Learning a foreign language is a difficult thing, and to do it properly you frankly need to get a little obsessive. My general advice to students of nihongo is to be “8x” about it, like the CD-ROM drives in computers, which were 8x the speed of the original, by which I mean you should go beyond merely studying in a class. Find related hobbies, like reading manga in Japanese (J-List stocks many that have easy-to-read hiragana beside the kanji), transcribing and translating your favorite JPOP or anime songs so you can sing them at karaoke, finding Japanese doramas to watch, following some Japanese people on Twitter, and naturally seeing what helpful Japanese study tools J-List might offer. During my studies I found it was easy to develop “favorite kanji,” which I loved to write because of the beautiful way the strokes were balanced when laid down on paper. Some characters I like included hashiru (走る, to run), okiru (起きる, to wake up, also to happen), ai (愛, love), and the character for “daily” or “normal” (常）used in hijouguchi (非常口, the famous Emergency Exit signs you see everywhere in Japan) and of course the new anime and manga Nichijo (日常), also known as “Lucky Star meets Azumanga Daioh on drugs.”
So what are your favorite kanji characters?