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From 'Iru as...' -> Off topic question about kanji learning.

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I didn't want to continue the threadjacking, so this is a continuation of my off topic question. Mostly just because a thank you was in order but my hijacking of another member's thread was becoming unreasonable and rude and I felt even one more post would be out of line.

Mods, I couldn't come up with a better/shorter name, so if this should be named more appropriately I hope you'll do me the favor of correcting it.

I want to write a quick thank you note, Mike.

I went back and the salesgirl showed me the workbooks but upon browsing through them I realized I'd just be copying kanji I don't know the meanings of, and that didn't seem all that productive.

What I did instead is start to insert kanji into the vocabulary and phrases I'm learning with flash cards, and use it in my writing exercises in my textbook instead of the hiragana. I've also set a goal of taking the N4 at the next JLPT cycle based on my teacher's recommendation of which one to try for, so I have a clear objective, and I'm working through kanji specific to JLPT N4 using an app I found.

When I've finished the textbook my teacher has me working through (Japanese For Busy People) I'll hopefully have the basis I need for those workbooks. Hopefully by then I'll have some concept of what the instructions say, or at least enough of a grounding to figure it out.

I picked up a blank notebook and I'm using it to practice the kanji I'm working on, along with practicing writing out sentences in kana, conjugations, etc.

I'd love to hear that I'm being too conservative about starting the workbooks, and I'd gladly start on them if told to do so. My concern is that if I try to get ahead of my skills I'll get be doing pointless work and get frustrated and quit.
 
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That sounds quite sensible. It's easier to get things to stick if you're actually using them (reading/writing) outside "kanji study" - e.g. in your textbook, in your reading/writing practice, and so on.

You might want to also try asking about "漢字検定" (kanji kentei, also called kanken) books - the lowest level is 10級. There are also some apps around for kanken. (I used a DS game).

The main sections are reading (give the right kana for the highlighted kanji word in a sentence) and writing (give the right kanji for the highlighted kana word in a sentence). There is no English - I made notes of words I didn't know and then looked them up after. The main benefit I think is the fact that things are always presented with context, and that the sentences tend to be short and conceptually simple - the assumption that is a primary school student would be taking the lower levels of the test.

Examples:
http://www.kanken.or.jp/kanken/outline/degree/example.html
(the first link in each section is questions, the second link is answers)

You may initially find that you have to build up vocabulary to be able to do these - that's fine, too. I found quite often that vocabulary, more than kanji, was the sticking point. They have some sections to do with stroke order etc. which I wouldn't personally be too fussed about.
 
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