Category Archives: Japanese

[AJA] Week 7/13/14 – 7/19/14

After a long absence, AJA (Akemi’s Japanese Adventure) is back!!! I’ve leveled up! Now I’m Level 17~ Check out my new stats~~~ Last post I talked about wanting to write about lots of different things, whenever I want to write about it, so that’s what I’m going to do. ^^

This week I added a whole bunch of sentences to my J-E sentence deck, and discovered that I only have about 87 sentences left to add from Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide, which means that I’ll need to find another source to get the rest of my 1000 sentences from… Right now I’m thinking I’ll use JapanesePod101’s from the lessons and the relevant grammar points in their Grammar Bank, and perhaps Imabi.

I leveled up on WaniKani earlier in the week, so I am now on Level 24! I’m going a little slower than I want to be, but at least I went faster on Level 23 than I did the three levels before it (110 days for Level 21–wow, what happened? o_o). I renewed my subscription for another year yesterday, so…let’s see how many more levels I can go through before I have to pay again! I think I’ll start by setting modest goals and work my way back to more ambitious ones, so for now I’ll try to reach a new level in 21 days!

I’m watching a lot of Japanese videos (lots of new resources have been added to my resource page, by the way–mainly YouTube channels!) to the extent that I often don’t feel like watching English videos. o_o So my input is going fairly strong.

I’m not doing much in the way of output though… I still find I don’t know what I want to say on Lang-8… I want to register LINE (I’ve had the app for a while) but I’m not sure if it wants your whole phone number in the sense that you’d add your country code/long-distance code and everything, or if it just wants your basic phone number and the area code. -____- And I haven’t tried because I’m afraid to mess anything up. Does anyone know which LINE is asking for?

January 2014 Tadoku Wrap-Up

Tadoku results Jan 2014

Hey, everyone! Guess what? Last month was another full round of Tadoku, which means another post reflecting on how it all went!

Actually, I’m not that excited about it. Maybe that’s because it’s already eleven days into February and I’m just now writing this, and maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I really pushed myself this round, but either way, an explanation is in order!

Since I wasn’t able to meet my goal in October (145 pages), I kept it the same for this round, thinking I probably could get to it at the very least. I’d been reading more Japanese on a daily basis in general, and felt that even if I only kept that up, I would probably break even at 145 pages. But I surprised myself a bit–I read a total of 167 pages! That’s 22 pages over my goal! Hm…I wonder if I should bump it up to 200 next time?

According to the breakdown, I once again read mostly web pages (i.e. blog posts, various web articles, Twitter, etc.) and did a good bit of singing since I read several lyrics. The three book pages were from a Japanese magazine called Top Yell. I tried very hard this round to record my progress every day, but as you can see, that started failing quite badly from around the middle of the month and especially the last half. I encountered a period of busyness and forgot to update Tadoku pretty much every other day. ^^;

While I did read 22 pages more than my goal, as I said, I don’t feel like I pushed myself. It seems like I just kept reading about what I typically read. But I guess suddenly getting quite busy didn’t leave me a whole lot of room to reach further, huh? I want to try a little harder next time!

Happy November!!

Happy birthday to my mom – October 30.
Happy Halloween – October 31.
Happy November, All Saints Day, and the start of NaNoWriMo – today!

I feel like I’m saying something like this every post lately, but wow! It’s already November! Where has this year gone??

At midnight, the last day of Tadoku ended and NaNoWriMo began. I should actually be writing for that instead of writing this. :3c But I wanted to say hi and give a Tadoku report!

This round I upped my page goal to 145 based on my end page count from the previous full round in June (about 130 pages). But this round I finished at 134.5 pages…more than in June but still less than my goal for October.

Tadoku October 2013 Results

As you can see, it’s pretty jumpy. ^^; The days that say “0” are actually days that I forgot to update on Tadoku, so I actually did read every day. The huge jumps are due to my adding the previous day’s pages in…except for the 31st, which was just me trying to get as much reading in as I could to make up for the days where I barely read anything in Japanese for whatever reason.

Random side note, but Tadoku still displays my previous avatar and I don’t know why…

Final thoughts? I’m actually not too disappointed. I think this actually reflects how much Japanese I read daily already. I always read something, even if it’s just some Tweets. Actually, the biggest problem I had this round was not making myself read or finding things to read…but remembering whether or not that thing I read earlier was in Japanese or English! I just read now, without thinking, “Oh, I need to count this for Tadoku” or even “Oh, I need to study with this”. It’s more because I actually want to know what it says.

Also, because I can read more Japanese now than I could even in June, a lot of times I’ll start reading something without realizing I’m reading it until I either finish it or come to something I don’t know.

I’m amazed at that. o.o

Alright! I’m off to Writing Land!

Tadoku Finish!

Happy July, everyone! ^o^/ Somehow June just flew by. o_o That means Tadoku is over, and I have lots of other things to do!

This round, I felt more like I was reading to read rather than reading just to be able to record it, which is different from how I felt in the half-round I tried before. Once I began following the “Golden Rules of Tadoku” I started to enjoy the reading; I stopped feeling like I needed to look up every single thing I didn’t understand.

What are the “Golden Rules of Tadoku”?

  1. Start from scratch.
    Read easy books you can enjoy without translating. That way, you will understand better and so you will read more.
  2. Don’t use your dictionary
    Don’t use your dictionary when you come across words you don’t know. Guess the meaning from the pictures and/or the story.
  3. Skip over difficult words, phrases and passages.
    If guessing doesn’t work, skip over that word, phrase or passage and go on reading. You can often enjoy the book without understanding every small detail.
  4. When the going gets tough, quit the book and pick up another.
    The going gets tough when the book is not suitable for your level or your interest. Simply throw the book away and start reading something else.

(Source: Nihongo-Yomu)

I actually didn’t find these four rules until halfway through, and I only found the last three at first; the fourth one I found after further clicking from page to related page.

Believe it or not, it makes such a huge difference not having a dictionary. Somehow it keeps you focused so you unconsciously search the surrounding text to try to grasp the meaning even when you don’t know the word. And I will admit that sometimes I broke the no-dictionary rule, but just when a certain word or kanji appeared many times in a paragraph and I didn’t know what it was and couldn’t guess from clues at all. In one such case, I looked up the word only to realize I already knew it! I just didn’t know the kanji it used! So that helped a lot and I was able to understand that paragraph.

So, how did I do this round of Tadoku?

Well, I set a goal of 175 pages and…I didn’t make it. However, I came pretty close considering how well (that is, how bad) I did on my first try. I finished up with a round reading average of 4.2 and a total of 130 pages, which is actually more than my mini-goal of 125 pages that I had set for myself after realizing I wouldn’t be able to hit 175. So in that sense it’s a small victory. Haha. ^o^

All in all, I enjoyed this round and coming to realization that I can actually make some sense of what to me was, at one point, just meaningless, pretty writing. 🙂 I still have a long way to go, but I’ve come a long way too. これからも、頑張ります!

Tadoku Update 2

We’re nearing the end of this round of Tadoku, which is going…fairly well, considering my average seems to be around 3-4 pages a day. I’m not sure I’ll reach my goal of 175 pages unless I spend a few days doing nothing but reading, but I’ll do my best to get as close to that goal as I can! Right now 100 pages is sort of a mini-goal, and I’m nearly at 90 pages right now, so I’m close.

Oh! I kept meaning to mention it but I totally didn’t, so I’ll say it here: I bought a used issue of Top Yell (Japanese magazine) from Airiindeshou (thank you again!!!) and I’ve been making my way through that… It’s so different reading vertical text as opposed to horizontal text–wow. I have to follow it with my finger, but I’m sure with continued reading I’ll get used to it. I think I’m reading a little faster thanks to it too, somehow. o.o

As far as other Japanese-learning-related updates, I downloaded some new podcasts and have been listening to those, as well as some playlists containing plenty of spoken Japanese on Youtube channels like Morning Musume’s member intro playlist, Juice=Juice’s digest collection, and Up Up Girls’ event playlist. In these particular playlists, because the groups are musical ones, the speaking is broken up by music, but it’s not so much that the whole video is just music. It was nice to have these going while I was working on my contest entry! I really feel like I consumed a lot of Japanese in that time. @.@

I’ve also been practicing shadowing, though I think I should do it more often, just as I should try to read in Japanese more. It seems like I can speak better when I’m modeling how to say something in Japanese to my mom or someone else, but when I just speak naturally it comes out…wonky. ;A; I WILL TRY HARDER. (ง •̀_•́)ง


JapanesePod101 Got a Major Update!

I’ve noticed how they’ve been making more efforts to improve the look and functionality of their website, and I gotta say, this update is fantastic. The previous one, where they streamlined things and added the Dashboard, was a good starting point since it made the site a lot more organized and easier to navigate. But now…now it’s even better!

The new design is clean, bright, and even more streamlined than before. You can easily access all the types of lessons from one spot: the sidebar. When you select one of the categories, you can choose to add certain courses to your dashboard, follow a course through RSS, or explore the curriculum of the course. You can expand sections to see more info, or collapse them to see less.

The downside to all of this new stuff is that there is a bit of slowness when switching between categories and while arriving at the actual lessons because of the time it takes to load the lists and the audio player, respectively. But the audio player is one of the best parts of this new update, so I don’t mind that much. You can now skip ahead without having to wait for buffering, and manipulate the audio in other ways such as speeding up and slowing down. The skipping ahead part is what really makes me happy, because I don’t want to sit through explanations of words or phrases I already know well–something I used to do, which made tuning into the podcast a little less exciting. But today I did three lessons and was quite excited to do them!

In lessons, activities are now divided into three “steps” consisting of an introduction, lesson materials, and a review. As a premium member, I have it set to the lesson materials tab (Step 2) and immediately have the line-by-line audio right there underneath the audio player, defaulted to kanji so I don’t have to try to ignore romaji! (You can choose to view in kanji, hiragana, romaji, or English, but kanji is default.) I don’t necessarily have to download the PDF this way either.

This update is just SUPER nice because it’s so easy to find where everything is now!

I definitely think I will be returning to more often thanks to this! I need to do a proper review of it for sure.

Tadoku and Podcasts!

It looks like it’s going to rain, but it isn’t… o.o?

I’m doing pretty well for Tadoku so far, at least in that I’m reading every day and reading more than just a couple of Tweets per day. The past few days I’ve only recorded an average of three pages per day, since I’m not counting every Tweet or headline that I read (that would be too troublesome XD).

I have noticed that I’m less and less intimated by the Japanese I encounter daily, which makes me happy because what used to happen was I’d see a page of text, get tired instantly, and choose to not read it or to “read it later”–meaning “not read it”–and then wonder why I had trouble reading. ^^;

Along with that, I have been wanting to listen to more spoken Japanese and have been finding various videos on Youtube (I recently looked at Dailymotion too, since a friend mentioned it to me) that feature Hello!Project girls and have, well, a lot of spoken Japanese. I like to find longer videos and either watch them with full attention or have them playing while I’m working on prints. Longer videos are nice because you don’t have to stop working to change or look for a new video.

I’m subscribed to the SS1422 (S/mileage Station) podcast, but I did that directly through the program’s website when it was first announced and I can’t find any other H!P podcast… Oh, I am also subscribed to 佐藤亜美菜 (Sato Amina)’s podcast “この世に小文字はいりません!” because I found it in an earlier podcast search, even though I’m not a fan of AKB48. It’s fun to try to shadow what she says because she talks really fast and has a tongue-twister corner, which is…how do you even do those, Amina!? XD

Hm~ So yeah, I’m actually not worrying too much about my rank in the Tadoku contest because my goal of 175 pages is the first priority! I’m already in at 35-ish pages in the first week, which is already better than my first attempt during the last half-round of Tadoku, so I think I’m doing pretty good so far! Especially considering this month is one in which I have quite a bit to do ><

Oh! So if anyone has some podcast recommendations, let me know~