This is a question I get a lot. The kanji question, I mean. The other ones I will not dignify with an answer! OK, so two reasons:
- Deliberate Overtraining.
- Personal Taste Bordering on Activisim
Let’s talk about overtraining first.
Do you know why Kenyan long distance runners are so good? It’s not genes, I’m afraid. It’s because they have better mindsets, environments and training methods. Namely
- Cost: running is a cheap sport. You can even do it without shoes.
- Motivation/Mindset: Cost of living in Kenya being lower than it is in, say, Europe. So the money you can make running means more. A million dollars is good money anywhere in the world, even in Monaco (OK, barely in Monaco lol). But it’s especially good money in a country like Kenya.
- Diet: The SDK (Speed Development Kit, Standard Diet of a Kenyan) is said to be good for running. Make of that what you will.
- 80/20-style Training. (Book reference: [Amazon | 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower (English Edition) [Kindle edition] by Fitzgerald, Matt, Johnson, Robert | Training | Kindleストア] amzn.to/3bltkdM)
- Altitude. Most of Kenya’s population lives on high altitude plateaux. The areas where most runners grow up and live are at even higher altitude than that. A respiratory system trained on low oxygen concentrations is like a programmer trained on slow and weak computers — powerful and efficiient.
- Infrastructure Issues: Many schoolchildren in rural areas run long distances to school in order to maximize sleep time while evading corporal punishment for tardiness. It’s a thing.
Using more kanji than you “need” or than is “common” is like training at high altitude. By using the maximum amount of kanji possible, you won’t freak out or be left illiterate when, say, you got to a temple in Japan (like 浅草寺 in 浅草) and you do see signs with words like 此れ and 此処,
There’s a difference between a kanji being rarely used and a kanji never being used. By definition, no kanji that exists is “never” used, only (at most) rarely used. Especially as a Heisig graduate, it takes virtually no extra effort to pick up a kanji as you pick up a new word, so why not go for it?
Just because you came to Japanese by choice rather than by accident of birth, that doesn’t mean you have to accept a subordinate socio-linguistic position in Japanese society. You can be at the top of the heap you want. Why be ignorant when you be knowledgeble?
OK, so, so far, that explains learning more kanji than the average bear, but what about why I use them so much in writing? Time to talk about activism and taste.
So I love kanji. I love them. I love seeing them. I love touching them. I love writing them. I love reading them. They are beautiful to me. One guy once joked that I’m aroused by them — I’m not, but I do I find them aesthetically pleasing. It’s like seeing Megan Fox in Transformers or Schuyler Fisk in Orange County, you’re not aroused, but you’re undeniably faced with a visually appealing image. Each kanji has a unique feel, a unique personality. Each kanji is a friend; she can talk to you and tell you a story.
Again, I love kanji. And I believe the actions taken by the Occupational Government in the 1940s (and by the Chinese Communist Government in the 1950s and 1960s) are literally the worst thing you can do that doesn’t involve harming people, harming animals or confiscating private property. It was cultural vandalism (and borderline civilizational suicide) to attempt to truncate, abbreviate and even destroy the kanji lexicon. I don’t force other people to use kanji like I do, but I’ll be damned — damned, I tell you — if I’m going to submit to the fiat of illegitimate governments (and the Communist Party is about as legitimate as my disastrously effeminate thighs) without a fight.