I've been studying Japanese practically every day (no one's perfect) for the Japanese Proficiency Test, and must admit that idioms may be the killers, not kanji. Usually people from non-kanji or character-based societies (ie, those that use the Roman alphabet) are terrified by kanji. In the past, like lots of other people, I saw kanji as enemies.
But now, as I've been reading Unicom's 2nd level Japanese Proficiency Test book, I think that idioms might be the cause of a sanity meltdown. There are so many phrases to learn, based on such benign and simple-looking words as だけ (dake), それ (sore), and から (kara), my head hearts. And I'm only on page 55, and still haven't sufficiently nailed down anything of value.
And the sick thing is that my version of the book (from the early 90's) says "Speed learning" on the cover - in six different languages, in case the whole world has to be reminded. And the whole book is Japanese, so if you don't know the kanji or vocabulary that you're reading, you can't even begin to understand the idioms.
Luckily it's just February.
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