Kanji, those lovable Chinese characters, are difficult for Westerners to master. In the first place, they are neither purely pictures; they certainly are not words like those you are currently reading. Kanji are concepts. However, when used in a particular language – such as Japanese – these kanji have readings as well: specific phonetic readings with specific real-world meanings. In other words, in abstract, they are concepts; in practice, they form words.
Too many students are suffering from scatter-shot books, courses, and teachers that do not have the focus required to go from “learning” to “mastery.” Put another way, a kanji half-learned cannot be used by a student to form sentences, speak intelligently, and pass Japanese proficiency tests.
Even I, an experienced Japanese translator, did not immediately know how to help a student master kanji. I am highly proficient at teaching kanji, but a student must do more than have a partial memory of what has been taught. The learner must know the kanji in a deeper, holistic, useful and practical manner.
Fortunately, I hit upon an excellent set of solutions.
These solutions are demonstrated in Mastering Japanese Kanji Volume 1, a free download from Learn Out Live. I always like the first of anything to be free; this allows customers to assess the sheer quality and thoroughness of my work. Of course, this is only a partial sample; I, tutor Jeremiah Bourque, am an important component of my lessons. If I may be allowed to boast, my regular student was retaining 90 to 93% of the 35 or so kanji that we had worked our way to covering by lesson 5 in my “Mastering Basic Kanji” series. (As I write this, we have completed lesson 7 and progress is excellent.)
In mastery, the student must be a highly active part of the learning process, using the kanji (and things not covered explicitly in this volume, such as particles, what the verb conjugations mean, and other things covered exhaustively by my existing body of Japanese lessons) to form his or her own sentences. The learner needs to not only learn readings, but practice using whole words creatively to form intelligent, whole thoughts.
Though I cannot provide the full benefit of my tutoring without personal involvement (things like typing out what a student says in spoken Japanese, providing instant feedback, and so forth), I can make this offer to you through this book:
Readers who use the content in this book and who send their own sentences to me with the e-mail address listed within will receive a FREE evaluation of the sentences.
This does not mean, “Oh, this is good I like it,” or “No, this sucks.” This is constructive criticism with specific answers about what was right and what was wrong. This is what I do for my students day in and day out. You, too, can receive a free taste of this battle-tested, highly successful teaching technique. Of course, if you like what you see, you might wish to consider me for your Japanese learning needs.
Above all, I want to bring light unto darkness and make Japanese kanji clearer, easier to understand, and help people help themselves to retain and master the kanji – not forget them the next week, and not be able to use them in intelligent, if brief or simple, Japanese sentences.
Being able to speak even a few Japanese sentences of your own creation, even while still an early learner, provides an incredible sense of joy and accomplishment. If nothing else, I want readers to get a taste of this. I want learners to know what it feels like – and want more.