The same issue is a partial answer to both of your questions. Phonetically, Japanese is the simplest language in the world after Polynesian - in other words, Japanese has relatively few sounds. Plus, because its basis is in syllables rather than phonemes, those sounds can only be arranged in a limited number of combinations. Every sound of my name (Christian Johnson) exists in Japanese. However, becuase of the syllable foundation Japanese isn’t capable of simply reproducing my name - instead, my name becomes kurisuch’yan j’yonson. (The apostrophe represents certain characters that are sort of swallowed. Don’t ask. :)). With one exception (“n”), to form a syllable every consonant must be followed by a vowel. Sometimes those vowels become silent, or nearly so, but they’re still there.
Ok, are we set on the concept of syllables?
Perversely, Japanese has actually been losing certain syllables. Most consonants can be followed by one of five consonants, so in hiragana and katakana there are symbols for ka, ki (“kee”), ku, ke (“keh”) and ko. Two consonants have lost vowels: W, which now only goes with “a” for “wa,” and Y, which only goes for “ya,” “yu” and “yo.” There are archaic characters for wi, wu, we and wo, but except for the latter, they aren’t used (and wo is pronounced without the “w” and is reserved for certain purely grammatical uses). Yi and ye borrowed the characters for i and e, but were pronounced differently. That pronunciation has now disappeared, but still appears in archaic forms. One of them is “yen,” which modern Japanese pronounce “en” but which internationally retains its old name of “yen.” The other is in the old name for Tokyo - although the majority of historians use “Edo,” a minority use the true, old pronunciation of “Yedo.”
Now then, on to Kanji. There have been various movements to abandon Kanji, either in favor of kana or for romanization. The major argument against either is the enormous number of homophones in a phonetically simple language. My japanese text (which I no longer own) suggested that the number of these homophones is, perversely, increasing. Sometimes the homophones are for similar concepts: this text used the examples of “creativity” and “inventiveness” (I don’t remember the words themselves, sorry), which were identically pronounced but used completely different kanji. Occasionally, wou will see people actually write kanji in the air to one another to deal with homophones like these.
Yes, kanji are difficult - suck it up and deal, just the same way your forbears have :D. They do get easier as you go along - you’ll start learning the roots. To get yourself in the habit, make sure you buy yourself a copy of Nelson’s kanji dictionary, which is cumbersome at first but once you’ve got the system down it makes your life infinitely easier.
Also, Japanese people usually write their kanji in a sort of cursive, which I never did learn.