How to apply memorization for learning Japanese

Hello there :wave:

I was reading this forum for quite some time already with a very practical purpose: to find techniques that would help me with learning Japanese.

Below I will describe what I came up with so far.

  1. PAO for encoding hiragana (i.e. pronunciation of words).
    103 PAO including “っ” (small version) and “empty PAO” for padding. Every person is a character from anime, whose name starts with corresponding hiragana (or ends, or otherwise related).
  2. Radicals to create mnemonics for kanji.
    This quite common approach among many tutorials, so I won’t explain in details.
  3. Memory town for storing vocabulary.
    I tried to build a new town using real Japanese buildings. Each building would be assigned to a particular kanji and store all words, that begin with that kanji (prioritized reading skill over speaking therefore did not use categorization by themes). I imagined that kanji somewhere outside the building, and would picture kun-yomi PAO on the left of a picture of the kanji and on-yomi readings on the right. Since most kanjis have no more than three hiragana for one reading there is no need to separate PAO.
  4. Basic mnemonics (stories) to encode meaning of words.
    Again, pretty common thing, described many times.

After deciding on the approach above, I tried to implement it for some time and faced with a few issues:

  1. Apparently Japanese is more difficult to approach comparing to other language due to its writing system. Usually we need two images: one for meaning and one for sound. Here we need three: additional picture for kanji writing. In the end it is very difficult to picture everything together: a complex picture for kanji writing, then somehow connect it to picture with meaning (it is often easy to combine both into one) and then also PAO for pronunciation :dizzy_face:
  2. After learning a few dozens of kanji I realized that many of them share the same pronunciation, these are very common readings: し、しょ、しょう、こう、もう、ほう、きょ、きょう. As a result pictures for PAO get quite repetitive.
  3. Since PAO pictures usually difficult to tie to a picture of meaning/kanji it teands to wane quickly.

I tried to find help in “Moonwalking with Einstein”, and found this:

This might work, but I think they were training for speed, not long term retention of memories, so might be not applicable in this case.

I would appreciate any help for improving or completely redesigning this system :blush:

Hey I am learning Japanese too!! Are you trying to learn how to speak and read/write Japanese? It seems that most of the problems are relating to the spelling of the symbols. What is your main goal with Japanese?

Also maybe we can stay in touch and practice Japanese with each other!

Hey @Parkouristx, Thanks for your reply.
I am trying to learn everything: reading, writing, speaking and listening. However my main goal is to be able to read since I need this skill in my daily life: reading news, using Japanese websites, reading manga and books, etc.

I cannot promise practicing Japanese with each other since I do not have much free time after work, but we certainly could stay in touch!