Dave from Chinese Hacks sent me a poster and definitely glad he did. It took about two weeks to ship to South Africa from Taiwan. It was housed in a thick carton tube. The poster showed no damage, but I was afraid I’d tear the poster, because it was such a snug fit inside the tube. With a tug and wiggle I slowly got the poster out.

I let it lie for a day or two so that it can unroll a bit. Then I put it on my wall above my bed.

It has the 1500 highest frequency characters from Chinese in simplified writing. From 的 to 烂. I must say I was a bit skeptical that all these characters would fit in a good enough size on a poster like this, but they managed to space everything nicely as well as make the poster a good size. I can read the characters from my desk which is a few feet away.

In the mornings when I wake up or when I glance around in a daze thinking, I often spin my eyes over the poster and then characters hit me. It’s like  theposter is a omnipresent learning tool. I’d see a character I know and then try and figure out words that I remember. Or I’d see characters that I don’t recognize and then wonder why I haven’t seen them. One such character is 善. Coincidentally, someone asked  me on Twitter the other day for the Chinese translation of philanthropy. Lo and behold it was there 善心.

Currently I use the poster as an interesting incidental learning tool. When I get a whiteboard marker, I’m going to mark all the characters that I don’t know and try and find out where they are used. Take a bit more active approach. This is the cool thing. You can either stick up somewhere and just glance on it now and then and then learn from it, but you can also use it as an active study tool.

Another cool thing about the poster is the fact that it ranks high in the bad-ass ratings. People who walk into my room all notice it immediately and go “Cool!”.

To be honest, there’s nothing bad about the poster, except the initial danger of ripping the poster. It looks awesome and works. Unfortunately, it’s only available in simplified at present, but apparently there are plans to expand to traditional as well. I recommend the poster. For only $24,99 with free shipping. A win indeed: MandarinPoster.com. P.S. - You get a free marker for a limited time now, which is nifty!