Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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Japanese diary 12
Japanese is a battle on four fronts - or perhaps a race run simultaneously on four parallel tracks, which promise at some future point to merge into one broad highway. I'm much further ahead on some of the tracks than others, though.

1) Grammar. This has been relatively painless and even pleasant, so far. It fits neatly into the existing architecture of my brain.

2) Vocabulary. This is harder: I'm out of practice with rote memorization, and learning the more natural way through usage requires a certain minimum standard of proficiency to begin with. Which brings us to...

3) Conversation. Here I've hardly started. After 7 years of learning German I was still unable to hold even the most halting conversation, and I feel the same self-consciousness overwhelming me whenever I mutter so much as a shy 'Arigatou' at my local restaurant. However, my actual lessons with a real life human being begin on October 1st, and they will be entirely in Japanese, I understand. That should help.

4) Reading. I've got hiragana and katakana safely stored now, and I'm doggedly working my way through the kanji, though it's definitely a two-steps-forward, one-step-back kind of process.

As I approach the 1000-kanji mark, I'm wondering what anime to go with next. I've had Clannad suggested to me, and in terms of genre it does look just my kind of thing (even if there's no sign of Moya Brennan), but has anybody here got an opinion?

I guess personal traits on that differ. I managed rudimentary conversations in Germany on the basis of only two years of German over a dozen years earlier.

On the other hand, my experiences at working up a language through practice conversations - I did that with Italian before my visit to Rome - just made me feel like I was walking a tightrope. My instructor's habit of stifling giggles at my grammatical errors, and then stopping to correct me before we went on, didn't help.

Giggling is seldom an effective form of pedagogy.

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit -- the title character is a spear-wielding bodyguard who is very good at what she does but fights believably as a woman. Also, it's a asiatic-based fantasy world, set in the culture loosely templated off Nara-era Japan (8th century), before the heaviest effects of Sinification.

I seem to have hit a wall in my kanji memorization this last week -- I've been reviewing the same 20-odd cards without having any of them stick ...

---L.

That looks great - the graphics especially. I shall give it a go.

It looks great and is great. (The English translation of original novel is, I think, still in print, btw.)

Oh, and meant to mention that my vocabulary acquisition did indeed get much quicker once I got far enough along to start picking through basic texts. My local used book store has a very good foreign language section, with an entire bookcase of Japanese/Chinese/Korean -- including manga. It's been iffy on novels for children (though I did find Ooki na mori no chisa na ei, so I could follow along with the original English Little House in the Big Woods), but still -- much good practice material there.

Have you met Rikaichan?

---L.

Edited at 2013-09-03 07:28 pm (UTC)

I hadn't met Rikaichan, nor did I have Firefox installed on this machine, but now I have both!

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