E-mail to Dad 3.31.2003

Good Morning Dad! 

I have some good news that I wanted to share.  Do you ever find that you suddenly make a discovery about something and everything becomes clear?  Well this has just happened with Kanji (the Crazy Japanese symbols).  It also amazes me and convinces me of the fact that the people I think of as smart (my college professors and other professionals etc.) do not always have all the information or don’t know the best way to go about doing something even though they say they do.  

You see, I’ve spend many months trying to memorize these symbols and there were just too many of them and I began to despair.  But then I received a book from Fumie (remember her?) and it was a short book showing the how the Kanji were originally just simple pictures people drew to describe things.  For example the symbol for mountain looks like a picture of a mountain (with a little modification).  The book is fairly short but provided some good insight.  But then I was downloading E-books from the internet today and I came across one that said “Learn to read Japanese in a Day.”  It was written by a westerner in 1969 and I believe the Japanese guy who wrote the book Fumie gave me did some heavy plagiarizing of the 1969 book.  This 1969 book is much more comprehensive and has made the Japanese symbols really easy to understand.   I have learned more in the past 2 hours reading this E-book then I have in the past 4 months about Kanji.  

I find this strange because aren’t teaching professionals supposed to know the best way to teach their students?  This has made everything so simple yet the book they gave us to learn at Waseda is based on just rote memorization.  So either, they don’t understand their own language that well (they should have known all these symbols came from simple pictures and taught us that in class) or they want us to think their language is really difficult which as far as these pictures are concerned it is not.  

Just thought I would share that with you because I’m just amazed at how easy it’s become and shocked that none of my former instructors taught us this way before.  

Take Care,


By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/