I’m not quitting Japanese

26 07 2010

But I am starting college. Combined with my usual lack of motivation, it’s not likely I’ll advance much any time soon. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to study or read or listen or watch Japanese.

Unfortunately, my college doesn’t offer Japanese. Buuut, they do have summer trips abroad..hmm. Not sure if they have Japan but I certainly wouldn’t mind going to Europe.


How I learned the difference in stroke order for 左 and 右

4 02 2010

I read recently that you never know how much you don’t know until you have to answer questions on a test. I find that true. I thought I was good at Japanese. I thought I was ready for more advanced study.

I’m not. KanKen has helped me in learning this.

I’ve had problems with 左 and 右 for the longest time. But I never actually devoted much energy to memorize the stroke order differences. I figured they didn’t matter that much. And while they may not, it’s a fun fact to know.

Here’s a mnemonic I developed for the difference between the two kanji:

For 右, the first stroke is the slanted stroke in the cross. In Rtk, a smaller version of such a mark is called a “dot” or a “drop”. The primitive “mouth” is in this kanji. So, “A drop of spit comes out of the mouth”.

And voila.

All you have to do to remember the difference is know that 左 is the opposite of the spit drop (the vertical stroke is first). If you want, you could develop your own for this one too, such as “The ceiling (vertical) has the wire (slant) nailed through it to hold up the decorative craft  (the “I”).

Simple. Yes it is very simple. But you don’t know how hard simple things are until you face them and are held accountable for them.

I bought KanKen DS 3

14 01 2010

Although I have yet to play it because I’m a cheapskate and chose the least expensive shipping available (economy airmail without tracking), I’m almost chomping at the bit to play it because I’ll finally be getting some educational use out of my DS (aside from playing Brain Age 2 in Spanish).

I can guarantee right now that I’ll get it and find something about it I don’t like, and will end up regretting buying it. But, I’ve.. acquired the game.. to see whether or not I’d be able to handle it and if it would be useful, and I think it’ll help a fair bit.

I really wanted to buy the other kanji game I mentioned before – なぞっておぼえる大人漢字の練習 but two things stopped me: It’s more expensive than KanKen, and a new version is coming out February 25th, meaning I could get a discount on the older one (doubt it) or I can get the newer one and be much better off learning-wise. So, I’ll just have to wait a month and find out.

I have a lot of good feelings about the game though, despite knowing right now that playing it will necessitate lots of dictionary use and lots more SRS cards. But there’s so much knowledge available in the game, so much I can learn, it’s really an exciting prospect.

But I have to get it first. That’ll take… oh, probably a week or so.

Considering what I should blow my Christmas money on…

8 01 2010

I got a gift card for Christmas. And…. I’m totally willing to blow it all on learning material. I have to be a lot more careful with what I choose to buy with it because the last purchase didn’t turn out so well. I didn’t quite pick the right material to study from (or the right material to get enjoyment from), and the books have largely just sat around. I tried to make use of them the best I could but I found it difficult to the point of burnout.

So this time we’ll do it all different-like ;).

I think I’m gonna spring for a lot of reading material, and, if I find one I can enjoy and get a lot out of, an import DS game. Right now I’m really considering なぞって覚える大人の漢字練習 and 漢検DS3, both of which focus on kanji, but have a lot of vocabulary as well, which I’m severely at a loss for right now. Unfortunately, the only places I know of (online) that stock import games don’t have なぞって… and if they *do* have 漢検DS it’s probably going to be relatively expensive. There are a few others as well that I’ve been…trying out, so to speak, but these are my favorites. Barring one of the two above I have backup options (DS美文字トレーニング is awesome).

If I get any paper reading material, it’ll have to be simple manga (I’m still in love with よつばと), and at about 8 bucks a volume I can swing getting a few. Problem is, よつばと is almost too easy for me now. It has the occasional new word or slangy grammar point but it doesn’t feel dense enough to merit purchasing it in volumes just not to get much new out of it.

I’d really like an offline monolingual dictionary, paper or otherwise. A 電子辞書 would be heaven in an electronic device, but I don’t have that kind of money at the moment.

We’ll see. :/

I hate holidays

22 12 2009

No power means no Internet, meaning I can’t get my Japanese fix 😐

Ah well. I’m still thundering toward fluency. Just barely. More pressing issues at hand now, like cabin fever.

Happy holidays 😀

The Infinite Curse of the Terrible Pass Rates

9 12 2009

Also known colloquially as “I Suck at RTK”.

It seems I don’t spend enough time getting to know the kanji. I think even after almost 3 times through, I still expect too much of the method.
But I’m gonna keep trying anyway.

I’ve hit a barrier at 1000 frames. The upside is, I know most of those under 1000 rather well. The downside is, frankly, it’s taking forever to learn those kanji that just will not stick. I definitely don’t devote enough time to my stories. I’m just not creative enough. If I was, this whole process would be infinitely easier.

And while I could skip these “leechers” (as Anki calls excessively failed cards), it needs to be noted that my failed stack is almost 200 frames tall.

Using the new RTK site I would still be able to delete certain cards and get on with it but I’m very OCD and I have to do them in the prescribed order, just because an order is prescribed.

You just wait. Maybe I don’t devote my life to learning Japanese like I should. Maybe I’m eternally lazy. Maybe I’m too afraid to violate copyright BS to use the materials I so desperately need in order to learn. Maybe I’m ashamed somewhat of my choice of hobby.

But there is no maybe in my resolve to become highly proficient in this language.

マイガール (My Girl): Your introduction to spoken television Japanese

27 11 2009

Currently airing on TV Asahi, My Girl is a drama about a single man, who, having his girlfriend move six years prior, writes to her every day. He eventually stopped writing because it felt like a fruitless effort –he never got one reply. He then stumbles upon his daughter, Koharu, who, unbeknownst to him, was birthed by his girlfriend and taken care of for those six years. It is revealed to him that his  girlfriend died in an accident on the way to work, and he decides to raise lonely Koharu on his own. But since he has a busy job, it’s not easy work. His boss is demanding and his senile landlord has issues with him keeping a child. He is determined, however, to raise Koharu without any outside help, because as Koharu said herself, “I want to live with the person that mommy loved.”

Anyone who’s studied Japanese for a while probably has heard of the manga Yotsubato! as the best introduction to reading manga. It has short, easy sentences (for the most part), furigana, (again, mostly), and daily life situations, albeit skewed in the direction of a weird little girl. I’ve come to consider My Girl to be the Yotsubato! of television.

It’s slow, easy to understand (mostly), and involves daily life situations, and plenty of dialogue between adult and child (simplified and repeated).

And it even has Japanese subtitles available, which all the dramas released this season on D-Addicts should have as well. Because of the new TV encoding standards (or somesuch), the subtitles can be ripped directly from the original broadcast.

I’ve only watched the first two episodes but it’s mostly rather easy to follow. But since I have a low vocabulary, it’s still rather rough occasionally.

It and the subtitles are available from D-Addicts.