One of the goals of my Japanese tutoring sessions was to learn the hiragana alphabet. I've been working through the characters by reading through Remembering the Kana (by James W. Heisig of the more famous Remembering the Kanji) and then reinforcing with repetition:
It started getting fun when I could piece words together. In the morning, when I'm on the train I look for hiragana characters among the kanji on signs and advertisements. During the workday, when I see a romaji word (there are lots of these in the emails I receive and even the documents I'm working on), I practice spelling it out in hiragana.
Now that I know the hiragana, it's gotten easier for me to learn new vocabulary because I better understand how words should be pronounced. You guys, I had forgotten what a joy it is to study a subject that allows for quick progress, immediate application and many small victories. What a joy!
While I'll need to keep practicing the hiragana to pick up speed, my tutor has said it's time to move forward to the next alphabet: katakana. Only 46 kana (make that 38 kana after tonight's study session) stand between me and the kanji....