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Review: Future Diary, Volume 2

8 Apr

Future Diary, Volume 2Future Diary, Volume 2 by Sakae Esuno
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Still not in love with this story, but am interested enough to continue reading to see what is going to happen to the #1.

View all my reviews

Japanese Mini-Break & Counters

7 Apr

So I’ve pretty much taken a break from my Japanese studies due to my excitement for the Read-a-thon this weekend and also because of the crazy new sheep breeding feature in Farmville (guilty pleasure).  But… I will get back to it next week full force.  In the meantime, I’m just working with my Pimsleur MP3s in the car on the way to and from work.  That way I don’t forget EVERYTHING!  🙂

In the meantime, I’ ve currently been working on learning the different pronunciations of the numbers with their counters and all.  Here is a fun video for the counter for people…


And here is a cute little song for learning how to count objects:

Mango (no, not the fruit)

31 Mar

I admit it, I’m addicted to my Droid phone and getting more so every day.  My latest find, and possibly my favorite app ever, is Mango.  This app is for reading manga on your phone.  It is connected to multiple sites that contain insane amounts of manga.  You can find out more information and get the download here.  They are planning to have a pay version of the app next month for only $3.99 and I think it’ll be well worth it with the added features.  If you’re a fan of manga and have an android, this app is a must have.

My first read with the application is a horror series titled Mirai Nikki (aka Future Diary).  More about this in a future blog post once I’ve finished the series…

Japanese 101: Days of the Week

30 Mar

Realized in my previous post I should’ve inserted the days of the week in Japanese rather than just posting them as normal, so…. here’s a quick mini-lesson.  I’d type one out myself, but I need to get back to studying so I’ll cheat with a YouTube video.  🙂


30 Mar

So in my last post I talked about all of the things I’m using to learn Japanese.  My problem is, though I think I have picked a good group of “tools” to work with… some days I just feel completely overwhelmed and don’t know what to work on first.  This would be one of those days.  So… I’m taking a moment to type up a blog post and try to sort my thoughts.  At the end I’ll have questions for any other people out there currently learning Japanese.

The current list of stuff I’d LIKE to accomplish this week that is still outstanding:

  • Genki – Re-read chapters 4-6, Redo workbook sections 4-6, as well as Katakana and Kanji sections 2-6
  • Basic Kanji – Work through lessons 3-5
  • Japanese In Mangaland – Complete Workbook Block 2
  • Japanese Demystified – Complete chapter 5 and take Part 1 Test
  • Yes Japan – Work through lessons 2 & 3
  • And of course, continue on with my Pimsleur in the car with my iPod & study Kanji & Vocabulary.

Unfortunately, it’s already Wednesday and tonight I’m feeling so overwhelmed I’m thinking of just giving myself a break.  However, I don’t want to do that so I’m trying to talk things out here to see if I can’t work out some kind of tentative schedule for all of the stuff listed above.

Wednesday – Genki chapter 4, Katakana lesson 2 & Kanji section 3

Thursday – Genki Chapter 5 & Kanji sections 4 & 5

Friday – Genki Chapter 6 & Japanese Demystified

Saturday – YesJapan 2 & 3, Japanese In Mangaland, & Kanji section 6

Sunday – Basic Kanji 3-5

Okay… so that’s a goal!  If I fall behind I won’t get mad at myself since I don’t really have any kind of deadline, but it’s best if I keep pushing forward!  I’m trying to not go any days without SOME kind of homework involved as I’m afraid I’ll get off track completely and stop the process altogether.  So, a little a day will go a long way.  However, I don’t want to leave it at just the Pimsleur stuff as I want to be able to read and write it as well so back to the homework I go!

My question to anyone out there reading my blog is… how are you studying?  What kind of agenda do you give yourself?  And what kind of “tools” are you using?


Japanese and Me

29 Mar

What Got Me Interested

Just wanted to tell a little bit about how I got interested in Japanese and how I’ve gone about learning the language thus far. When I was at the end of my college career I was dating a guy that played a lot of video games, including RPG games from Japan. I was never a fan of the games but loved the artwork. So… he bought me an anime dvd to try. Offhand I can’t recall which one that was but I loved it and wanted to see more. I became obsessed with then and also started buying manga to read as well.  After watching anime after anime with subtitles (because the dubbed versions are more often than not painful to the ears) I decided I wanted to learn Japanese to lessen how much reading of subtitles I had to do.  Also, I really wanted to go to Japan to visit (and still do) so I wanted to be able to speak fluently enough to get by without having to point at pictures and such all the time in order for people to understand what I am saying.

What I Did About It

So… after graduating college I went back and took two years of the language at the same college.  Our class text was Yookoso! (books 1 & 2).  I also managed to pick up the Nakama textbook from the college bookstore at one point, though it wasn’t used in my classes.  Unfortunately, the class I was in didn’t pick up very quickly and I was working a full-time job & teaching a dance group so I didn’t really have time to focus on the subject as much as I’d like.  I learned how to write hiragana, katakana, some vocabulary, and a little bit of grammar, but I honestly didn’t feel like I knew much after coming out of those classes.  I tried continuing on my own at the time, but life was just too hectic so after a few months, I gave it up. 

For several years after that I really didn’t watch anime or anything and got more involved with other hobbies and such.  Then this past year I got a sudden interest in anime again and with that, the interest of wanting to learn the language came back.  I already had a ton of books to work with at home and without having to teach the dance group of an evening I figured I might actually have a bit more time to do it.  So a couple of months ago, I threw myself head first into it.  I had to basically start from scratch as I had forgotten most everything I had previously learned.  Hiragana came back pretty easily, but I’m still struggling with the katakana.  I honestly think I may have not had a good grasp on that before either since it’s really not used all that often. 

Note:  If you’ve made it this far into this blog post I congratulate you as I’ve got a habit of rambling…

What I’m Doing Now

My biggest struggling starting out this time was deciding what book(s) and such to start with as I had collected numerous ones over the years.  I initially had decided on Japanese For Busy People 1, but then when I was at the local Half-Price Books one day I lucked into finding the first Genki textbook and workbook really cheap.  I read that it was the series of choice by most people so I was quite excited about my lucky find.  I’ve gone 6 lessons into the book so far and have started to get overwhelmed so I’m backtracking and focusing on memorizing more of the vocabulary that I had skimmed over and re-doing the workbook sections thus far to get a better grasp on the grammar.  I figure I’m in no hurry since I’m not in a classroom so I’d rather get a strong foundation of the material before moving any further.

I’ve also added more resources into my study schedule to learn other things and also to see some of the same things taught in other manners.  Here is a list of other materials I am using.  Once I’ve completed some of these I will start to write up reviews to hopefully better help future self-teachers in determining what are the best “tools” to use (though I’m sure everyone learns differently).

  • Random House Jap/Eng & Eng/Jap Dictionary – I’ve had this book since I was taking the college classes and love it.  I do have other dictionaries as well, such as this larger size Random House one and this Kodansha Furigana one, but I use the one more than anything.
  • Anki – This is freeware for your computer that you can make flashcards with.  This program rocks!  I also have the free AnkiDroid app on my cellphone that I can import my flashcard files onto so that I can study wherever I am at.  There are some glitches with it, but overall it’s a great app!  Hopefully there will be some updates in the near future that will fix these.
  • Pimsleur Japanese 1, 2, and 3 – This audio series is really good for listening and practicing in the car.  I have been listening to it driving back and forth from work since I have a 20-30 minute drive each way and each lesson is approximately 30 minutes long.  I have currently stopped around lesson 18 of the first set as I was getting a little overwhelmed, but am about ready to dig back in, though I’ll be backtracking a few lessons to review what I last learned. 
  • Basic Kanji Vol. 1 – I chose this series over Remembering the Kanji series since it actually teaches the readings, compounds, and stroke order rather than just how to recognize the meaning of the Kanji.  I may look at the other series eventually as a refresher and/or to help soak in the kanji a bit more.
  • Tuttle Kanji Cards Vol. 1 & 2 – I love these flashcards!  I can pull out just the ones I need to study with and carry them around with me wherever I go.  Unfortunately, Tuttle has re-released the cards (Vol. 1 I linked is NOT the one I have… see picture below for the original) and didn’t put the same amount of cards in the first two volumes so when I go to buy sets 3-5 I’m going to probably have some duplicates.  😦
  • Kanji Learner’s Dictionary – I’m currently waiting on this dictionary to deliver, but have heard nothing but good things about it.  Looking forward to trying it out!
  • Japanese Demystified – I’m using this one to learn the grammar I’m learning in Genki in a different manner as it kind of goes along in the same order as the Genki 1 book.  I figured the extra practice sections would help.
  • Japanese In Mangaland & Workbook – I’m kind of going through these book as I have time, but not really absorbing it fully as it’s not my main focus.  I plan on going back through it again at a latter date once I have learned more grammer/vocab/kanji.  I’m taking in more of the culture tips and seeing some examples of informal Japanese as I read through it as I’m not learning those things within Genki.  This book is probably better for Intermediate students.  Also, there is a set of Kanji In Mangaland books that goes along with this series.  They are really cool books as well, BUT the manga examples are overwhelming since I don’t know a lot of grammar/vocab yet.  After I’ve gotten further along in the Kanji series I’m working with and have learned more grammar/vocab I will definitely be going through this series.
  • Japanese From Zero! 1 – I’ve yet to decide if I like this series.  It goes along with the online website YesJapan which is a pay site that has all the lessons online.  However, the workbook contains extra exercises to help students practice what they learn in each lesson.  I’m still debating how I want to use this site/book.  I haven’t paid for a subscription yet as I’m still reading the first few lessons which are free online, though the same in the book.  The only difference online is that there are extra games/quizzes to go with each lesson.  I’m not sure how helpful these things will be so I may try out the site for a couple of months and then cancel.  To access these features it’s $10/month.  Paying for a premium account it is $20/month.  This might be more worthwhile in the end as it gives access to all of the videos that the site uploads where they explain cultural facts, answer questions, and point out common problems and such.  I will provide more feedback on this book/site once I’ve played around with it more.  As of now I’m undecided how long I will stick out using it, but I’ll at least go through the first course since I already have the book.


Other Notes

So… that is how I’m going about things at this point.  I additionally browse numerous websites/blogs/etc… but will post some examples/recommendations of these in future blogs.

I think that’s enough rambling for now.  Hopefully this will help someone and I will follow up in the future with more details on how these tools are working for me as well as the reviews I’ve promised. 

Turning Japanese by The Vapors

27 Mar

Still playing around and testing things here at my new “home” on the web.  Figured this song went along with the title of my blog… or rather it was the inspiration for the title of my blog.