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It feels like... art

Hi there. :) I just started to properly use this website and since the community seems so friendly, I thought it would be nice to open a thread so I can share my feelings about a certain topic. Excuse me if I make any mistakes, English is my third language (feel free to let me know, though).

The point is I have loved Japanese for a long time and I would like to know how you feel about it.
There are two reasons for me feeling this way:

-The SOUND: Japanese is often descibed as "monotone and continuous, like a river" but also as a beautiful language. I completely agree, it sounds really beatiful for me. Even if it is suposed to be a tool for communication, I would say it is more than that.

-The KANJI: This is the main topic. Some people think of modern buildings, overpopulated cities and anime posters everywhere (quite accurate if you go to a certain electronics district many of know about). I think of quiet atmospheres, old houses with paper doors, tea ceremonies and... calligraphy.
Kanji writing is an ancient art, but I feel like every time I write a kanji I am creating a masterpiece, specially if it has more than 15 strokes. The order of strokes, the pointy or bold ends, the forms, the symbols forming a greater symbol. You do not need a big sheet and a brush to do it, you can just take a pen and redo it on your notebook any time. I simply love it. How can some mysterious kind of 'foreign hyeroglyphic' that has absolutely nothing to do with our language tell so much?

So... Am I the only one around here who finds the greater kanji truly fascinating? Who else shares this passion? What are your feelings about Japanese?
posted by DeadWitness

Comments 5

  • mog86uk
    I love kanji. A couple of years ago I dreaded kanji and thought I could never learn them, but now I've learnt to recognise 2,000 kanji and their meanings I appreciate kanji a lot. I've learnt their kunyomi too, but still need to get better with their onyomi and study them a bit more before I can say I've fully learnt 2,000.

    However I'm not into writing kanji by hand (or writing anything by hand; I hate handwriting). I haven't done much practice, but I'm OK at writing kana by hand. Maybe once I start practicing drawing kanji (which I'll have to start eventually) I'll appreciate that side of them as much as you do? at the moment I dread that. :P

    I understand the rules to writing kanji, but as my English handwriting is pretty bad, my kanji look pretty bad too without a LOT of effort.

    Like you were saying in another post, I've got to focus on learning grammar first, but I'm getting the 2,000 kanji out the way first (and keeping up a regular study regime so I don't forget them).

    I used to never think I'd be able to learn anywhere near 2000 kanji though. I thought 1,000 might be a realistic life time goal... Now I'm wondering whether it would be that hard to learn all the Jinmeiyou kanji to reach a total of 2,997 kanji!

    It's crazy how certain you can be something is 100% impossible for you, then a few years later look back and realise how completely different you now feel about it.

    Kanji Kentei (Kanken) tests are pretty interesting if you're interested in kanji:

    Here's a really neat software I discovered recently called "JiShop". It's for PC, iPhone and Android. It's an advanced kanji dictionary software which has 5,400 kanji in its database, with lots of really interesting details for each kanji other unique features:
  • mog86uk
    * Oops. I meant to write"I used to think I'd never be able to [...]"
    Definitely need an edit post function. I keep making weird mistakes like that. :/
  • DeadWitness
    To be honest, I don't really like handwriting except when studying (I am really convinced it DOES matter) and when it comes to kanji. Writing is a tool that can be perfected, kanji are different. There we agree, I think.

    Woah, 2000... I wish I could be you. Whenever I learn a kanji I usually remember both kun and on (or at least most of them) but even if I do, ~400 is nothing compared to that. O__o

    Right now, it seems impossible to remember more than 1000, but you are probably right and I will anyway.

    Sometimes I have a hard time because around 1/3 of the first kanji JC asks you about are not the same ones you learn first in my book. But anyone considering himself smart should like challenges! >':
  • DeadWitness
    Also, thanks for the links.
  • kseniakagan
    The more I learn kanji, the more I understand their value - they give so much information in such a compact format - it is truly amazing.