Plugging Away

11 05 2008

What’s up? Week back after vacation is always tough, and this week was no exception. But I used to today totally recharge the batteries and restore my usual positive outlook. So I’m feeling good now.

On the studying front, I’m up to 500 kanji in 2 weeks. I guess I didn’t think it would be so hard, but I was warned so I guess I should of been prepared. 1542 left. I have been totally negleting grammer, but I still have improved from seeing the kanji n sentences and things. But damn its like running uphill on in a fucking river. One day I was busy and I counted to any reps, and it totally fucked up my head. You can never stop. And I won’t.  I totally think the best part about being in Japan and learning Japanese is that if I EVER feel burnt out, I take my bike and go for a ride. Just looking around, enjoying the city or the countryside just makes me want to be able to read everything so much. I always come home determined to study and learn. Instant motivation by opening my door.

My birthday was last week and I got so much cool shit from students. I’m really lucky. I feel really appreciated. I realize they would give shit to whatever teacher they had, but I mean the presents were really tailored to things I liked and thought was definitly put into them. So it’s nice. Also got some food from my parents so I’ll definitly be gaining weight in the next few weeks enjoying ho-ho’s and beef jerky in excess.

Someone recently asked me what kind of girls do I like. I had to stop and think long and hard. Of course since girls were around I said look don’t matter, personality(jinkaku-人格) is most important. But we all know thats a lie…But afterwards I stopped and thought about it and I tried to break down what I think is important for your reading pleasure.

Personality

1. Independence + Dependence
Sounds strange, but hear me out. I want someone totally independant, but is also totally dependent on me, for that independence. So without me she wouldn’t be so independent.
2. Laid Back
Nothing is worse than a worryer. It stops me from being my chilled out self. This was almost number one. For real friends this is #1.
3. Not uptight
Being able to let loose and have fun is also very important. That doesn’t have to mean drinking everynight, but I mean being able to totally act stupid occasionally. I think that is good for the soul. I try to act stupid once a day, even if its alone.

Looks
1. Hair
Always been number one. Some care has to be shown here. I really don’t like short hair, but I can warm to shorter hair if it looks cool on that person. I guess the main thing is showing care. Ponytail everyday gets old quick..
2. Face
I like a pretty face, but would DEFINITLY rather take someone with a uniqueness to them than a model anyday. Cool mole, cool smile shape, even a SLIGHTY lazy eye can be sexy on a person if it makes them unique.
3. Boobs
Explanation needed? No. Am I in the worst country? Yes

I really am not that picky, but nothing makes a person sound more selective than a six part list. But there you go.

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Japanese of the Day…since I said I forgot….wasureru – to forget

忘れる - わすれる

I forgot her number.

Kanojo no bangoo o wasureta.

かのじょ の でんわ ばんごお を わすれた

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Music of the Day..even though they are gone, Mika Nakashima  can sing about anything and I will listen… ” sakura”

not crazy about the old lady hair… but the ballet suit is nice, plus bangs are generally always sexy… GOODNIGHT!

 

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Osaka and back in 2 nights – Semi Epic Post

7 05 2008

Well I’ll start this with a one paragraph synopsis. Upon arriving in Osaka at 6:30 am after taking an 8 hour bus ride that I probably got at most 2 hours of sleep, this just seemed a little different. I didn’t feel the open arms of a city taking me in. Things were a little dirtier, gritterer(<–word?), and different than anywhere else I’ve been in Japan. Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy(some of my students said that Osaka isn’t as nice a place as where I’m from) but I managed to have a GREAT TIME, but I wouldn’t want to live in the city. Maybe the lack of sleep contributed to these feelings as well.So bottom line. Great Time. Seems almost American. So of the top 10 biggest cities in Japan, I now have 3 down, 7 to go.

I met up with one of the people I trained to come to Japan with. It was really great to talk with a really person that has been through everything I have, from training to come to Japan, getting adjusted to a new country, working for a new company, and all the other stuff that goes into transplanting your life to a new city for the exact same amount of time as you have. We really had fun together experiencing Japan, even though I doubt either of us had enough fun to go back. But I know we are both glad we went.

EPIC PHOTO GALLERY

First up was Osaka Castle! Visually impressive, but the inside was sort of… blah.

Then since we were so tired we followed my advice and got a karaoke room for 3 hours for a nap. Upon entering and promising to sing ONE song, we ending up drinking 2 pitchers of beer and not sleeping a wink.

So we treaded on with still almost no sleep. We next went out to eat and shop before getting ready to party it up that night. To make a long story short, we ended up walking around Osaka, hoteless, burnt out and tired untill eventually crashing at another karaoke place untill 4 am. Upon waking up, the city was still alive! After some more chilling and walking around, we crashed again and an internet cafe for the night.

The next day was more shopping and exploring and checking out a zoo. So while it seems we didn’t do much, we had a great time and got to experience a lot of the true feeling of the city. It would of been nice to have more sleep, but hey you can’t have it all.

After my first ride on the plane of the earth, the shinkansen I was halfway across the country in less than 3 hours.

2 days later I was back at work.

Yeah this recap REALLY lost steam. But I’m sleepy. Sorry.

That was officailly the worst wrap up ever.

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Music of the Day..Bruce Dickinson – “Tears of the Dragon”  a song I clearly remember listening to on the way home, contemplating life. This song is about overcoming fears. What are you afraid of?


 





Vacation Blog

2 05 2008

Hey.. I guess I’ve taken this Golden Week as a chance to have a vacation from everything.. except learning Japanese, so don’t expect much here. My friend just came over and we took some shots while watching Titanic, so as per usual don’t expect any spell check during this post.

These days all I have been doing is studying kanji. That’s it. I’m up to 350 in 3 days. Yes that is very fast, but the goal seems so fucking far away. Kanji also helps speaking 0%, so it makes you think this is the right thing to be doing, but if I want to be a beast of Japanese this is a river I have to cross at sometime so might as well be now. 350 down, 1650 left. God damn it.

umm yeah girls wear hot clothes in japan these days..

random people think it’s cool to yeah out hello! to you… please think of a clever response.. my favorites I use are; konnichiwa! Wakarimasen(I don’t understand) and Nihon-jin desu!(I’m Japanese)

Thats it.

Random pictures I took time.

 

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Music of the Day…Mika Nakashima – “Find the Way” is there a face more beautiful on this earth?

 





Golden Week Chilling

29 04 2008

Today is one of those glorious days where I phsyically will not do anything. Not one step out of my apartment. Just recharging the body, mind, and everything else. I will clean up I guess but sometimes it’s nice just to not do one fucking thing and don’t feel antisocial. Lovin it.

As for the rest of the week, another teacher from my company called me and asked if I would like to go to Osaka with her, so that’s the plan. Well, provided I can get a way back. The bus there had space, but when I went to reserve the way back, there were no buses available. But I’m working on it. Should be a good time. Definitly a must hit city before getting thrown off the island.

Since the last episode where I have told you about that website, All Japanese all the Time, I have been studying like a madman. No grammer, just kanji. It’s tough. I’m actually not immediately improving my ability to communicate at all, just write. But to be a truly effective speaker knowing the kanji is essential. I often have heard people ask the kanji for things if someone uses a rare word or something. So… it’s a long road. But I want to get to that fucking end so I’m doing it.

A few days ago I went to the cool city of Yanagawa and rode in a boat through the canals that lace the city. It was a really cool time. Here a sample of the best pictures… more on flickr.

 

 

 

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Japanese of the Day.. I guess just some of the methods I am using will be ok here..

                        

To learn the Kanji, it seems like everyone agress James W. Heisig’s book is the best. It goes through all 2000 or so “general use” kanji. What it doesn’t have, is any example sentences or readings. It’s all about remembering the kanji and how to write them. It gives you a mnemonic device to aid in remember all the kanji. Every kanji is made up of different components, or is a component all itself, unlike what I used to think which was that people just drew what they thoought things looked like.(sometimes that’s sort of correct but 90% of the time it’s not)So this book is step 1 to eventually reading or writing REAL japanese. Not textbook hiragana and furigana stuff. USing in conjuction with an SRS or “spaced repitetion system”, which is supposeively the best way to remember ANYTHING. I guess I can’t give a review yet of these methods because I’ve only been using it for about 3 days but I will in the future.

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Japanese of the Day..Yui – Goodbye Days – from the movie タイヨウのうた or Taiyou no Uta or Sun Song. Solid Sad Japanese movie. They really churn those out and no one likes them more than me! haha. Chill out this week people!

 





New Motivation

25 04 2008

Maybe the last thing I need on earth is more motivation, but I found this really cool website about learning Japanese today. It’s called All Japanese All the Time. It gave me a quick punch to the balls about my study habits. While most people already say I’m crazy with my study habits, this guy is crazier. But, it makes me want to be crazier as well. To summarize his methods, it means immerse yourself to the millionth degree. No more English movies(I haven’t watched one since I”ve been here) no more English music(not sure I can do this one) no more English outside of work. while I won’t be able to follow this ALL the time. I definitly will try my best more than I have been before… CRAP I shouldn’t be writing this blog then…. but I will press on.

This sentence in particular punched me in the pussy…

2. Getting By
“You can get by in Japan without Japanese. Emphasis on the “get by”, as in “survive”, not “succeed” or “thrive”. You can make it. It’ll suck — you won’t know what most signs mean, you won’t be able to negotiate or search for cheaper housing, you won’t be able to search the Internet for the best deals on electronics, you won’t be able to have meaningful conversations with people. But you’ll muddle through. You can take trains, go shopping, point at pictures in restaurants, and learn basic survival phrases. And anything you really can’t do (like go to government offices), your bilingual Japanese girlfriend can help you with. ”

I know to some people there is nothing wrong with that, hell before I came I planned on getting by as well. But now I know I can’t leave happily untill I’m not just getting by. Typical for me to accomplish one dream only to unearth another…God damn it.

Speaking of annoying bitches..I have one friend who is sooo cool to go out with. Once a week we go eat, just talking having fun. But this other girl who is also fun has turned into drama city. Nothing sucks the spontaneous fun out of hanging out like drama. And before it is someone says that there is drama because you hooked up….yeah your probably right.

Japanese of the Day 

“私は中島美嘉 です。”yeah thats sucks I know..gomen ne.

let’s get straight to the music.

Only one thing seemed approproate today haha

Music of the Day… Survivor – ” Burning Heart” better than Eye of the Tiger definitly


 





Skating + Deep Thoughts

20 04 2008

I actually wrote that title without having any deep thoughts in mind, so let’s hope they emerge as I type.

Well today I went skating for the first time since I left America and damn did it feel good. Something about feeling the wind in your face and the scrape of the ice under you makes your blood flow a little easier. While it was nice to skate, it did make me miss hockey even more. Just seeing the goal crease made me want to play sooo bad. But, since apparently they do play hockey here in town, I got some information and will get my Japanese teacher to call and find information for me. Besides my friends and normal portioned food, playing hockey is definitly at the top of my list of things I miss. Playing that will be good for my soul, meeting people, and speaking Japanese. Hopefully it happens.

Last night I went to a yakitori restaurant with a lady friend. Expensive but it was good. I always tell her to choose anything she likes (mostly because I can’t read the kanji menus, but let’s continue) For those that don’t know yakitori is basically shish kabob. But anyways she ordered some and one was just a straight up whole fish on a stick. She then informed me (Tamago wa sakana no naka iru!) Eggs are inside! Sure enough, one bite out of the fishes stomach reveiled hundreds of eggs. They did taste good, but I couldn’t help be feel a little for this porr pregnant fish. I love my meat and beleive it is natural for humans to eat meat, but letting a fish get pregnant and THEN killing it for food is a little strange for me. But I did eat 2 or 3 of them so apparently I don’t care THAT much.

(picture from my phone, a first ever for this site!)

I guess it’s deep thought time… I guess the main thought that pops in my head is… I’m very thankful that I have a much more lively life now than I did for the first two months I was here. I’ve been here for months now(wow seems like so much more) and these last two months I have never had a weekend where I didn’t go out with some people. It’s amazing how my mind can never be satisfied. For example, this weekend I will be going out with three different girls in three nights. Two months ago I would of PAID for that. But now I go out, see all these insanely hot girls, and think why not me? My mind takes solice in the fact that hot girls usually don’t want to speak English, and at my current Japanese level I need the girls to have SOME English. But that’s just an excuse for me to make me feel better. It’s time for me to try to attempt to get what I want. No one can change your life except for you! Now it’s my turn. Thanks for the words of wisdom Winston Phillips.

Right is hot.

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Japanese of the Day…Looks like or seems like… you hear this often enough to need to know it.

Most common usage is for rain but it can be used for any adjective or verb. examples;

It looks like rain.
Ame ga furisou desu. ←-Use “masu form” without masu. ex. furimasusou desu.
雨が降りそうです。

That girl looks expensive.
Kono onna no ko ga takasou desu ne!
この 女の子 が 高そう です ね!

Guest Source: Jero

jero enka singer

A black dude that sings traditional Japanese ballads. He is good. And he has a hungry market. Young people like him because he’s cute and wears hip hop clothes. Older people love him because he is giving young people a reason to listento traditional Japanese songs.. Win win.

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Music of the Day… with clips from Miyazaki’s best movie, Spirited Away – Snow Patrol with ” CHasing Cars. Sort of a gay song, but it goes so well with this amazing movie. Keep it real people.

 





China Students

18 04 2008

Well today for the first time I went to a Japanese cram school to teach a lesson. But, the catch is it was for Chinese students. At first I wasn’t sure how that would be different and in the end, there wasn’t any difference. They all have been in Japan for around 2 years so their Japanese is really good and it seems they think speaking in Japanese is allowed while speaking in Chinese is not. The tough part was.. for some people this was their VERY first English lesson. I’m talking no ABC’s, no pronunciation, nothing. So needless to say that even the simple lesson of “My name is ____” was very taxing and took up the full hour and a half lesson. Plus really no cuties in the group. Bummer. Next week will be easier.

Yesterday one of my students went to the grocery store after class, and after I was finished I went there too. Earilier today we were talking about going ice skating so she spotted me and came over and pointed to her phone. So I just said whats your email? with no other dialogue. As I was doing this unbeknownst to me another foreigner dude was in the grocery store and was watching and said.. ” Are you serious?” and in true 40 Year old virgin fashion…. he said, ” teach me!” haha good timing can make anyone look good.

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Japanese of the Day… Using a picture of Ai Otsuka.. some kanji study 

The Kanji says… Daisuki(大好き) da yo! 大塚愛 (Otsuka Ai).  meaning… I Love! ***Ai Otsuka!***

***********************thanks for the correction from loyal reader Daniel****************

Music and Japanese of the Day… the band Deen with  – ” hitori ja nai” – literally not(ja nai) one person(hitori) – but translated means not alone! Got to love the guitar player that is WAAAY to into it. Rock out.. in a sort of churchy sounding rock way. But it’s uplifting at least.