Yasna wrote:That doesn't add up. For a learner, often it is the uncommon, unknown word in a sentence that gives the sentence most of its meaning. Let's take the mainstream novel at my side for example. One paragraph begins "しかし破綻は突然やってきた。" If you only know 800 kanji, then you probably don't know 綻, and you probably don't know what 破綻 means, which is the key word in the sentence. So if you understand all the other words in that sentence (about 80% of the sentence), but don't know what 破綻 means, then you basically have no idea what that sentence is about.
So I don't know what you could be comfortably reading at that level. "Getting the gist" isn't comfortable reading.
You're absolutely right. It is a lot easier to 'get the gist' in other languages, but Japanese kanji unfortunately is less forgiving.
I studied Japanese pretty intensely for about 5 years (University and High School) and never got to the point where I could 'comfortably' read a newspaper. I could stumble through the occasional article, but my understanding was definitely hindered and there was a lot of guess work - a lot of which was probably wrong.
I haven't touched Japanese for about 2-3 years now, and still would not say I feel anywhere near comfortable being able to read newspapers. I can still read a fair bit however, but definitely not on more complex or specific, jargon-filled subjects. Ps: I have no idea how many kanji I can read.
However, if you believe you're able to - good for you