On Kanji 2

Crazy for Kanji: What People Are Saying

Japan Times columnist Mary Sisk Noguchi

1. Mary Sisk Noguchi, a columnist for the Japan Times, said this in her review:

Crazy for Kanji will provide you with new information about Sino-Japanese characters, not to mention a generous dose of inspiration. If you have ever labored through humdrum kanji-learning aids, you may be pleased to discover that page-turners in the genre do in fact exist.”

2. Noguchi posted a different version of this review on her “Kanji Clinic” site. That review includes this text:

“Drawing on her sharp intellect, sense of humor, and tireless ability to ask all the right questions, freelance writer and self-proclaimed “kanji-holic” Kushner seduces us from Page 1 into joining her on a quest to learn everything there is to know about kanji. Writing in the first person, she tackles the questions most of us have scratched our heads over and details the answers in language we can understand. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Kushner covers a surprisingly comprehensive amount of background information in Crazy for Kanji’s 200 pages…. Kushner’s undying passion for kanji, coupled with her writing prowess, make Crazy for Kanji a winner.”

3. Noguchi also wrote this prepublication review:

“Highly recommended. Kushner details her passion for kanji in an entertaining, humor-laced narrative chock-full of information, examples, and games. Anyone who has suffered through humdrum kanji-learning aids will find welcome relief here. Kanji neophytes, kanji masters, and everyone in between, let Kushner transport you to Kanji Heaven!”

Japan Probe

Claytonian at Japan Probe did a review in the form of a video! He also wrote a little text, including this:

“I’ve followed Eve Kushner’s posts on JapanesePod101, where she blogs about how wonderful kanji are, for a while now. So when her new book Crazy for Kanji came out, I had to get my hands on it. If you have seen her posts, you will see a lot of familiar writing in the book, but it expands on concepts in ways that have never been achievable on the blog. There are charts, analysis, study tips, and much more, all written in Eve’s disarmingly friendly tone.”

The review is also posted on YouTube.

Ningin picked up and reposted the review.

Asian Review of Books

Todd Shimoda said this in his review, which UPI Asia.com reposted:

“Eve Kushner … presents excellent learning strategies…. It helps to be as crazy about kanji as she is; even one of her dogs is named Kanji. She dreams about kanji and her enthusiasm for the subject is infectious, which helps pull a student along…. Kushner doesn’t shy away from these complexities as do many introductory kanji instruction books. She tackles them head on and provides understandable explanations with good examples.”

East Bay Express

1. Crazy for Kanji took top honors (“Best Kanji Crash Course”) in the East Bay Express‘s “Best of the East Bay” issue in July 2009. Anneli Rufus did a terrific write-up that said this:

“Her latest book … is funny as well as educational…. Her book brilliantly merges the contemporary … with the antique.”

2. In an earlier East Bay Express blog post, Anneli Rufus described the Festival of Kanji and Book Launch Party very nicely. The blog Anime Vice then picked up Rufus’s article and added further commentary.

Nichi Bei Times

Sarah Yuen’s review ran in the summer 2009 book review issue of this San Francisco–based newspaper and said this:

“It’s a fun and informative read for people who are interested in the origins of language or simply want to learn ways to make kanji easier…. Great gift idea for the student studying Japanese or the lover of languages.”

Choate Rosemary Hall Bulletin

In the summer 2009 issue, Katharine Jewett (a French teacher and the head of Choate’s languages department) said this in her review:

“How I wish I had had Eve Kushner’s brilliant Crazy for Kanji to begin my journey.

Kanji Pict-o-Graphix author Michael Rowley

Michael Rowley wrote the following prepublication review:

“In Crazy for Kanji, Eve Kushner takes kanji’s raw ingredients and serves them up in ways that are delicious, surprising, and so satisfying. She breaks them apart like a garlic clove. She lovingly arranges them into a shish kebab of complex kanji compound meanings. At every step Kushner spins stories of how words’ deep meanings reveal societal attitudes toward emotions, life, work, and women. Kushner serves kanji fresh. I found myself continually returning for more!”

Chirashi, Wendy Tokunaga

Wendy Tokunaga, who writes novels with Japanese themes, interviewed me about Crazy for Kanji and posted the interview text on her blog.

No-Sword, Matt Treyvaud

Matt Treyvaud, who writes about the Japanese language at No-Sword, used Crazy for Kanji as a springboard for a lively discussion of whether one should methodically study kanji or simply absorb it through reading.

More Bloggers

Kirk Brown, a Jamaican blogger who loves all things Japanese, wrote about Crazy for Kanji on his site Jamaipanese. Ningen reposted the blog, as did Blog Jamaica.

Crazy for Kanji has also gotten some press on other blogs:

SFGate.com, Amy Graff

In the Mommy Files, a blog on SFGate.com, Amy Graff recommended the kanji event I did at the Asian Art Museum.