Archive for November, 2008

Mikkusu itto appu!

Oh my gosh, I haven’t posted in too long.  On ANY of my blogs.  Ummm…yeah, so this is going to be sort of a random update.

Hmmm, first of all, I’d like to say that today was the first day that tea was actually DELICIOUS for me.  No.  I’m not talking good.  No.  I’m talking flipping Delicioso, Dora style, folks.  Don’t know if I shared with you before how I first started liking tea, but this is a good place to start, so here goes.  To make a long story long, I pretty much always hated tea.  It tasted like watery grass (I’m talking about the kind that grows on the normal person’s front lawn, mind you).  Gross.  Then, I went to Japan in June for 16 days, and I had the opportunity to sit through a traditional, Japanese Tea Ceremony.  I don’t know what it was.  Maybe it was the combination of my highly emotional state from being on such an awesome trip and the fact that I couldn’t feel my legs, but I actually like the tea.  I was like, “hey, that’s a surprise.”  After that, I liked tea.  Leave it to the Japanese to invent the type of tea that I actually like.  Since then, I’ve drank tea since it’s the Japanese way of doing things and it’s good for you, and I’ve drank it with little difficulty since I now like it.  HOWEVER, today was the first day where I took a sip and was like, “OMDELICIOUS.”  It was so amazing.  It was the best thing I’ve ever tasted.  It was…heavenly…(I just hope nobody laced it with cocaine or LSD or something, that would suck…

On to Kanji.  I’ve just passed the 463 threshold.  Kind of a random number.  But I just have this really huge, specific feeling of pride for this number.  I don’t know why.  Anyways, I spent like 6.5 hours at the library today working on a research project, and I’m sure there are plenty more of those days coming up with all 5 billion of my final projects and all, so I don’t think I’ll really get A LOT done until winter break.  Still, this kind of sucks.  Everywhere I go, I hear about people doing “sentences” and other stuff now that they’ve finished kanji.  I am jealous.  I am coveting your skills.  Yes, that probably constitutes breaking one of the ten commandments.  That sucks.  But I’m still jealous.  Dang.

 

the post-its are spreading like the plague

the post-its are spreading like the plague

 

 

BTW, just installed keyholetv on my computer.  The guy at that link gives an excellent explanation and a link to where you can download it.  Guess what?  You’re getting it.  Seriously, it takes up almost no space on my computer, and I had it up and running in less than 1 minute.  Do it.  I’m telling you this now because I was wondering if it was a scam or dangerous for a while so I was afraid to do it.  But I did, and it’s great, so now you can do it with no worries. In fact, you WILL do it with no worries. Basically, they have a whole bunch of Japanese TV stations that you can watch for free in realtime on your computer.  The best part is, it’s not complicated.  It’s free.  It’s awesome.  You’re getting it.  I’ll admit, the audio and video quality isn’t like HD or anything (far from it), but it’s DEFINITELY worth it.  It’s cool for so many reasons, I can’t even tell you.  First, I don’t have to listen to the same stuff that I have on my computer or anything over and over.  Second, it provides an abundance of varied authentic material.  They have terebi Asahi, nihon terebi, fuji terebi, terebi tokyo, some stuff from osaka, and a plethora of others.  My current personal fav is terebi asahi because a) I could read the kanji right away and knew what it meant, so I was proud of myself, b) they usually have interesting stuff on, c)they always have a large number of viewers, meaning something popular is on (like maybe anime or a dorama, though I have yet to see that).  Do it.  NOW.  Oh yeah, did I mention?  You’re getting it.  

Ummm, I think I told you already about my Densha Otoko obsession.  I’m finally over the depression that comes with the end of the series.  Currently, I don’t get to watch many series because of end-of-semester-madness, but I’m attempting to…

I also found some more really cool Japanese music.  A little musical background on me.  I like Christian music.  I especially like the Christian ska bad, the O.C. Supertones.  They’re amazing, go check them out whenever you decide to cheat yourself out of immersion environment time.  But, since I’m only listening to Japanese music, I’ve been feeling…empty.  HAH!  Now I’ve finally found good J-Ska.  The bet part is, they have a female lead singer.  The music is amazing, and the female singer just tops it off (cuz everybody knows girl voices are way cooler than guy voices).  They’re called, the SHAKALABBITS.  Go get ’em.  They’re pretty awesome.  

 

Go get this.  You'll like EVERY song.

Go get this. You

Anyways, that’s about it.  I know there’s something else I’m supposed to be telling you, but I can’t remember, so…I’m gonna go.  TTYL.

Just kidding.  I found this when I was digging through my camera.  Doesn’t it make you wanna jump in it!?!?!

 

So fluffy...

So fluffy...

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Just Chillin’ (with Densha)

As I approach the 400 mark with heisig, I’m starting to have a bit of trouble.  I’ve suddenly started failing lots of newer cards, and whether it’s due to weak stories or something else I’m not sure.  I’ve decided to take a break on adding new cards for a few days until I get everything straight.  This kind of sucks because everytime I watch an anime or see something in Japanese I’m like, “Man!  I could so be finished in like a month or two and start sentence-mining this stuff!”  It’s especially discouraging as I see all these other people power through heisig in like 2-3 months.  Oh well, I’d rather finish strong that have a bunch of shaky stories in my head once I start sentences.  

Also, random discovery that I’d like to share with you.  I just discovered J-dramas.  OMFlippingGosh.  They are sooooo amazing.  I’m watching Densha Otoko, and it has taken over my life.  It is sooooo amazing.  I could actually write pages and pages as to why it’s soo amazing, but I don’t want your IQ to take a dip… Anyways, this could be kind of detrimental to my kanji progress and my schoolwork (I have A LOT of big projects and things that I’m neglecting right now…).  Okay, I have to go watch Densha now.  Bye.  You MUST go watch it too.  It’s not even an option.  You have to do it.  Just go.  Densha Otoko.  Right now.

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How Learning SUCKS and Acquiring is Better

This isn’t my originally my idea.  I first got it from Khatzumoto, who in turn got it from Krashen.  Basically, Khatz’ major application of this is in learning Japanese.  Okay, actually, he doesn’t even advocate learning Japanese; he advocates acquiring it.  The difference is that learning a language is learning to apply conscious knowledge of grammar and vocabulary to speaking; you have to focus more on how to say something than the message.  The much more efficient way of “learning” Japanese is actually acquiring it.  This comes not from memorizing grammar rules but by learning to understand a language more and more (getting used to it) until the ability to produce the language emerges naturally.  Frankly, my explanation sucks, so you should visit Khatz’ site for more info.  

Lately, I’ve been trying to apply this method (acquiring instead of learning) to many different things and projects that I have going on in my life.  For example, I’ve been running and walking a lot to try and avoid the stereotype of the typical, lazy college student.  I’ve come to realize that running, like language, is (kind of) a system that needs to be acquired.  The more I do it, the more I get used to it.  However, I always thought that running would get easier and easier every time I run.  It doesn’t.  It’s the weirdest thing, but it feels just as hard each time I go running; it’s just that I can run further each time.  I guess the reason that this surprised me is that I had always been expecting the running system to be just as easy/the same as the non-running system.  That’s when I discovered that it really is a completely different system.  

That also seems to explain another thing.  Before I started to learn French like 4 years ago,  I would hear french and be like, “Wow, that’s so difficult and weird-sounding!”  And then when I started to learn French I was always thinking, “Man!  I can’t wait till I know French; it’s gonna be so awesome to be able to understand all those weird sounds and words!”  Basically, I thought that was going to be cool to know French to the level where it was just as easy as English.  Now that I know a lot of French/have acquired a lot of it, I hear it and think, “Well, this isn’t as cool as I thought it was gonna be.” (Don’t get me wrong, though.  I really do think it’s a BEAUTIFUL language.)  That’s when I realized that I was wrong to think that it was just going to be the same as English when it came to level of difficulty.  You see, it never got easier.  It’s just a different system that I had to acquire.  I just had to get used to it.  It’s the same with running; I’m just getting used to it.  Now, I expect the same the thing for Japanese.  Although it’s true that it doesn’t sound as foreign as it once did, I’m still not used to it yet.  I can’t follow an anime without subtitles.  I can’t read a manga.  BUT, I don’t expect it to get any easier;  I know that I’ll just end up getting used to it.

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IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! SANTA’S FINALLY HERE!

It’s here!  Christmas has finally arrived!

Not quite…But my kanjiposter is finally here!  That was like the coolest surprise ever; walk in the door and–Presto!  KANJIPOSTER!  Yes!  I’m soooo excited!

 

So far undefiled...

So far undefiled...

I’ve been waiting for-like-ever (a week is a long time, silly…).  The packaging even had “Thank you” handrwritten in Japanese on it.  OMGosh.  That’s so awesome.  It makes me want to buy like twenty-eight more posters from these people.  They rox my furry pink sox…(jk, that was creepy…)

I’ve also started marking the Kanji off in dry erase marker as I go along.  I’ll take pictures periodically to update you on my progress.  The first example is below  (okay, you’re probably thinking I did those all today after I got my poster, right?  Well, I would have, but there is some limit to my excitement.  I’ve just marked my progress up until today.)  

Notice that, on the side, I have my post-it notes.  Since they were starting to clutter up the other side of my laptop, I’ve started to post them on my wall.  Yea!  Another way to log my progress.  Holy shmoot, the walls are gonna be plastered when I’m done…

 

Progress Update

Progress Update

PS.  I SUCK at photography.

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Lump it

Wow, I totally mentioned the whole “lumping it” theme in a past post and never explained it.  Well, my first explanation from when I first concocted the idea (really though, I was just being stupid at like 2 am, lol…) can be found here.

I’ve decided to no longer do a set number of new kanji everyday.  Okay, maybe I’ll do like a minimum of 5 per day, but you know what I mean.  I’m no longer set on doing 30 per day or anything.  I’ve decided that I’ll just do like 50, 74, or 100 kanji once or twice a week when I have nothing else to do, and the rest of the days just do like 5 or 10 new kanji and all my reviews.  This way, I get a lot done without the burden of doing a set number everday.  It’s like instant gratification at its finest: less work, big pay off.

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Less Music

I just realized recently that my immersion environment is being taxed by the amount of music that I’m listening to–Japanese music forms a large majority of my environment.  This sucks because lately I’ve been listening less and less, probably because it’s discouraging.  I’ve decided to listen to more audio that’s been ripped from Japanese movies and stuff.  I found  a free sound recorder that will record any of the sound coming out of your sound card (okay, obviously I have no idea what I’m talking about, but you get the idea…).  For me at least, listening to a lot of dialogue and speaking versus music seems better.  It’s more encouraging and interesting, and I find that I have many more instances where I recognize what’s being said.  You know what I’m talking about; where you’re like, “oh!  He just said x…”  This happens virtually never when I’m listening to music that I’ve heard a thousand times.  I figure these instances are probably very important to the environment, especially in light of a book by Stephen Krashen that I’ve been reading lately: “The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the Classroom.”  He talks a lot about “comprehensible input” for your learning/acquiring environment.  Anyways, basically I just wanted to say I’ll be listening to more dialogue and speaking that I will music for my immersion environment.

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I’ve been persecuted…

Yea, as if that wasn’t the most emo thing I’ve ever said…No, but, seriously, I found myself in an interesting situation today.  My friend, who actually got me into Japanese culture in the first place, has never really learned Japanese.  He’s always been kind of interested I suppose, but he’s nowhere near the obsessive level of interest that I’m at…in fact, i’ve never really confessed until now, lol…

So, today he, another friend, and I were watching some J-horror flicks (in Japanese, thank God) and after I was like, wow it would be fun if you learned at least hiragana or something.  And he’s like, oh, well yeah, I think I’ll do that.  Now I have it all set up and he’s gonna do the flashcard thing and all.  But anyways, then he’s like, wow I wonder what colleges in this part of the state offer Japanese.  And I was like, you wanna learn JAPANESE!  That’s awesome.  Then I proceeded to tell him about AJATT and my method and all.  So he goes to the site and reads the intro.  He thought Khatz was pathetic and the whole thing was nerdy and pathetic.  Which is okay I suppose, since he only gave it a quick glance.  But still, then he’s like, hmm, I wonder how much Rosetta Stone costs–I really want to take a class.  

OMGosh!  If he only would only give AJATT a chance.  Anyways, I guess it just goes to show how people are willing to spend money and work on language for like an hour everyday and expect to learn it, but, the second they actually have to change their lives, they decide not to do it.  Wow, this would be so embarrassing if he ever read this, lol…

Oh well, it’s about 1 am as I write this and I have to get up in a few hours, so I’m done now…Nighty night…

Oh wait.  I forgot.  I just wanted to tell you that I’m to the point in my immersion environment where I get kind of uncomfortable when I’m not in my immersion environment.  English is starting to make me uncomfortable…Maybe that’s good?…

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