夏の漢字ライダーズ

Sometimes kanji loves me and other times it kicks my ass. I’m sure a lot of you have felt the same way. I decided to pick up my sword and go in swinging wildly at my foe and friend-漢字.

Really though, don’t go in swinging wildly with any sword. It’s your best chance at getting locked up, hurting yourself, or being wiped out completely in Devil May Cry.

I joined this challenge on Japanese Level Up, otherwise known as Jalup, which is a wonderful site with a great community of Japanese learners. The blog posts and comments are inspirational and helpful. You can definitely pick up some new tips and methods from them so if you’ve never stopped by the site before, go ahead and try it out: http://japaneselevelup.com/

Here’s the challenge I’m doing: http://japaneselevelup.com/jalup-group-challenge-the-summer-of-rtk/ (Can you find my comment? :3)

What I’ll basically be doing from June 1st to August 31st is learning kanji as a separate system- the same way we learn hiragana and katakana, but with RTK (Remembering the Kanji by Heisig) through Anki, a SRS (spaced repetition system). Now, I’ve tried it before and quit too early because I’m not very fond of SRS even though it does help me sometimes. I have a hard time staying consistent with things these days and I hate hate hate that about myself. (Just look at how often I update this blog…) I used to be so hard-working, but now I find it difficult to keep up with anything. Enough of me complaining about me.

What I’ve been doing to learn kanji, and what I prefer to do, is to learn them as I see them. When my textbook introduces 15-25 kanji, that’s what I learn. If I see a particular character a lot, I learn how to write it and try to iron it into my memory. If I learn a couple new words, I always write the kanji out and not just the hiragana. However, I won’t try too hard to remember these. I’d just passively learn it. In Japanese class I was so ambitious and eager to learn kanji and it really paid off. I actually pick them up quickly. Can you naturally have a thing for learning kanji?

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Imagine looking through your kanji dictonary like “uh-huh, uh-huh, know that, know that, easy, oh a new one, know that, know that…”

A lot of Japanese learners have done the RTK method successfully and well, I’d like to be one of them. I’m going to give this my best shot. I’m going to learn 20 kanji each day and keep up with my reviews on anki. It’ll be easy while I’m going throw the couple hundred kanji I know and am familiar with, but once those new ones start coming in, woo it’s gonna be a party. And by party, I mean battleground.

If I do manage to complete this challenge successfully, I’ll be able to spend more time and effort on other areas like reading and learning grammar. Actually, reading would become a lot easier for me because although I may not know the pronunciation of the word, I’ll know the meaning and won’t have to cry every time I come across blocks of kanji. It’ll ease the learning process up a bit. This is my main reason for wanting to try this out.

And so, my readers, I proudly announce that I am now part of 夏の漢字ライダーズ or Summer Kanji Riders. Just look at that name, haha. Love it. I wish I posted this earlier so that anyone could join the challenge as well, but May 31st was the last day to post that you were joining. Do feel free to still try it out if you’d like to.

Hey, ever have that moment when you’re writing a blog post and want to add pictures but you don’t wanna randomly add just any picture so you just internally cry about the big block of text you wrote and hope that none of your readers get bored with all the words? Or is that just me?

Yes… I went back and took a picture of a random page in my kanji dictionary just to ease up the words.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears

I remember when I was starting to learn Korean and LAWD all I heard was complete and utter gibberish whenever it was spoken. After months of struggle, I finally started to hear Korean as Korean and was ecstatic.

Now?

I’m weeping in a corner.

 

I’ll hear bits and pieces that I understand and then the rest sounds like Zelo when he says, “심장에 울리는 내 말이 니말과 다르니 화가나니 들어 4마디 잔소리”. It makes me so sad, haha. I want to be able to transcribe what I’m hearing so I can look new words up, but nope. Looks like that won’t happen for a while.

For Japanese, I have NO problem transcribing things. I’m starting to wonder if it’s because Japanese has syllables that don’t have all the pronunciation rules Korean has and each syllable is (ugh how do I describe it…) cut/short? I really don’t know how to describe it, but Japanese syllables are each short and kinda stand out on their own while Korean syllables kind of meld together. I’ve also been listening to Japanese and singing songs I heard for YEARS. I’m talking elementary school years so… that’s about 14 years now.

I think it has to do with the way Korean sounds can meld together. In the beginning or even now, you may not know if you heard, 심장에 or 심짱에 or 씸잔게 and you just have to sit there looking at whoever spoke like “BRUH…”

Japanese comes so easy to me and Korean makes me run to the hills and back. That is literally the best way to describe it. Wanna tell me to learn something difficult or abstract in Japanese? Woohoo! Sure! Awesome! I got this! Wanna tell me to learn some basic or intermediate Korean? LOL WAT APRIL FOOLS IS BACK COOL NICE ONE.

Korean is going to rip me to shreds, but it’s okay. I still have tons of love for the language. Painful… Sad… Love.














Still here? Great!

Let’s have a little side chat about a man named Lee Jong Suk or as I like to call him, GTFO.

DISCLAIMER: I will not be held liable for any injuries, distractions, arousal, tears, or heartaches caused by the following pictures of Lee Jong Suk. You have the right to remain silent or bring the issue up to the man himself, but I also will not be responsible for any further damage he may cause.

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See, now, Mr. GTFO has forced me to watch all of his dramas and movies. I’m currently on Doctor Stranger after watching Pinocchio and School 2013. Being the language learner that I am, I try to listen and transcribe any phrases I want to learn or just try to see if I can understand without subs. Mr GTFO has other plans. He doesn’t want me to understand more than one word out of every 10 sentences that comes from his gorgeous lips. This is probably more of my fault than his, but lets completely ignore that for the sake of… well, nothing actually. Just go with it.

Usually I can get SOME sense of, “I can hear the syllables,” when someone speaks in this drama, but when I get to Mr. GTFO, it becomes a battlefield. I don’t know if he’s mumbling, speaking fast, or if his beauty is just messing up my existence. It’s probably the latter mixed with him speaking fast, but let’s also ignore that for the sake of nothing.

What I’m trying to basically say is…

He needs to go.

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See that smirk? That is the smirk of “I need to get the F### out.”

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Yepp… Definitely needs to go.

 

You Had It Right The First Time…

I always look at the different ways people study Korean and Japanese to pick up new ideas, but I never really thought to see how other people learn English. It’s actually pretty interesting and some of it reminds me of elementary school when we did ELA (English Language Arts). My ELA teacher at the time literally gave us an intensive course on English every year. We’d learn grammar and syntax rules in depth, take sentences apart, examine the structure, etc. I loved it. Well, I kinda hated that school for many reasons, but if there’s one good thing I got out of it, it’s everything I know about how English is constructed. It’s about 425% of the reason I’m a bit of a grammar Nazi. (And by bit, I mean more than a bit.)

Many people will say to you as you’re learning languages, “People can’t explain why something is a certain way in their native language, because they just don’t know. They don’t learn conjugations and all of that in school. They just speak it.”

AND I AM HERE TO PROUDLY SAY THAT IS BS

I know my grammar and syntax and if you ask me why something is a certain way in English, nine times out of ten I could probably explain to you why. The sad thing is, that statement about people not learning why things are the way they are is true for many people. When I entered high school back in ’07, a lot of people never had a proper ELA course and made countless errors in their writing. Same thing happened in college and in both places I was “praised” for my “advanced knowledge” when in my opinion those were the mere basics of English.

Welp, back to my first point about how people learn English…

Here’s a blog post I stumbled across with a good example of what I was talking about: http://blog.daum.net/piataem/9 Look mid-page at the pictures where they’re examining things phrase by phrase and marking what goes with what. For some ridiculous reason, even though this is how I was taught to analyze sentences, I never thought to do this with Japanese or Korean. It’s like when you try to connect a USB and turn it over 5 times just to realize you had it right the first time.

For Korean and Japanese, I usually underline or highlight words and phrases I don’t understand, but I rarely dig into the sentence. If I could understand it, it was good enough for me, haha. Studying a little more actively won’t hurt. (Well, actually, anything can hurt… >.> But it’s all about the reward.)

I don’t like writing long posts without pictures! Blocks of text are scary to some people! Please don’t run! ( 」゚Д゚)」

To Workbook Or Not To Workbook

This is always the question.

Short post, but how does everyone feel about workbooks? I don’t really use them because instead of efficiently working through ch. 4 of the workbook AS I do ch. 4 of the textbook, I do ch.4 of the workbook when I’m a) on chapter 12 or b) done with the entire book.

It’s like my brain does a memory dump on what workbooks are and that they exist.

I noticed that even though I can breeze through learning Korean vocab and grammar, it doesn’t stick like Japanese did. I thought it was because I was more familiar with Japanese, but then I noticed it was because I was using a good workbook with the main material. When I use a good workbook (not a non-self-study friendly boring one), it lets me put the medal to the pedal (whoops… pedal to the medal…. metal? medal? See, I can’t even speak my first language and I’m too lazy to look it up) and see what I can remember on my own without re-reading notes.

So yeah, workbooks work for me… Hee hee. Workbooks, WORK. Ha. Haha. Ha.

I’ll stop now.

So do workbooks earn minimum wage? Imagine a lil book going to its office with its lil suitcase.

….Okay, now I’ll stop. I couldn’t help it.

They have their benefits, however, it’s always a question of “Do I want to part my bank account with its money and make it weep like a kid who got their lollipop taken away?”

So how do you all feel about workbooks? Good workbooks. We all hate the bad ones of course. Are they worth the extra money or are they nice to have but not really worth it?

(I’m trying to decide whether to get Ewha and Yonsei workbooks later on, that’s why haha.)

Vocab Lists Should Be Banned

I am so serious.
There should be a large protest against vocab lists.

When I was taking Japanese at college, we had to learn a page of vocab from the Genki textbook we used. This would be anywhere from 20 – 30 new words for a little quiz on a randomly selected 10. You were then expected to remember that word for the rest of your Japanese learning life.

Guess how many of them I forgot?
Don’t actually try because I don’t know the answer and I don’t want you to hurt your brain. Those are precious brain cells you have there.

The point I’m trying to make is that stuffing all those words on lists into your head won’t help you. Well, it didn’t help me nor did it help most of the other students in my class. You’re going to forget it. You’re much more likely to remember a word if you learn it from a conversation you heard or a passage you read.

This example is with my Korean studies, but it’s all the same vocab business:
Not too long ago I was doing a bit of reviewing with Korean. There were words I tried to learn and remember through SRS and vocab lists and I remembered ZILCH. I couldn’t even recall most of them. However, the words I learned IN CONTEXT from Sogang’s free online lessons were sooooo easy to recall even though I hadn’t looked at them in 8 to 10 months. These were the words I learned from the dialogues and readings.

Although I’ve proven to myself I remember much better from context than lists, I still feel like if there’s a word I don’t know on my list for that chapter, I NEED to learn it then and there or it’ll disappear into the mass of other words in the language never to be seen again.

I’m so dramatic.

The thing is, the word will definitely come up again- especially if it’s a word from the early stages. I can’t run after every word all the time especially since I’m out of shape stamina-wise. I wouldn’t get too far.

I highly suggest learning in context and at your own pace. Think of it as food. You don’t wanna scarf everything down at once and get indigestion. Enjoy your food at your own pace (and ignore all the pesky people who ask why you eat so slow or so fast).

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Yay context!

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BOOOOO STINKY LISTS!

Oh, remember what I said a couple posts ago too: Don’t be a me. Don’t be a Keisha and have to go back and review chapters and chapters. I’m not learning anything new yet. I’m still reviewing stuff. 6 more chapters to review/re-learn.
( ´Д`)ノ(´・ω・`)

BOOKS!

I’m yelling about novels in particular- novels in the languages in learning to be even more particular.

I’m soooo eager to read a novel in another language, but honestly I’ve been delaying it because I keep telling myself it’s too early. I can’t wait until I feel “ready” because I’ll never really feel “ready” BUT most novels would require me to look up every other word which may or may not bother me. It literally depends on the book, the day, how I feel, the positioning of the sun, the wind velocity, etc.

Let me give you an idea of just why I’m dying to start a novel:

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Yes, all of these are mine. This is from two trips to BookOff! in NYC. Good news: I have lots of reading material and it was all for cheap. Bad news: I have lots of scary reading material with big mean words I don’t know yet.

The most I’ve done is read here and there in 세상에 너를 소리쳐! and picked up 우리들의 행복한 시간 at the library. But that’s for Korean.

So yeah I’m skeptical to read a full novel right now but the difference is that for Korean I’m like (゚¬゚*) and for Japanese I’m like Σ(゚Д゚ノ)ノ and щ(゚Д゚`щ). Guess which one I’ve been studying longer? (Hint: The one with the emojis that look ready to leave life.) I think my comprehension has to do with the fact that I casually read BAP’s tweets and translate them so little by little I got better at reading Korean. So basically, it’s BAP’s fault.

Also, Japanese is written very abstractly (which I love) and adds to the difficulty of understanding what you read (which I hate).

I actually don’t know what I’m saying anymore or what you’re getting out of this other than that I’m a wuss when it comes to trying to read Japanese.

To everyone out there learning languages, when did you start reading your first novel? Did you feel “ready” when you started? How much did you need to rely on a dictionary?

Quick Update!

Hello there!

I haven’t forgotten about all of you lovely people. I’m usually around in the far winds, hidden in the shadows, reading posts and stuff. I have to admit that I’ve been slacking horribly with language learning and I’m embarrassed that I allowed myself to slack so much.

I still feel that it would be best for me to pick one language- either Japanese or Korean -and put all my time and energy into that one language until I’m at and advanced level or near fluent and THEN go on to the next language. I’d be able to use what I learned to study the other language too. (Ex.: Study Japanese with a Korean textbook.) However, I have this astounding ability to switch to the next language if I tell myself to stick with one. Not too long ago I told myself, “Okay, we’re going to go full force with Korean and then come back to Japanese.” But what did I do? I followed a couple of Japanese BABYz (B.A.P fans) on twitter and started talking to them. ._. So then I said, “Crud. Okay, full force with Japanese,” BUT I picked up my Korean Grammar in Use book.

Sometimes I want to kick myself in the butt and I do but I don’t try to do it anymore because I pulled a muscle in my front thigh.

I amuse myself with the nonsense I do, haha.

 

Ooooooo, speaking of KGIU, I owe you all about 100 book and website reviews, don’t I?

>.>

<.<

Whoops.

 

-1 hour later-

I changed up the theme and even made my own little logo. I literally threw it together in GIMP in about 5 minutes because I wanted to look cool and have a logo.

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Backtracking

As some of you may know, I studied Japanese in college before I went full-force self-study with it. Because of that, I had to cram information in for tests and had a lovely habit of forgetting vocabulary and grammar… and kanji. OTL Sure, I understood everything I was taught, but only enough for short term memory. I’d forget that I learned a ton of words 2 weeks ago because I was learning another ton of words in the current week. I’d forget all the lovely grammar too. It’s like when you’re the chosen one in a movie and you don’t remember your past life until you’re awakened. You didn’t “forget” the info, but you forgot that you knew.

Woah.

But anyways, I’ve been doing some backtracking so I could smooth out all the bumps, twists, twizzlers, and loops in my knowledge before plunging into anything new. I’ve FINALLY finished backtracking through Genki I and can now backtrack through Genki II. LAWD I’VE BEEN WAITING. (And by waiting I actually mean dancing around in Korean books and avoiding my mission.) I got so happy that I hopped into my WordPress app to make this little post lol.

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I’m one step closer to starting Tobira. キラ――( ☆ω☆)――ン
(Tobira is this lovely intermediate textbook I got my hands on.)

Lesson learned. Take your time while studying. Feel free to try a class outside of college that allows you to retain information better or go on your own route completely and self-study. Don’t rush or you’ll throw a pillow at your poster of Yunho.

 

失恋ショコレティエ 「しつ・れん・ショコレティエ」

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I completely forgot that I was watching this drama (actually I completely forgot that I was watching a couple of dramas). I got into it because of Matsumoto Jun who won my heart with his acting in 花より男子「はな・より・だんご」and then stuck with it once I noticed I could understand about 40% of it without subs. So regardless of if one of the characters made me want to table flip her a million times, I wanted to watch it to the end since it was good listening practice. (The things we do because we love a language.)

I almost forgot about it since I was waiting for this one site to upload the episodes, but they took a long pause after episode two which made me panic and think the drama had paused BUT then I finally did the smart thing and looked for episodes on a different site… Just to find all 11 episodes. OTL

So far (which isn’t that far really unless you consider 3/11 episodes to be far), the drama is interesting and the acting is great. I think this drama is good listening practice for anyone who’s transitioning to intermediate or is even at the upper beginner level if you like a challenge. :D I do, so here I am! (Join me!) I was surprised at how much I was able to understand and still am. @.@

 

If you really wanted to make this post extremely short, it could literally be summed up as, “Hi, I’m watching this drama because I can actually understand the Japanese in it,” but that wouldn’t be any fun now would it?