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What Do You See?

Hello again! Welcome once again to Benkyō Blog. I was thinking back to when I first started studying Japanese, and I recalled a technique I used for memorizing some hiragana and katakana. I saw some of them like pictures or symbols of something else. These little picture devices helped me to remember what was what. Here are a few examples of what I came up with. While looking at my examples, think to yourself: what is it that I see? It’s like looking at clouds and describing what animal they look like. One person might see a duck, and another person might see a stegosaurus. Don’t just take my examples because they aren’t yours. Make up your own and they’ll really stick!

 - This little guy is the katakana for “ko”. To me, I see a backwards “C”. I know that it’s used in the word “kōhī”, which is the Japanified way of saying “coffee”. Coffee starts with a “C”. “Koohii” starts with a , which looks like a backwards C.

 - Does anyone remember the show “Digimon”? There was a Digimon called Tokomon. He looked a lot like this hiragana, “to”. Tokomon starts with a “to”, which looks exactly like Tokomon himself in Japanese!

This might seem a little profane, but when I look at this hiragana for “ho”, I see a scantily-clad woman standing next to a pole. You can guess from that description exactly how I remember this one…

う - The hiragana for “u” looks like an upside-down, underlined U. Anyone else see it?

ヨ - The katakana for “yo” looks like a backwards E. I don’t know why, but somehow this reminds me that it’s read “yo”.

When you look at the different kana, what do you see? Use your imagination! Trust me, you might surprise yourself by what you come up with. Ganbatte ne!

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