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.)

【Review】Talk to Me in Korean – News In Korean


Hello there!

A couple of months ago, Talk to Me in Korean released a new way for their learners to practice reading Korean called “News In Korean.” Every week on Tuesday and Friday, you’ll be sent three short news articles, mp3 files of the readings in three speeds (fast, normal, and slow), and a commentary. You can choose between a one-month subscription (5 weeks) for $8 or a three-month subscription (13 weeks) for $18. It does not automatically renew so don’t worry about it pulling out money you don’t have when you least expect it. I went and got the 3-month subscription about a week after they started it and I regret nothing!

Full review under the invisible dotted line~

Continue reading

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).


Yay context!



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・`)


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:


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?


I cannot stress this enough: take notes RIGHT AFTER you learn something because if you don’t you’ll be a Keisha. (My name is Keisha in case you didn’t know.) What Keisha does is read through the lesson and if she feels she understands it, she won’t take notes until “later.” Because Keisha thought she was smart and responsible, she ends up not taking notes until she’s done with the entire book. Keisha then has to go backtrack through the book and take notes because she has nothing to look back on other than the textbook.

Don’t be a Keisha.

(I’m laughing at how I’m pretty much scolding myself lmao.)


I Did It Again

I really hate coming back and making a post after not updating in a long time. I don’t hate the updating part. I hate that I took so long to post something. >.< One of my resolutions for this year was to post regularly (every day I think omg) and I still have the rest of the year to work on it. I got this. キラ――( ☆ω☆)――ン

I've been studying. I just haven't been blogging lol. I've been commenting on fellow learners' blogs and getting inspired by them, trying out different study methods, making attempts to study (even if it's just for 20 minutes that day), and tweeting in Japanese and Korean.

I've noticed that I have a weird habit of studying one language 90% of the time and other 10% and then switching the "favoritism" every 3-4 weeks. It kinda works and kinda doesn't so I'm implementing a new plan.

I'm not going to worry about if I study one more than the next or if there is a gap in levels. I'll study whatever I'm in the mood for. This goes material-wise too. If I'm feeling up for a long study session then I'll go for it, but if I don't and I haven't studied that day or in a while, I'll do something that takes 20 minutes just so I don't have large gaps in between study sessions. I think I think too much sometimes. (Wow… Think I think too much. Think-ception.)

This is another one of my "I'm good and alive and survived the apocalypse" posts. XD

I'm starting to second guess my decision on taking the N3 this year. I could probably do the N4, but the whole point of aiming for N3 was because N4 was too easy. I'm still going to work towards it and wait for registration to roll around. (The thought of aiming even higher and going for the N2 in 2015 has crossed my mind a couple of times. LOL NOPE.)

GOODBYE 2013, HELLO 2014!

I think the USA is the last country to enter the new year… So many people are already in 2014 and I’m here still in 2013. It’s like I’m stuck in some time warp. DARN YOU TIME ZONES!!!

よいお年をお迎えください! あけましておめでとうございます!

I used both because I don’t know when you’ll be reading this.

The first one is used before the new year and literally means “please welcome a good new year.”


よい =  good 「いい」also means “good” but 「よい」is the pre-WWII way of saying “good.” Maybe that’s why it’s used here? Usually you’ll see 「よい」when 「いい」is being conjugated.

お年 = year ( お is added for respect)

を = particle

お迎え『迎える』 = “to greet” or “to welcome” or “to mark the coming of” (お added for respect again)

~ください = sentence pattern used for polite requests

The second one is used only when the new year has arrived and literally means “congratulations on opening (a new year).”


あけまして『あける』= opening [to open]

おめでとうございます = congratulations

새해 복 많이 받으세요!

새해 = new year

복 = “luck” or “good fortune”

많이 = many

받으세요 = please receive

As you can see, I can go more into detail in Japanese. I’ll work harder this year. OTL

For resolutions, my big one is to cook for myself to make sure I get all the nutrients I need. The aim is to cook a “new” recipe every week. For language learning… uhh… I really really don’t know. Probably to study more diligently and bring my Korean up to par with my Japanese, but I want to make the language goal a little more specific. Specific goals are much easier to do. Unless it’s something like walk the grand canyon while balancing three porcelain bowls on your head. Then… I don’t know what do you with you.

But once I get a resolution for my language study, I’ll do it for 40 days because if I say I’ll do it for the year, the time frame is so large that I think I have time and then POOF I didn’t do it. >.> 40 days makes it easier to become a habit so you don’t even think about having to do it.

WAIT! I made a resolution to post here every day! That’s what it was! No wait, that’s more blog update related than study related so… Yeah. I’ll come back with a language resolution haha.

Any resolutions you’d like to share? :D

Up next: Genki I & II textbook and workbook review (‘Bout damn time I started book reviews)

Spoken Korean vs. Written Korean

I was listening to one of the lessons on Talk to Me In Korean, and they were talking about how some words are used for the written language and how some words are used in the spoken language. (There really is a difference. For English-speakers, it’s sort of but not really comparable to how we speak casually vs. using fancy/difficult words if we were writing an essay… I say it’s not really comparable because if you like being a smartass like me, you’ll throw in those fancy words in your every day speech.) Now I was aware about the differences between spoken Korean and written Korean (i.e. conjugations), but I completely forgot that some words are mainly used in the written language. So then it hit me…

How do I know which to use in the written language and which to use in the spoken language?

Many resources will just tell you the meaning of the word and, if it’s a good resource, when and when not to use that word context-wise. I haven’t come across any that say, “this word is used more often in writing rather than speaking.”

So how do you- my lovely fellow language learners -learn the difference? Do you just pick it up when you read and listen to people? Do you stop and think, “These two words mean the same thing, but I heard this one in a show and found the other in a book,” and it just registers? I’m starting to think that’s my best bet for knowing the difference. >.>

This blog needs more pictures… Here’s a picture of Changmin:


Not the Changmin you thought it was going to be now did you…

/crawls back out from the depths/


It’s been a while, hasn’t it…

Long story short: Part-time job + college + depression and anxiety + preparing for events + people = @_O

I’m doing better now though. The job I was doing was only during October and it’s getting closer to the end of the semester so things are starting to ease up a bit. I’ve recently got more Korean study time in HALLELUJAH BLESS YOU BABY POSEIDON. Japanese however…

Let me tell you about my Japanese class.

Great professor- This is my third semester with her. Great teacher’s assistant. Good book we’re working from. AND WE ARE BLOWING THROUGH THINGS LIKE CANNON BALLS THROUGH PAPER TOWELS. Everything is taught well, but we race through things. I’m doing well in the class, but I’m not retaining anything for long-term. We learn vocab by studying a long list for a vocab quiz on 10 random words. The tests don’t really test our knowledge of the material (Kinda good because we’d all fail if it really tested us. Bad because it barely tests us.) The activities we do in class are from the textbook and lord of oreos they are too easy. I’m talking “add whatever grammatical term you just learned to the end of the sentence” easy. The homework from the workbook is great. It makes you think and tests what vocab and grammar you understand. Every other way we try to use what we learned is honestly a flop to me.

I’ve been doing language exchange with someone from Japan who is currently living in America (She’s a sweetheart). Her and I have been studying English and Japanese, respectively, for about the same time. Now I know it’s not good to compare, but I must say her English is a lot better than my Japanese and that’s great. BUT! When it’s time to speak in completely Japanese I forget every word, grammatical term and hoop-lah that I have learned. I mean, yeah I can speak to her a little, but it’s not where it could be. With the words and grammar I’m supposed to know from class, I’m not where I should be. Now I do take responsibility for myself and believe I should study more effectively, but since I’m taking a college class, I WISH I could get more solid practice out of it. If I’m putting hours and hours a week into it, I would like to get something out of it. When I study my way, the information is there for long-term. It’s stuck with me and can’t leave or else I’ll kidnap it back into my brain. When I go according to the class, holy discount coupons it does not work. I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say anymore. Okay, lets try again.

I’m not where I want to be because I haven’t been studying in the way that’s best for me.

THERE WE GO! (I rhymed…)

So yeah, conclusion: Study the way that works best for you. Even if you’re taking a class, do what you need to go so that you fully grasp the information and it’s not floating around your brain to the point where you forget that you know it.

I should drop off that load of reviews I’ve been promising. >.>