I picked up a little Japanese on my past travels. Well, enough to ask for directions, say I don’t understand and enquire after an English menu.

I never picked up any familiarity with kanji or what different symbols mean. The jōyō kanji list is the 2136 most common characters that people need to know. As I understand it, if you can read and comprehend all of them, then you can fully engage with day-to-day life in Japan. You can browse a newspaper, understand signs and read government documents.

To get a picture of your thesis, what would someone need to know? I don’t mean what papers do they need to have read or specialist knowledge. What do they need to understand? What elements must they get a grasp of?

And while you don’t need to have perfect recall of your entire thesis, there must be some parts which you need to know. What are they? While you might want to try to remember things, it makes sense to make some notes. Maybe write a list to start, then see how it fills out.

Hopefully it won’t run to 2136 points.