Being a Quitter or Being Realistic?

I’ve made an executive decision to quit my kanji ( chinese characters) course.
I have enjoyed doing it this past year or so but have been losing interest recently and find it difficut to make the large blocks of time required with any power of concentration.
The next section I’m on has 225 characters. I don’t feel like I can’t do it, just that it’s going to take forever to do it.
Forever at 10,000 yen ( 70 quid) a month. I have a load of worksheets, plus eleventy -three kanji study books bought over the years, so I will kid myself a while that I’ll just dig into them and study at my own pace.

Of course I want to be able to read and write the characters, tis a great thing, and can make life here easier in many ways, but it’s something I should have done years ago, ( whenI had 3 kids under 5?) when I needed to be able to read things from school.
now I can fudge my way through most things, perhaps not a land-tax agreement or a legally binding contract, but my co-op order, basic school letters, the kairanban ( community info thingummy).
For example I got two letters from the post office yesterday pertaining to two separate savings accounts I have. I know this because on the right hand side there are a string of numbers exactly matching the string of numbers in my passbooks.
I can read that I am required to go to the PO, before April 22 2010, with said passbooks, my inkan ( seal/stamp) and some form of identification.
I have no idea why. Such is my life here, pick out what I know, cross reference with past experience, guess, wonder, ponder, conclude then just show up and see what happenes.

Meanwhile the kids, the little chicklets, the wee’uns, who are trotting through kanji like candyfloss at the county fair, can all read their own damn letters from the school.

Yesterday Kev and Jim brought home letters. I say, what are they about, and they say, ‘health records.’.
There is a ‘YES’ column and a ‘No’ column. I can safely circle the ‘Nos’ all the way down, because I know(s) 😉 that neither of them have had anything nasty in the woodshed since last year, we have had no contact with anyone with TB to our knowledge, no one has been hospitalised or had a communicable disease for 12 months, I don’t NEED to be able to read each question.

If I did NEED to know each question we’d come unstuck because to a large extent Kanji is taught to kids on a need to know basis, so
all the complex Kanji involving diseases, organs, bodily functions, they haven’t learned in 3rd grade.
So we might have a 3 kanji disease.
We can all read the first one, easy-peasy, ‘kawa’ meaning river, the middle one no one can read, and the third Kev can read ‘byo’ meaning, illness or disease.
So we have River-something-disease. So now I draw upon my vast and deep knowledge of serious illnesses and though one might be tempted to think, ‘Yellow River Dis-ease, my previous experience tells me it’s Kawasaki dis-ease.
Team work Sam team work.
In English, even if you come across a word you’ve never ever seen in your life, you can have a rough guess at how to say it, who hasn’t screwed up ‘epitome’ at some time or another? But it doesn’t work that way with kanji.
My round about point being we are muddling along okay as we are, getting things done, being where we are supposed to be when we’re supposed to be, it’s good enough.
MEant to end with a dazzling and witty conclusion but have to go have coffee with my friend now. will fix typos later. xx

5 thoughts on “Being a Quitter or Being Realistic?

  1. Well, you stuck with it longer than me. I quit that thing about 3 days into it when the old cow sent all my work back to me claiming I had dreadful handwriting and we needed to start at the very very beginning of beginning. Oh, yes, she stuttered and muttered and begged and pleaded that I gaman, but gave it the toss. Been here 15 years at that time, wasn’t starting over with hiragana at 10,000 a month just ’cause bloody kumon lady thought my “na” wasn’t pretty? I have come to the conclusion that if I need to know it I already know it and anything else I don’t understand is the other person’s problem. And you know so much more than me so there you go. : )

  2. My youngest started learning Chinese characters, and my cousin who is a teacher in Taiwan sent her a character book for kids with pictures and everything, it was fun but when she lost interest….

  3. £70 a month is very steep – not to mention the draw on your energy and time reserves. i think I’d be doing the same as you… knowing that learning it all would certainly be advantageous but sometimes knowing enough is… well, enough. Not sure how I’d cope living in a country where much of the language is alien to me though. It’s fine on holiday but for ordinary life…? Not sure I could cope.

  4. Totally realistic.Life is short and we have better things to do than doing all that stroke order crap(although I am in awe of those who manage to master it all,but bet they don’t have much time to have fun or watch America’s Next Top Model/Glee/AI…..).

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