I thought it might be a good idea to explain to you in a bit more detail why I fell in love with the Japanese language and take such a great interest in it.
First of all, I came into contact with Japanese at a young age. I must have been around 8 or 9 when I stumbled unto Animes (thankfully just subbed) and was immediately hooked. It was around the time when I began reading books about Buddhism and especially Zen practices. Now, given my young age, I obviously did not understand most of it, and was soon drawn to the martial arts side of Shaolin monks, samurais and especially ninjas (to a young boy, all these looked like super heroes anyways). And so, over the years, the Japanese culture (and the Shaolin) had me. It was always an up and down, at times I had lesser interest and other times it was all I read about. Continue reading
In my last post, I mentioned how much hassle it would be to turn my laptop into full blown Japanese mode. Well, turns out silly old me did not look in the right places. Now, my laptop is still in English and German, buuuuut, I can now type in Japanese!
わたちは ニルス です。
にほんごが すこし わかります。
See that, I just typed it with my keyboard. This makes things so much easier for me. Continue reading
There is something missing from my learning experience, and it is completely my own fault. Sure I am practicing daily, reading, writing, listening and talking (to myself that is) but all this is somewhat separated from my daily life. I still do my groceries, work on projects, do the dishes, cook some food, clean up in German or English.
What if I did all this in a Japanese mindset? Now now, I don’t mean that I act like someone born in Japan. This is not about deluding myself. Rather, why not make the effort to immerse me as much as possible into the Japanese language. What exactly does that mean though? Continue reading
While waiting for Crayon Shin-chan to begin this morning, I happened to watch an episode of an Anime called Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings. Now I don’t want to talk about the quality itself, which I can’t judge anyways given my lack of time with this Anime, but the German synchro for the main character (the guy in red armor) was so horrendously bad, I couldn’t help but make fun of it. Basically, he was screaming all the time, as if the guy responsible for the voice, did not know what he was doing, but wanted to sound all emotional. The other characters were okay, but this guy.. oh boy.. it was too silly to watch really. I don’t know how he sounds in Japanese, but I’ll bet it’s nothing like this. What were they thinking? Sadly, this is actually rather common, as other dubbed Animes I’ve watched, were often equally bad. Continue reading
The last couple of days saw little serious language learning on my part, as I seem to have lot’s of other “open projects” lingering in my mind. I still learn a bit Japanese every day, repeating the Hiragana, repeating the Pimsleur and the Genki Lessons, but not nearly enough to make substantial progress in my opinion. I am not regressing however, so that’s a good thing.
Things are about to change a bit though, once all the clutter is out or taken care of, I’ll see to it that I listen to more Japanese Music, watch more Japanese Movies and Animes, chat/befriend more people from Japan (basically Penpals) and just practice having conversation in this language daily.
I know that I could learn faster, but it’s just not possible at the moment. So I do what I can, that I at least won’t forget what I learned so far.
I’ll keep you guys and girls updated. More good stuff is coming soon :)
Aside from my daily ひらがな practice and dabbling with the Genki book, I also started learning with Pimsleur today.
Finally, I learn some real conversation which I can actually use in daily life, should I happen to meet people speaking Japanese.
With Pimsleur, you will repeat a lot. And I mean a whole lot. But this actually helps, at least from my experience, with remembering the meaning behind your utterances. It also helps losing any accent you may have (whether that is a good or bad thing is debatable – though I strive to emulate a native Japanese speaker as closely as possible).
In any case, the first Lesson starts simply enough: Continue reading
Today marks the beginning of my conversation practice. I am using the book Genki – An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese for this. It seems that it was a good idea after all to learn the ひらがな beforehand, as most of the initial lessons are written in this script. I will work on the Katakana soon however so that I also have this in my arsenal.
The First Lesson, or rather Lesson Zero, involves some of the most common Greetings in Japanese. This actually proves to be a good practice for myself as I can now write and read these Greetings fairly easily, and learn their pronunciation and meaning at the same time.
I will however not use this book exclusively, but rather try to get my knowledge from a couple of sources. I might try out Pimsleur too, as I heard many good things about it. As for the Katakana and Kanji, I will work with Heisigs books, as they have already proven themselves very useful and effective. Continue reading
And it’s done. I have worked my way through Remembering the Kana I, and thus learned to read and write the ひらがな.
My total time in the lessons clocks at 100 minutes, but this does not include the time I spent (and plan to spend) repeating the kana symbols, reading as much as I can and simply practicing a lot.
I do want to include the number though, to show you how “easy” it is to learn something that us westerners often consider very abstract and plain out of our reach. Let me be the first to tell you that it’s not hard at all. Yes, you do have to sit down and work, but success comes so quickly that soon you will forget all about the apparent hardship. Continue reading
Almost finished with the book Remembering the Kana by James Heisig
From then on, I will learn the Katakana, followed by focusing more on the conversational aspect, before learning the Kanji symbols. Of course, it would be nice to read all those yet cryptic passages, but what’s the point if I don’t even understand them, nor their greater context. Continue reading
For those of you who also study Japanese, the name Heisig should ring a bell. His method employs an imaginative memory, in order to retain the myriads of symbols us westerners often find confusing and random. Instead of just hammering those symbols into our brain by repeating them until oblivion, one is rather invited to look into their structure and create crazy stories around. Our brain has a tendency to retain abstract information far better when we connect it to a wacky story or image. Continue reading