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[Japanese Language] Quick updates


皆さん、お久しぶり、お元気ですか?Hi. everyone, it’s really been a while, how have all of you been? Was back last Fri and have been trying to get used to ridiculous fast pace of life since I got back. Anyway, this is really a short post, cos I’m going back to doing my academic stuff in a bit.

It’s interesting as I was rushing my precis before I left and now I’m also rushing for my literature review. Well, academic stuff aside. Work has been busy and can only get busier. Was told by my superior during my break in Japan that I’m scheduled to go to Vietnam this Apr around middle of this month. Hmm, how can this be since it means that my assignment due date will again clash with my going overseas. 信じられない、ペースの速いスケジュールだなとおもう~ I’m not the sort who likes to mix pleasure with business so it’s really a pity that my holiday was “interrupted” by such phone calls to inform me of my schedule ahead.

In any case, 1 week in Japan is too short but I really enjoyed myself this time though I was just doing things accordingly to my pace. I find myself more willing to speak in Japanese and in fact, even used Japanese to speak to my friend/travel companion (she knows Japanese as well) whom I always converse to in English. It’s a fantastic week to switch to Japanese. I’ve still not gotten used to using English. マジかよ~嘘じゃない~

Brought back tons of manga, audio dramas cds, movies n drama dvds (“tons” is an exaggeration, but have to say that these materials are good enough to last me for quite a bit). And I bought a pronunciation dictionary and a Japanese dialect linguistic book.

Well, went and watched 風たちぬ yesterday and I enjoyed it totally without referring to the subs in the theater. Oh! And I watched a Japanese movie while I was in Japan!

I MAY and INTEND to return to Japan again this year, probably late this year, hopefully for a much longer period. Well, I already know my schedule till end of this year, at least, I’ll be busy till Sep (at least for work) and academic stuff (maybe around end of Nov). My 7th trip is really fantastic. Enjoyed it thoroughly. While I was 河口湖, made some talk with a local and she commented that my Japanese was good and was surprised that I didn’t learn the language in the country (Japan). Well, I really want to say I feel that somehow, I REALLY gotten used to the language in this 1 week. Honestly, I can now get by with a 24/7 Japanese environment. I have no significant problems making out movie dialogues and making small talk or requests though I still have some problems with 敬語 (something which I need to work on). Though there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of improving my vocabulary and keigo, speaking. Hmm, listening, I don’t want to sound big headed but honestly I feel I improve heaps in listening this 1 week or was it before this 1 week (since I’ve been listening to tons of Japanese audio dramas and anime before I left for Japan). I have no problem with listening cos it’s so second nature now. Now it’s just continuing to keep it this way. 

Honestly, I have no idea how to keep Japanese going with my tight schedule. And really, I’m just your typical youth, who wants to ごろごろ the whole day YET, I know I also need to work hard for the things I want in life so I’m trying to manage everything I can so that I can live the life that I want. Up till now, I’m grateful for everything though I always wish for more time to ごろごろ. Well, I’m going to end here. Going to end here and try to do a post with pics in my next post about my trip. In the meantime, take care~ I’m off to doing my academic stuff. じゃあね~バイバイ~

P.S: I finally saw my fave voice actors, Hirarin and Sakupyon!! (超嬉しい!!They really have been the guys who have motivated me to keep going at the listening, especially Hirarin~!)

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[Randoms] Quick, random updates


Hi guys, are you guys missing this page? I’m sorry I ended up eating my own words at being conscientious at posting! Honestly, things couldn’t have been busier. Been tasked with some major stuff at work, and as a result, leaving me little time for school, and~ this space. In fact I have just submitted my assignment task, which took me a crazy amount of time to do. I burned my weekends doing work n school stuff, that’s how busy I am. And guess what, in less than 4 hours, I will be off to Japan. And just a couple of hours ago, I was still at the workplace, tying up the loose ends and getting my colleague to help me cover some of my work. I think this has got to be my really impromptu trip. I haven’t planned for anything! The 2 things I know I’ll be doing are, visit Anime Japan 2014 n get my Hirarin-dubbed DVDs. Hahaha~ OMG~ I can’t believe myself, this is what lack of time does to you. The only spare time you’ve got goes to sleeping. And yes, I can’t sleep, not because I’m excited but cos if I do, I’ll probably miss my flight. Hahaha~ I honestly have no idea what I’m going to do there and I don’t intend to buy stuff, I mean, I just want to go there and enjoy myself. Immerse in the environment and use Japanese.

Anyway, since I’ve got some time, I’ll talk about the minimal time I’ve with Japanese. Went out with my language exchange partner n her Japanese friend about 2 weeks ago to a dimsum restaurant. I think this language exchange experience has got to be the most challenging session I’ve ever, ever had. Speaking in Japanese and translating and explaining what the food is made up, how does it taste like and so on. I have to admit that I was confused for a big moment and had the blanked out moment. I think the fun bit was when we finished the food and service staff asked if my friends were Japanese. It was then, I did another round of interpretation cos it turned out that the service staff loves Japanese a lot. I dunno why but I enjoy moments like these when I can make use of the languages I know and make myself useful.

Another encounter I had was a brief one with a Japanese who commented that my Japanese pronunciation is きれい~ It’s the first time someone made this comment and even though there’s a high chance that it’s just a お世辞 but I have no idea why it made me super happy. I have been into this pronunciation thing for a bit (speaking of which, I should get a pronunciation dictionary while I’m there) and I have started realizing when are the moments my pronunciation is wrong. Gets to me in the weirdest way cos it gives me the idea that I sound like a バカ外人. Anyway, pronunciation is something I want to continue to work on.

Next up, I was at this restaurant just last week n my friend was telling me that there’s a Japanese service staff at the restaurant. Turned out that this staff actually served our table so I had a short exchange with the staff after our dinner. I think it’s interesting the attention it attracted (turned out that the people behind us were staring at our short exchange) cos my two friends were kinda shocked how comfortable I was to start speaking in Japanese. I really think it’s thanks to the language exchange. Now I have the “I don’t care if I may say something wrong” attitude. I just grab onto every opportunity that I can use my Japanese. I guess this is the thing to make up for since I don’t live in Japan. Well, I’m going there soon~ in hours. Hahaha~ n I can use the language. Makes me excited even though I have no good idea what I’m going to do there. It’s like my 7th time to the place, I can’t believe it. But hmm, does it matter, cos I’ll be able to use the language so that’s like WHEE~

Well, I’m just going to stop here cos I realized that I’m not posting anything meaningful (largely due to my lack of rest). Going to get other things to do and get going to the airport. Probably try to update my twitter when I’m there cos I’ve gotten myself a data sim card so yay~ watch out for live tweets! :) In the mean time, please bear with me for my lack of posts till end of this month. Take care!! :)

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[Japanese Language] Japanese Open Courseware


It’s been more than a week! And I apologize for being out of action on this space. Work is quite busy these days and will probably be this way for the entire month. And the main reason why I’ve been out of action is my desktop broke down. And I’m really the old fashion sort who needs a desktop to blog. Find it almost impossible to do it on my iPad. My customized desktop finally came yesterday. Am quite happy with it. Just that I’m not used to the new Windows thing so it’s taking some time for me to get used to it. But I think I’m getting the hang of it.

In spite of my lack of action for the past week or so, I’ve been trying to keep at my Japanese stuff. Trying to read up a lot on gendered Japanese and different types of popular languages like gyaru go. Since my research interests are towards identities and gender so these are very interesting things for me to read about. In many ways, I’m very thankful that I know Japanese as this has helped me in understanding things from a Japanese perspective better. Yet having said that I also try to read the studies in English since I want to get the different perspectives. Up till now, the readings have been rather interesting.

School is quite ridiculous in a way since I’m in a competitive class. Honestly, I’ve not been participating in class since I feel that I have a complete lack-off. Well, I guess the thing is to work even harder. Nonetheless, the purpose of this post is to share some academic Japanese resources I came across this week while looking for Japanese academic journals to read.

I found quite a lot of open courseware from a couple of the well-known Japanese universities (think they are going in this direction since they have set up a “consortium” on open courseware. Not exactly surprised since I have found some courses on MOOCs offered by Japanese universities). Well, here’s the list (which I will be adding this list to my “Academic Japanese Resources” list:

Kyoto University Open Courseware

Keio University Open Courseware

Waseda University Open Courseware

I think there are other courses offered by other Japanese universities but I’ve yet to get down to look through the rest. If you are interested, you can go to the Japanese OCW Consortium site and check the rest out.

Now that I’m at this, I also found a Youtube channel called, “Japan Open Courseware“. There aren’t so many videos available on this channel but it’s interesting to watch them. Personally, since I’ve never sat through a Japanese lecture, I found these videos “useful” in a way to let me get a feel of how they are. Learned a lot from them but I think my Japanese is still limited after watching them (LOL).

Well, I’m stopping here as I have to get other things done. Hopefully get a post up tonight or something since I’ve to work the weekends and I have language exchanges over the weekends after my work too. That’s it for this post!

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[Japanese Language] Updates 23 Feb 14


It’s been a while since I’ve updated any updates, so I thought I’ll do one!

First of all, books (including magazines)~ This period of time, I think there were a couple of releases I was interested in~ Gotten Soup, my fave street fashion magazine. And 日経 Woman.

mag

It’s my first time, getting 日経 Woman , though I’ve been reading the 日経 Woman website. The format is typical of Japanese magazines but the contents is more adults as it’s targeted at working ladies. I kinda enjoy reading the different sections of this magazine and in fact, today, I read the entire section of something like an advice column. I think the last I read columns like that was when I was in high school?~! Haha, nonetheless, I find the column really interesting. Maybe I should do a review of the magazine, 日経 Woman someday.

novels

And yes, my two fave books are out! Found out that book 5 of ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖 is released and I had thought the book ended at 4~! Anyway, I haven’t got time to read that since I’ve been reading the other books/magazines. N the latest volume of 好きっていいなよ is released! Just finished reading it, I’m actually loving the side stories and am hoping for more drama. And lastly, 思考の整理学, Am reading this right now. It’s a very interesting book as it talks about the downside of education in school and how students should learn to have a mind of their own. I’m still not done yet but the book is really very interesting.

jlpt

And yes, I’m back to studying, well if you call this studying. I just enjoy reading through the various books though I must say that I still love kanji the best! :)

And recently, I have been gotten very interested into the various series released by モモグレ called MEN’S ONLYシリーズ. It’s many various English classics that are done by a pure male voice actors team. First of all, I find it interesting to listen to these classics which I enjoyed when I was a kid but right now, these classics are in Japanese. Second, the entire cast is amazing since they are female characters in these classics and this means, that some of the male voice actors actually voiceacted in a female voice, which I find TOTALLY awesome. Can I just say I have fallen in love with voice acting on another different level all together? I find that it’s difficult not to be amazed by how awesome these voice actors are.

I’ve listened to quite a few, but below are the ones that I really love.

romeo

The first I really enjoyed is Romeo and Juliet. Listened to this when I was working out. HAHAHA~ I think I was more involved in the listening when I was working out. The cast was AWESOME, and Kamiya as Juliet, OMG, I swear I totally forgotten he’s Kamiya!! OMG, it’s so good. I mean I really enjoy Shakespeare so I was so glad the whole cast did not disappoint me.

ribbon

The next is this, based on Osamu Tezuka’s manga, リボンの騎士. I love this manga a lot and the cast is amazing! I love the side characters but have to admit that the main character is just as good as well. I felt the manga came alive when I was listening to it. Have listened to it a few times cos I love it!!

blue

And the last one 青ひげ. OMG~ am listening to this while typing this. THIS IS IT. It’s dark. SO DARK. The cast is awesome, they made it so scary that I got goosebumps listening to it. And did I say that the guy who did the female character actually has a very manly voice when he’s not voiceacting. (YA~!! I’m in denial~ just don’t believe it. He’s so good that I feel that I want to cry! Satoshi Hino~ YOU, YOU~ 信じられない。。。) Didn’t know this is a classic. Apparently, it’s a French children’s story, called “La Barbe Bleue“. Honestly, I wonder how in the world is this disturbing story a children’s story. In any case, you might be interested to know it’s included in the original Grimms but omitted in the 2nd edition. Another time, Japanese has brought me to French. I swear Japanese is making me want to learn French! Argh!! OMG, frustrating when you can’t understand the original language. Swear that French is the next language I want to learn.  In any case, there is a translated Japanese version of this, so if you are interested like I am, you can go check it out.

On the whole, for this classics, I feel that the male cast all brought the classics to another level. I mean, seriously, I really am more in love with voice acting after this. And really, think there is nothing these guys can’t do. Well, I don’t think I can get out of this addiction. But do get your hands on it and listen to them.

That’s it for my updates for Japanese this time. Till the next post~!

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[Learning Languages] How to learn a language effectively without losing yourself?


Apologise for my lack of action recently. Can’t believe it, it’s going to be end of the month soon, and March is going to be here, so this means my semester is going to start real soon, and that means, I’ll be back to posting 1 post a week (yes, I haven’t forgotten about my promise that I’m going to post 3 posts per week). Anyway, today’s post isn’t so much about learning Japanese or translating interesting articles but rather something that all of us face, juggling the many roles while trying to get our act together to learn a language.

oh my

Yes, have you ever felt like this? Too stressed and having stress own you, n as a result, not be able to learn the language that you’ve been wanting to learn as you have too many roles to juggle.

I’m going to talk about how to manage time in the light of learning a language effectively. I can’t say I’m an expert in time management but time management is nothing new to me since I’m been juggling with it since my uni days. Of course, I feel that there’s also this nagging feeling that you have never dedicated enough time for something. But, we can always try our best in things. Well, I will share what works for me for this good period of time as I juggle school with work, n studying Japanese and hope that the tips I provide here will be useful for you in some ways.

1) Are you a lark or an owl?

owl

First of all, you need to know whether you are the sort who gets things done more efficiently in the morning (lark) or at night (owl). This self knowledge is extremely important as it can help you to be more efficient and get  the “heavy” stuff done. This knowledge is useful/important for students, and working adults. And yes, it is also extremely helpful for those learning a language. For instance, if you are morning person, you might want to schedule learning those difficult stuff in the morning, or learning mentally challenging stuff. Not sure if you are a lark or owl, then check out this article, “Are you a lark, owl or hummingbird?

2) Allocate a time for studying the language.

Now that you know whether you are a lark or owl, allocate a study time that suits you to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your learning. Make it a habit to study the language at this time. It is important to be consistent, and depending on the individual, some might take a shorter period of time to form a habit (the magical 21 days to form a habit) or a much longer period of time. And remember to have breaks when you are studying!

3) Find the free time in your day

time

Traveling and waiting time are periods of time when you can do a lot of things. Other periods of time like meals times (if you are eating alone), or work out times are also periods you can make use of. Always bring a language book or notes, AND have podcasts, music, audio dramas or if you are a visual person, animes, movies, or dramas in your cellphone. Depending on whether you are a lark or owl and whether you are tired or otherwise, or space constraint (if you are traveling during the rush hour, chances are, reading or watching animes, movies, or dramas is out), you can choose which form of “entertainment” to engage yourself with.

4) Maintain a healthy lifestyle

This might not be directly related to learning a language but it’s definitely worth bringing up. If you have many things to juggle, it’s very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle cos there are a lot of costs involved if you do not do so. If you live unhealthily, this would result in stress, lack of rest, being ill and many more. And when that happens, it just means you have lesser time to accomplish the many things you have on your plate. So eat well, have sufficient rest and exercise/work out.

spiderman

I find that most of us live extremely unhealthy lifestyles, we eat lots of unhealthy food, like too much fried stuff, not enough vegetables and fruits, not resting enough AND not exercising enough. And when you live an unhealthy lifestyle, chances are, it’s going to affect how you focus at work and at school, and how you learn stuff, and you’re just going to be in a constant tired state. I have enough experience to vouch for that since I have been juggling with school and work since my uni days. And what I want to say is that, if you don’t live healthily, your body is just going get back at you and get you to listen to it. So, health is and should be a priority, don’t think that just cos you are young, you can get away with a bad lifestyle.

5) Find time to relax and reward yourself

It’s important to reward yourself once in a while for being steadfast in your learning. Go have a good meal or buy something to reward yourself. If you’ve made things Japanese a part of your life like me, you can have a Japanese meal or buy a Japanese book or anything related to Japanese.

The other reason you need to relax and reward yourself is due to the stress buildup from juggling many things. For myself, Japanese is something I make use of to distress. For instance, sometimes when I’m too stressed up with work, I’ll spend even more time with Japanese to “regain my balance” before I get to bed. So, if you can make the language you are learning a part of your life, you actually can “save” time in a way since you can use it to help you destress.

 stress

I think destressing is also important as this can help you continue in your journey to learn a language, or juggle other roles you have in life. Having too much stress is detrimental to health so remember to destress often so that you can continue to work on the important things in life!

That’s about it for this post! Hope it’s useful! Have a great weekend!

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