"As with any new language; a new world."
How I did it: I made a plan to learn a certain number of new kanji everyday plus some compound words and review
everything with SRS (spaced repetition system) everday as well.
That didn't really happened until the second year though. The first of the two years it took me I learned only about 100 kanji. But when I realized my insanely slow speed would take me about 10 years to get to 2000 I made the above plan and stuck to 5 kanji every day for half a year. The last 6 months I upped to 6 kanji a day.
Lessons & tips: - Do something that get you in contact with the Japanese language everyday. If there are days you don't get to learn new kanji at least listen to some Japanese or look at/read Japanese text. Everything helps.
- Actually listening to and reading Japanese as you go is essential. It helps put everything into context and make connections between the kanji themselves, their readings and sounds.
- Pay attention to radicals (the building blocs of the kanji). When you get more familiar with kanji they'll be a big help in remembering correct writing and the readings.
- Maybe get a kanji learning book. I don't think it's so important which book, but I just found it better to study from a book than the internet. It gives a sense of satisfaction to turn the pages as you progress and see how you're getting closer to your goal.
- Keep it fun. I know it's pretty obvious, but the most important thing you need to do this is motivation, and if you don't enjoy yourself and have fun you'll kill your motivation and maybe never make it to 2000. It's even more important than good memory (my memory isn't espescially good). I watched lots of j-dramas and when I got better at reading I read reviews of them in Japanese. I also read blogs by Japanese people living in my own country. It was very fascinating to read about Norway from a Japanese point of view (in Japanese!).
- Review! I did this religiously everyday with a SRS program called Surusu and it worked for me. But not everybody likes this. The key word is to expose yourself to the kanjis you've learned now and then so they enter your long term memory. If you can do that by creating a Japanese environment that's of course ideal, but usually it's hard if you don't live in Japan, and then I find SRS to be the next best.
- Write them by hand. This was for me maybe the best way to remember kanji. I wrote each at least 50 times or until they just came naturally and effortlessly. And don't skip the correct stroke order, it exists to help you make a beautiful handwritten kanji.
Resources: SRS: http://surusu.com/
If you're willing to spend money this is a great newspaper to subscribe for that's targeting Japanese language learners:http://www.hiraganatimes.com/
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