Month: December 2017

Japanese news: trying to understand an article’s title…

Yesterday, I searched for an article to study today and I found this: 相撲協会 貴乃花親方の理事解任を評議員会に提案へ on NHK. This kind of article really makes me want to cry 😭! I don’t understand the title, I don’t understand at all what it is about, I recognize many kanji but I am too lazy to think about what they can mean in this context. I know that it is not only a problem of Japanese, that I also miss the context but still… This is so discouraging! Well, I guess that I still have a lot of work to do before I can read Japanese newspapers. Today, a related article came out: 日本相撲協会 暴力行為の再発防止へ委員会設置. So it is certainly important… I won’t study these articles but I will try to understand why I don’t understand the title. First, I always ask myself if there is a name in the title. That would be several kanji, let’s say 4, that won’t make any sense in the sentence. To me, 貴乃花親方 doesn’t make any sense so I guess that there is a name …

2018 Reading challenge!

Back from Kyoto with a lot of fantastic memories and a lot of books in my suitcase! Kyoto in December was very calm, we were even almost alone in some temples! Very touristic places were full of people but not crowded with noisy groups. Less touristic places were very quiet and sometimes quasi-deserted. Temple gardens in winter are very beautiful, too. Anyway, what interests us here is that I went to Maruzen, Jukundo and another bookshop in Kyoto whose name I forgot and made a stock of reading material for 2018. I can buy Japanese books in some big bookshops in Seoul but they usually focus on the same successful authors like Higashino or Murakami and don’t offer the same range of choice than Japanese bookshops concerning bestsellers and newly published works. This trip to Kyoto was an opportunity to see what is currently popular in Japan and buy titles that I can’t find in Korea. It may sound strange to buy so many books in advance, but it is also very exciting. I feel …

Japanese News: kanji of the year 北

You probably read or heard about it if you follow the news about Japan: the kanji of the year 今年の漢字 is officially 北・きた. Link to the NHK article on the subject. The 今年の漢字 is a kanji chosen at the end of each year by the Japanese kanji proficiency society 日本漢字能力検定協会 to represent the year that is about to end. It is revealed on December 12th in Kyomizu temple 清水寺・きよみずでら in Kyoto. During the ceremony, the chief abbot 貫主・かんじゅ of the temple writes the selected kanji on a large piece of Japanese paper 和紙・わし with a big brush. I think anyone can easily guess why 北 was chosen. It’s true that concerns about North Korea 北朝鮮・きたちょうせん were very present in the news. Let’s read the article and learn some new words! 北? 北朝鮮 The first meaning of 北 in our context is North Korea. The article says that the multiple launches of ballistic missiles from North Korea have created a menace and anxiety. A ballistic missile is “弾道ミサイル”. 弾道・だんどう means “trajectory”, “line of fire”, “path of a projectile”. …

Currently reading a magazine on Moomin and watching the series again

After my déconvenue at the JLTP, I bought this magazine even though I had no idea what it was about, just because I love Moomin. Moe turns out to be a magazine about illustrated books for children and you probably know Moomin, the main character of children books created by Tove Jansson.   As a child, I had an illustrated book of Moomin but I can’t remember which story it was. I just remember that I was a little afraid of Snufkin, who is now my favourite character! I think one can say that I had forgotten all about Moomin until I came to Korea. I don’t know why but Moomin is very popular here. The first part of the magazine is devoted to this month’s theme: Moomin. I find it very interesting and it made me wonder why do some characters become so famous that they fascinate people all other the world when there are so many books for children and so many new characters created every year. The magazine opens with an article about …

Collecting collocations: how to take notes to improve one’s writing skills

I am concerned about how to improve my writing skills and I have tried a method that seems to work well. The idea is to thoroughly study an article in order to collect collocations and expressions that we can use for writing. Until now, I have entirely relied on Anki to learn new words. This method works like magic to me, but I realised recently that Anki only helps me recognise the words and mainly allows me to improve my reading skills. Which is fine by the way. But the problem is that I don’t always know how to use the words I learn. I don’t want to enter too much information when I create a new card in Anki. First, it would take a lot of time to do so and second, I don’t want to spend too much time studying Anki and I am sure that I would not even bother reading the complementary information when studying my deck. That is why there are a lot of words that I don’t know how …

Japanese News: Emperor Akihito will retire on April, 30th 2019

You may have heard that a date was finally set last week for the abdication of Emperor Akihito. I think it is time for me to try reading political articles, but I will start with a very short one. Link to the article. (😲😨😱 As I check this link again, I realise that they completely changed the article in the meanwhile. When I studied it, it was a very short one… I am very sorry for that, but as this post is mainly focused on vocabulary, I think it is still okay…) This article published on Asahi does not bring much information but given that I can’t read the title, I think it is a good material to study some vocabulary. Let’s start with the title: 天皇陛下退位「2019年4月30日」 政令を閣議決定 To me, this is typically the kind of sentence that I can understand because I know the meaning of each kanji, but I could not possibly read it out loud with confidence. The only two words I already knew for sure are: 天皇・てんのう Emperor 決定・けってい decision (to say …

Currently reading: パラドックス13 by 東野圭吾

One of my good resolutions for 2018 is to read more books by Higashino Keigo. This is not a very hard resolution to keep as I love this author. I have decided to take a break from the Kaga series that I am currently reading and chose a relatively recent and long novel: 「パラドックス13」(read: パラドックス サーティーン) This is the longest novel that I have ever read in Japanese, 562 pages. But it seems to be as easy as the other novels that I have read so far. Flipping through the book also allowed me to see that the most part of it consists of dialogues. As for the story, it seems to be very different from the other crime/mystery novels by Higashino Keigo. To sum up the beginning, on March 13th, at 1:13 p.m people mysteriously disappear from the surface of the earth. We learn from the cover that only 13 people remain. It does not really seem to be a science-fiction story, nor a crime or mystery novel. I still have no clue how …

JLPT 2017 second test and beyond

Yesterday was finally the second JLPT test of the year. As I prepared a lot for it, I cannot but give my impressions on the test. Disappointed 😫 To be honest, I went to the test with a decent amount of self-confidence. I was particularly afraid of the grammar part so I worked a lot on it and when the day of the test finally came, I felt ready. But sincerely, I am not even sure to have made a better performance than I did in July. Surprisingly, the grammar part was not at all difficult. Of course, there were some tricky questions but I had the impression that the test was easier than the mock tests I had practised. On the contrary, the vocabulary part was quite difficult to me. But I guess that rather than saying that it was difficult, it’s better to say that I was unlucky. It’s hard to tell which words will come out and I feel that I just run out of luck. The reading part was okay I …