Knowing What Kanji Is Made Of
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. – Franklin D Roosevelt
Sadly, kanji is not made up of unicorns and rainbows, though it might as well be. Learning kanji the traditional way basically puts you in the dark when it comes to this. Ask 99% of people learning Japanese what they think kanji is made up of, and they’ll probably say “strokes.” Sure, this is technically true, but I can tell you from experience how terrible it is to learn kanji based off of this. This means that simple kanji are simple (1-2 stroke kanji is so easy, hooray!) and complicated kanji are, well, complicated (14 strokes? Oh crap).
It really doesn’t have to be this way, though. Let’s take a quick field trip to see how “normal” people learn kanji (you’re not normal, but it’s good to know what they do).