Elle Woods is Helping me Learn Kanji

This post covers the kanji for swim, flower, thing, long, garden, and healthy.

Random, I know, but I’m using the kanjisenpai app to give me the new kanji and only writing details about new ones or ones I’ve struggled with. This whole 60 day 2000 kanji thing was unrealistic. I’m barely able to keep up with my current workload and though I’m able to study 10 minutes a day, that’s not enough. In reality, I don’t want to learn all 2000 kanji, not right away at least. My real goal is to pass the JLPT 5 exam on December 4, which means less focus on kanji, but includes some grammar and listening study.

I’ve studied at least 10 minutes on kanjisenpai only 4 of the days since starting this blog, and obviously haven’t logged any of them. So I’m not 100% sure what the plan is in order to pass the test in December, but I do want to continue this blog. It may not be consistent, but it will help me with the memorization starting today.

To Swim – およぐ

oyogu-to swim

Radical: water 氵, 氺

Memorization trick: water with lots of splashing. Forward stroke at the top, forward movement of water, creating the extension at the top of the kanji for water.

Flower – はな


Radical: grass 艹

Memorization trick: A person plants a flower by digging under the grass, using a spoon when they don’t have a trowel.

Thing – もの


Radical: cow 牜

I’ve got the right half of the kanji memorized, but I struggle a bit to get the first stroke. I tend to add it as a hat instead of on the side. Really not sure what cow has to do with anything and that’s making me question the validity of memorizing the radicals but I know it’s still a good idea.

Side note: I just figured out the parts for beef. Cow + meat. If nothing else, this has helped me memorize that kanji.

Memorization trick: Thing 1 and Thing 2 getting into mischief. Thing 1 is banging on posts and pans with drumsticks. Thing 2 is breaking plates.

Long – ながい


Radical: long / grow 長

So it seems like this is a kanji and a radical, so there’s no good way to break it up other than to memorize it. When I was in Japan, I asked for kimono with nagai sleeves, because I wanted the kimono with long sleeves for unmarried women. I think of that every time I see this kanji, but still struggle with the bottom of the kanji.

Memorization trick: a kimono sleeve being cut.

Courtyard, garden, yard – にわ


Radical: house on a cliff 广

Parts: house on a cliff 广 king 王 long stride 廴

Memorization trick: Kings take long strides in the gardens confined in castle walls.

Healthy – げんき

Note: exact phrasing in kanjisenpai is health(y)/robust/vigor/energy/vitality


Radicals: legs 儿; steam/breath 气

元 beginning, former time, origin

気 spirit, mind, air, atmosphere, mood

Once I get the first kanji right, I never mess up the second. The problem is that I’m confusing it with 丈夫 (じょうぶ). I’ll have to look more closely in the app to see what the difference in phrasing is.

Memorization trick: revising a quote from Legally Blonde, I can picture someone bent over a stationary bike in the first kanji. “Exercise causes endorphins. Endorphins make people [healthy]. [Healthy] people don’t kill their husbands.”

I’m hoping some of these help anyone else who stumbles across this blog trying to learn kanji or studying for the JLPT. I’d love to connect and hear what’s working for you, so please leave a note in the comments.



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