred kanji, and I can consistently write about 100 of them correctly.  Impressive, right?  Only for a third grader.

I have been studying kanji for about 5 years and I can recognize about 300.  There are about 3,000 kanji in common use.  What this means is that I know about 10% of the kanji necessary to read a newspaper.  Sometimes it does not pay to have a sense of perspective.


  1. Liz,
    Perspective or not, I'm totally impressed by your high test grade. Just think, your educated friends know zero kanji and would be lost in the sea of brush strokes on the streets and subways of Tokyo. If we were to somehow find the funds to visit we'd have to rely on our favorite overgrown third grader to get around one of the worlds busiest cites.
    Keep focused on the prize.
    Miss you girl.
    Much love,

    1. Thank you honey. I appreciate the support. I actually love kanji it is one of my favorite things about Japanese. I like the idea of a visit...find some funds and come see me!

  2. When I hit the lottery, I'm on the next plane. The day to day stuff is, actually, very interesting. Keep the great blogs coming. I'll live vicariously through you in the mean time.


Please feel free to express yourself honestly and I am obviously not the language police. I would, however, like everyone to avoid personal attacks and attempt to keep the discourse civil.