Project Learn Japanese | Update no.2 | Feb 2018

I’m FINALLY getting into the self-study that I had talked about earlier. It’s taken me a bit longer to finally get “to it.” I’ve had so many other competing priorities this year and a lot of external pressures, so it’s been difficult to fit this in. But, I’ve squirreled away a little dedicated study space in my house (my kitchen table), and am now getting down to business! […to defeat… the huns…]

03.03 messy studying

I’m saving the vocab review for April. Until then, I’m going through all of the chapters in my two volumes of Minna no Nihongo. I’ve got the accompanying grammar and notes book, which I’m using to fill a blank notebook. It’s laid out really well for my needs. (but overall I don’t actually recommend this book unless you’re using it as a class text)

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Project Learn Japanese | Update no.1 | Jan 2018

I’d mentioned earlier that I’m hoping to learn Japanese this year. I’m going to be doing periodic updates on my progress; mostly to keep me motivated but also, some of you might be interested… (If you’re not, just ignore me.)

So, January hasn’t been as productive as I had originally hoped. I was originally planning to have started into the Leitner Box method, with daily vocabulary review. I was also planning to have finished reviewing my first intro level text book. Unfortunately, I just haven’t had time to do what I’d planned.

But, I did do a few things:

First. I have FINALLY begun scripting my “essay” for Japanese school. Our “final project” assignment is to write a short essay about any topic and present it to the class. It’s of course best to use the grammar we’ve been learning all along. I’m struggling to fit some of these grammar points into my essay. But, maybe we haven’t learned enough grammar yet? I’m also not decided on my topic. I’d like to talk about manga, because I have no lack of words when I talk about manga. But I’m still wondering how “nerdy” I should make it. Unlike just about anywhere else, I feel weird talking about how much I like manga at Japanese school… Continue reading

How I Will Study Japanese in 2018

One of my major New Year’s Resolutions this year is to study Japanese. I want to take the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) in the summer.

I’ve been thinking about my Resolutions for several months now, and the thing that I keep coming back to is what I want out of my “manga-reading” life. I’ve become frustrated with the lack of titles in English that I’m actually excited to read – and find myself settling on things that I’m less interested in.

51JNWB37QFLI’m ravenous for 60s, 70s, and 80s shoujo manga! But, we’re lucky if we get 1 or 2 titles a year in English. It’s entirely frustrating.

I NEED to learn Japanese in order to read the books and series that I actually want to read.

That’s what this year is for! I’m going to spend the next 7 months studying for the JLPT in July. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll try for the N5 or N4 exam yet, that’ll come later. But, I figure the JLPT is the FIRST step that I need to take in order to become reading-fluent. I’d love to also be speaking and listening-fluent… but reading is my ultimate goal.

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Non-Fiction Review: Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner

Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget ItFluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It

by Gabriel Wyner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s difficult to rate something like this without seeing if it works first. But, I do think that the author is at least giving you a very practical approach to self-language study… and he certainly doesn’t sugar-coat how much work it’s going to be. I’ve been stuck in my Japanese language study for a while — I think Gabriel Wyner’s approach might be the answer to get me out of this rut.

Also, I would highly recommend the audiobook of this to listen to while you read the book. He seriously has one of the prettiest narration voices. Plus, with so much discussion about foreign words and pronunciation, it is such a bonus to actually hear (rather than read and guess wrong) the words properly spoken. And, with how much he repeats his example words, my vocabulary is now 5-6 words larger.

Non-Fiction Review: Is That a Fish in Your Ear? by David Bellos

Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of EverythingIs That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything

by David Bellos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

He starts off the book by defining translation, the other solutions to dealing with language barriers, and whether translation actually exists (just because we’ve given it a name). Brilliant! It reminded me of my “Modern Art” history class at university — I put it off for several years because I took the stance that everything has been done before — it’s just a rehash. and what were the first words out of my prof’s mouth? “I’m going to take this semester to explain to you that Modern Art Does Not Exist!” YES! I know there were at least a few students who were NOT happy with this remark. For me, that was the best modern art class I ever could have hoped for!

Anyways, I don’t have much to say about this book — except that I’ll probably buy it and read it again. I kept wading through the text and was excited by so many passages. I kept thinking to myself, “I need to write this quote down…” This doesn’t happen that often to me with non-fiction works. I can’t explain it. All I can say is, I’d love to read some fictional works translated by David Bellos, his explanation of the how’s and what’s of translation were fascinating.