Japanese Should Be Fun, Not Work
Occasionally, I need to remind myself that learning Japanese isn’t work – or at least it shouldn’t be. If it is, then something has gone terribly wrong. Japanese should be more like that super-addicting MMO that people want to play 24x7x365 (or 366 this year). It should be like that book that you don’t ever want to put down because it’s that good. Learning Japanese should be as fun (if not more-so than your favorite hobby. If it’s not, it’s going to be difficult to stick with. You might wind up falling off the wagon. So what, then, can be done to remedy this situation of boredom? How can we take Japanese and make it into something fun? Here are a few suggestions: Do it in small chunks – maybe 2-5 minutes each. Maybe 3 Kanji reviews, or learn a sentence at a […]
After a break from updating allnihongo (but not a break from Japanese, mind you!), I have returned a happily married man. However, that being said, I have spent much of the time I have been back catching up on things which have been neglected during the time I was away. I’ve got some new articles brewing, but they aren’t all shiny-like and polished just yet. However, I can say that they will be coming out soon, probably next week. Stay tuned!
That’s right, you heard me. 私は結婚しています (わたしわけっこんしています/I’m getting married)! And yes, it explains the few-and-far-between updates as of late. So very very busy. I’m probably not going to be able to update again until sometime in November. However, I will have much to discuss when I come back! I’m even setting some new goals for myself, and going over previous ones I have met (or not met) thus far. So, see you on the flip side, and thanks for waiting up for me!
お盆 (おぼん/obon) is a festival held by the Japanese in the summer in honor of one’s ancestors. Traditionally, it is held over a three-day period in the summer. The event is intended to be celebratory as well as solemn. It generally includes dances by men, women and children called 盆踊り (ぼん おどり/bon odori) folk dancing on a platform known as a やぐら (yagura). The one here includes drumming by 浮腫太鼓 (ふしゅ・だいこ/fushu daiko) as well. On the last night, it is believed that the ancestors depart for the otherworld. These departures are typically marked by illuminated paper lanterns adorned with the names of ancestors, as well as farewell messages. There is one held (somewhat) near me annually at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. The one here took place about 2 weeks ago. The photos in this post are from this year and last year’s festival. […]
Sentences Series 5: Using SRS Effectively
Alright, so it’s been a while since I have update the sentences series – and there is good reason why. I’ve mentioned MCDs in the past, and how I am deciding on what works better for learning. The truth is that it really depends on the person. I have found what I think is a combination of the two (leaning ever so slightly toward the MCD direction). I’ve been using Tae Kim’s Complete Guide to Japanese for a while now, and recently discovered there is an Anki deck that corresponds with it. The deck is called “Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese Grammar” – it can be searched for in the shared decks available. It contains cloze-deletions, which is fantastic. Search for it and use it as a base when considering the rest of this article. Alright, so as far […]
Introduction to the Japanese Writing System
Note: I originally intended this all to be one post, but it was becoming far, far too long. So, I’m splitting this up into a series. This is the first article in the “Japanese Writing System” series. To the untrained eye, Japanese writing looks like chaos. A friend of mine (who speaks fluent Japanese ^^) once told me her father refers to written Japanese as “chicken feet”, or the marks they’d make on a page if dipped in ink and turned loose. All of these symbols are mixed up all over the place in a seemingly random fashion (to the untrained eye, anyway). To top it off, there are no spaces between words! How is anyone ever supposed to learn that? I answer that question with another question: How did anyone learn English? It’s complex, too! Sure, there are only […]
How Unnecissary Discipline will Kill Your Japanese
Alright, we all knew this may happen at one point or another. You’ve fallen off the wagon. Probably while it was moving at a good speed, too. You’re likely bruised from the fall, and stumble back to your feet after a few minutes. Time to get back on and pick up where you left off. Surely, though, there must be some form of self-punishment for failure, for not sticking with it, right? An extra review maybe? Perhaps forcing yourself to listen to more talk radio because you think that may help catch you up. After all, falling off the wagon means we’ve missed out on distance toward our goal we could have had, right? Truthfully, yes. Those missed reviews have cost us some distance, some time, some Japanese fluency. So what? Similar to sleep, you cannot make up for lost […]
Why Using Romaji is Bad for your Japanese Health
This topic seems to be somewhat of a debate – though why that is: I don’t know. For those of you who are just beginning, you may or may not know that Romaji is a representation of Japanese sounds using the roman alphabet. Before I jump into the explanation of why it’s bad, allow me to begin with the reasons it helps in the beginning of your journey first. While limited, romaji does have its uses in the beginning: When you are first beginning to learn Japanese, (and I do mean at the very beginning – as in you can’t read katakana or hiragana yet) it can be useful. After all, the letter set is familiar and helps to speed along learning Japanese sounds. It’s used for typing. That’s right, typing in Japanese for most folks who aren’t Japanese will […]
Keep Your Feet on the Ground!
I have to stop every once in a while and remind myself that learning a language, especially Japanese, is not something I’m going to complete sometime soon. In fact, it will never technically be complete. Ever. I realize this, but sometimes I still need a reminder. It’s like telling your significant other that you love them. They know this (or they should), but it’s really nice to be reminded of it. However, it’s also nice to have a reminder every once in a while that you cannot set unrealistically high goals for yourself and expect to meet them. Aim for failure instead, and success becomes that much sweeter when it happens. For instance, I got a question the other day: “You’ve been doing Japanese for almost a year now, why aren’t you fluent yet?” Really? I’d like to see anyone […]
Podcasts + Text = Podcastle
Part of immersion is listening to audio, such as podcasts. However, most Japanese podcasts do not come with written transcripts. This represents an issue when studying because it can be difficult to correctly understand what you hear. This is where Podcastle comes in. Podcastle is a project funded by the Japanese government for foreign Japanese language learners. It provides a speech recognition system to automagically convert the audio into text. While you play the audio, it tries to keep up but can sometimes become “desynchronized”. It helps if you know enough Japanese to be able to tell when it’s messed up, as it can sometimes be off by a few words. Knowing kana at a minimum may be enough to be able to tell this. While its speech recognition is not all that accurate (let’s face it, though – none […]