Month: July 2018

Monthly review: July 2018

I haven’t been productive this month, I was mainly fighting the heat, sleeping badly because the temperature would hardly go down during the night. That’s okay, because I know I will be filled with new energy in September! Japanese I haven’t done much apart from reading, studying Anki and making one type of exercise per day. I like my new schedule, it allows me to regularly write, listen, read the news, study grammar… without feeling overwhelmed. This being said, I miss studying Japanese like I was doing last year to prepare for the JLPT. I long for a new textbook that I could follow blindly, but I am not ready to start preparing for N1 yet, and I don’t know any advanced textbook that is not JLPT oriented. Stationery and Fountain pens My passion for stationery has led me to the dangerous territory of the fountain pens. I say dangerous because it seems endless and each step can cost you much more than notebooks, colour pencils and stickers together. I didn’t know that the world …

Japanese immersion: July week 4

Introduction: a word on immersion I will enlarge my Friday post’s definition (if it had any…) and call it “Japanese immersion”. In other words, I will write every Friday about the things I did to get immersed in Japanese. We all know that immersion is a key factor to language learning, but it is easy to let the weeks go by without actively immerse ourselves in our target language/culture. I can easily guess that immersion is not a problem for many fans of Japan. It is just something that happens because Japanese culture becomes a part of their life. To me, it is a little different. Even though I love many aspects of the Japanese culture, I would naturally want to watch European/American films rather than Japanese, listen to occidental music rather than a Japanese one and so on. Only Japanese literature really fascinates me. This is why I have to consciously build up a Japanese environment around me because it will not happen naturally. I think that making a kind of report once a week …

Book Review: 「私のクラスの生徒が、一晩で24人死にました。」by 日向奈くらら

The book 「私のクラスの生徒が、一晩で24人死にました。」by 日向奈くらら (ひむかな・くらら) reminded me how much I like horror stories and thrillers. I have a taste for thrillers and psycho-thrillers with horror elements but I always find that half of the books I read in these areas are disappointing. It was not the case with Himukana’s book that I found very entertaining. Strangely enough, I could point out some aspects of the books that may be considered as weaknesses, but while I was aware of them, they did not bother me, nor did they prevent me from enjoying the book. Maybe reading in Japanese makes me less demanding? The story Nahoko KITAHARA is a teacher in a select high school establishment. As the title plainly states, 24 students of her class mysteriously die overnight. I liked that the novel does not lose time in endless settings and almost opens on this terrible event. However, I was afraid that the rest of the book would nourish itself from this one event, with characters keeping wondering how this is possible and so on. I was …

Organising my studies

For some time now, I come up with things that I want to do every day. I want to write in Japanese every day, I want to do listening exercise every day, write lines of kanji, read the news and take notes, read my book on Japanese history, revise N3 grammar, study Anki, and so on… While all these things could be done every day taken separately, it is overwhelming and almost impossible to do them all on a daily basis. Not that it takes too much time though, some of these tasks only require 10 minutes. I have reflected upon what makes it difficult to do several different tasks a day if it is not a problem of time. I think that I am the kind of person who needs a lot of willpower to get started. Once I am doing an activity, I can sit for a long time at my desk or wherever and go on studying. But starting is difficult. It is easier for me to work for one hour on …

I am watching 孤独のグルメ!

As I announced last week, I won’t be posting any more about Japanese news on Friday. I want to diversify the way I learn Japanese and find other materials (that is, not books) to improve my listening and get to know more different aspects of Japanese culture. I find that my Japanese learning has become too static. I have reached a good level of reading, but I am not flexible enough. There are a lot of areas where I feel like a complete beginner and my listening level is far too low. I will use my Friday post to report on my progress in these areas! Dramas and me To improve my listening, I have decided to watch Japanese dramas. This might seem an obvious and easy thing to do, but it is not for me. My relation with dramas (which was until now almost exclusively Korean dramas) is made of deceptions, frustrations and a lot of time lost. I have been disappointed in several Korean dramas that I have tried to watch, and I …

Currently Reading: 「それでも、日本人は戦争を選んだ」by 加藤陽子

I have finally given up reading 「朝鮮開国と日清戦争」by Soki WATANABE because the more I read, the more difficult the book becomes. I was unlucky in my choice when I picked a History book, I should have bought a popular book written for a large public. Watanabe’s book was maybe too specialised for me. As I don’t renounce reading History books in Japanese, I picked another one: 「それでも、日本人は戦争を選んだ」by 加藤陽子 (かとう・ようこ). Yoko KATO is a professor at Tokyo University. Her field is the period spanning from the Russo-Japanese War to the Pacific War, but her speciality is centred on Japan’s diplomatic relations and military actions of the 30’s. Her book is divided into 5 chapters: Prologue: Let’s reflect upon Japan Modern History Chapter 1: First Sino-Japanese War Chapter 2: Russo-Japanese War Chapter 3: World War I Chapter 4: The Mukden Incident and the Second Sino-Japanese War Chapter 5: Pacific war The point of this book is to reflect upon Japan Modern History through the wars of this period. Why this book is easy to read? This book seems much …

New Anki deck, old goals

I have started a new Anki deck… and I am not using anymore the one I started on the very first day of my learning Japanese. I have realised that my Anki deck was not fitting my goals anymore. When I created my deck, I had in mind a strategy to learn vocabulary as thoroughly as possible. As a result, each note was attached to three types of cards which were supposed to reflect all the way you handle vocabulary in real life: (in Anki, a note is where you enter the information you want to learn, a card is how you want Anki to test you using this information) Either you want to use this word yourself: Show English, Answer Japanese Or you read this word: Show Japanese, Answer pronunciation and English Or you hear this word: Play audio through the plugin “Awesome TTS”, answer English. I thought that this was the best way to learn vocabulary through Anki. In any case, it is a very thorough way, and I don’t regret having used …

Japanese News: July week 2 (終)

Introduction This week’s post is very short, only two topics, and it will be the last post in the section “Japanese News”… The reason why I stop is that I think this exercise already bore its fruits. I started it to help me read the news, and it worked better than I could say: Studying articles on my blog improved my reading comprehension (when I started doing this exercise, reading a political article was really scary and I usually understood nothing unless I studied it sentence by sentence). Posting every Friday forced me to be regular and read the news, if not every day, several times a week. More than the study part, I think that the regularity the blog forced me into is what helped me the most. I learnt a lot of English words too (to be honest, the real challenge of the Friday post was often more English than Japanese! It is not easy to write about politics in English…) But now, I have reached a point where writing this post takes …