I’m back, 22 and Strong

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お久しぶりです、皆さん。お待たせしました。ついに、戻ってきました。

It’s been a while Ladies and Gentlemen. I’m back. After a year of hiatus. And with me I brought, the trophy 🙂

This is the result of the JLPT N2 exam from December 2014.

Language Knowledge: 36/60 Reading: 42/60 Listening: 50/60 Total: 128 PASS

Language Knowledge: 36/60 Reading: 42/60 Listening: 50/60
Total: 128
PASS
I forgot where I put my official certificate, so I asked for the verification.

By getting 128 out of 180, I passed the N2 exam. I’m officially a trilingual now (Korean, English, Japanese)

Starting as a novice who couldn’t even say “Let’s go” in Japanese, I finally accomplished the milestone under my declared deadline of 2 years. Of course, N2 is very far from actually “mastering” the language. However, now I can watch and understand Japanese TV shows without subtitles, write and deliver speeches, and read best sellers without stress. This is the first official milestone I achieved and I’m very happy about it. But all this was possible due to many people around me and I would like to thank two awesome bloggers http://selftaughtjapanese.com/ and https://polyglotplotting.wordpress.com/ who kept me from feeling lonely during this journey of studying a third language.

So, I’m 22 now and it seems like I somewhat “mastered” the language. So is this blog over? Nope. Until I truly reach the mastery of the Japanese language, my journey will continue, and I hope to meet more of you along my journey. I’m willing to share the methods I used to learn Japanese and I’m open to all the questions related to learning Japanese.

Meanwhile, relax, and enjoying learning 😉

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Long time no post! Lessons learned meanwhile

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I can’t believe! I can’t believe my last post on this blog has been 3 months ago! The moment I returned to my blog after 3-month break, I realized I’d better post something because it is April Fools and I’m welcoming people with “Happy New Year” message. (0_0);;

These past 3 months, however, was very productive for me to improve my Japanese speaking and listening skills. How? Well this is what happened.

After things got little busy around the beginning of January, I felt uncomfortable adding another task on my to-do list. Plus I was confused as to what material to focus on. I was getting stressed out about not being able to follow up with my blog posts.

But then a thought came into my mind.

Although I wasn’t posting on the blog, I still was pushing myself to listen, read, write and speak in Japanese everyday. I was already using a bit of my will power to push myself over my limit. Finally, I decided on my priorities.

My goal is to learn Japanese, not to create the best Japanese learning blog on WordPress.

Upon the realization, I let everything go and let my mind guide me. I successfully got out the pressure of writing a post everyday which cost me mental energy for making me feel guilty about my blog everyday. Quickly, I was able to turn more attention to studying and using Japanese, the thing that actually matters more to my goal.

Then after about three months, while riding Tokyo’s subway with my friend, my thought naturally reached to the blog. When I showed it to her, she made fun of my post saying “Happy new year.” This time, however, I didn’t feel ashamed or guilty. Her joke, I considered it a little nudge telling me to get back. I felt motivated and excited to write about so many things happened since January until now.

Of course, to do something that we haven’t done before, we need pressure. We need to force ourselves to make something into a habit. However, sometimes, we may need to take a step back, think for a moment whether we are spending our time and mental energy on something worthwhile, and adjust our paths appropriately.

Is this the only productive result I got? Of course not! With my friends in Japan, I was having 90% conversations in Japanese. My listening comprehension and speaking skills improved so much that I was surprised at myself from time to time. I felt like I was living my dream already, and I was extremely happy to realize that I can only get better.

Are you having a stressful time learning Japanese? Perhaps it is time for you to let everything go and relax a little bit. Relax. Focus on the fun of using language instead of the agony of memorizing Kanji and grammar everyday! After all, you can only get better!

頑張ってください!

p.s. The picture is from Waseda University this Monday. Waseda daigaku students were promoting their club activities and inviting first-year students. Mixed in with the crowd and my Waseda friend, I took the picture during their 掲揚 (kouki keiyou, school flag-raising) ceremony. Anyone visited Waseda daigaku like me? 🙂

Lesson 3 – HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!

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Happy New Year everyone! I hope you guys had wonderful New Year parties with families and friends 🙂

As the new year begins, I decided to make a major adjustment to the course of my studying. Although my studying material which I’m currently using is super effective for me, I realize that I shouldn’t infringe the publisher’s copyright. So I decided to instead use different lists of kanji and vocabularies out there on the Internet for free for this blog. The materials may overlap with some of the past materials but I’m sure it won’t be that big of a problem.I also decided to focus on less number of kanji each session in order to pay more attention to each letter.

I will still make use of my book and will be applying those knowledge in other forms such as writing short sentences or stories. Hopefully it will improve my writing both in English and Japanese.

Today’s Kanji

1.上 – up, above

2.下 – down, under

3.中 – middle

4.外 – outside

Sentences including above Kanji

(for the brevity, I will only provide the reading of Kanji in each particular case)

頭がいたかったから仕事をする途中屋上上りました

Because my head hurt (because I had a headache), in the middle of work I went up to the rooftop.

  • 上る - のぼる - to go up
  • 途中 - とちゅう - in the middle of~ (に)
  • 屋上  おくじょう - rooftop

寒かったから上着を着ました。

Because it was cold, I put on a jacket.

  • 上着 - うわぎ -jacket

屋上上がりながら窓のに見える川を見ました。

As I walked up to the rooftop, I looked at the river outside the window.

  • 上がる -あがる-to go up
  • 外 - そと -outside

川上流れる水がきれいでした。

The water flowing upstream was beautiful.

  • 川上 - かわかみ - upstream

屋上新鮮な空気を吸うと頭がすっきりした.

At the rooftop, I breathed in fresh air and my headache went away.

[ I find this sentence particularly difficult to translate since the exact expression doesn’t quite exist in English I think… If you have any opinion please let me know in the comment section 🙂  ]

Other Vocabularies

  • 新鮮な - しんせんな ー fresh
  • 流れる - ながれる - to flow

Best Christmas Song ” いつかのメリークリスマス” by B’z

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Merry Christmas to you all!

I hope you all got wonderful gifts! As for me, I had a friend who’s birthday is Christmas Eve so I had a great time at his party.

Since it is Christmas, I decided to share my favorite Christmas song of all time by my favorite musician, B’z.

I hope this music gives you a break from “All I want for Christmas is you” and “Last Christmas” you hear everywhere you go 🙂

Click the play button! Both Japanese and English lyrics are down below!

ゆっくりと12月のあかりが灯りはじめ
慌ただしく踊る街を誰もが好きになる

僕は走り 閉店まぎわ 君の欲しがった椅子を買った
荷物抱え 電車のなか ひとりで幸せだった

いつまでも 手をつないでいられるような気がしていた
何もかもがきらめいて がむしゃらに夢を追いかけた
喜びも悲しみも全部 分かちあう日がくること
想って微笑みあっている 色褪せたいつかのメリークリスマス

歌いながら線路沿いを 家へと少し急いだ
ドアを開けた君はいそがしく 夕食を作っていた

誇らしげにプレゼントみせると 君は心から喜んで
その顔を見た僕もまた素直に君を抱きしめた

いつまでも 手をつないでいられるような気がしていた
何もかもがきらめいて がむしゃらに夢を追いかけた
君がいなくなることを はじめて怖いと思った
人を愛するということに 気がついたいつかのメリークリスマス

部屋を染めるろうそくの灯を見ながら 離れることはないと
言った後で急に 僕は何故だかわからず泣いた

いつまでも 手をつないでいられるような気がしていた
何もかもがきらめいて がむしゃらに夢を追いかけた
君がいなくなることを はじめて怖いと思った
人を愛するということに 気がついたいつかのメリークリスマス

立ち止まってる僕のそばを 誰かが足早に
通り過ぎる 荷物を抱え 幸せそうな顔で

bzsanta

What a funny picture 😛

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Youtube link for the live verison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc5yx0qgEog)

English Translation

The lamps of December have slowly started to make their lights known
Everyone without exception begins taking a liking to the busily dancing city

I rushed to the store to beat closing time and bought the stool that you longed for
When I hugged it on the subway home, I felt happiness wash over me

I felt we were always going to be together, my hands forever holding yours
Everything continued to sparkle brightly, as we continued to run after our dreams
A day will come when we share all of both our happiness and sadness
The thought made me smile
On that colorful, fading Merry Christmas once upon a time

I sang as I followed the tracks on my way back
Closer to home, I started to walk a little faster
Upon opening the door, I saw you busy preparing our dinner

When I proudly showed you your present, you were pleased from the bottom of your heart
Seeing your happy face once again, I couldn’t resist wrapping my arms around you

I felt we were always going to be together, my hands forever holding yours
Everything continued to sparkle brightly, as we continued to run after our dreams
That day was the first time I ever started to fear losing you
Only then did I truly realize what it meant to love someone
On that Merry Christmas once upon a time

Watching the candles light up our room, I said, “Let’s never, ever be parted”
Before long, I found myself in tears, without even knowing why

I felt we were always going to be together, my hands forever holding yours
Everything continued to sparkle brightly, as we continued to run after our dreams
That day was the first time I ever started to fear losing you
Only then did I truly realize what it meant to love someone
On that Merry Christmas once upon a time

Outside and alone on the street now, all around people move by me quickly
All of them hugging their presents with such happy faces…

Source:

http://bzwiki.offthelock.com/Itsuka_no_Merry_Christmas_(Lyrics)

Lesson 2 – Merry Christmas!

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It’s been a while since my last post, so I decided to take some time during Christmas to write this post 🙂 One step closer to my goal!

Today’s Kanji

New Vocabularies Learned

  1. 休日 – きゅうじつ  holiday
  2. お正月-おしょうがつ New Year’s Holiday
  3. 火事-かじ fire
  4. 花火-はなび fireworks
  5. 消火器-しょうがき fire extinguisher
  6. 火災-かさい fire disaster
  7. 水泳-すいえい swimming
  8. 水道-すいどうwater supply
  9. 香水-こうすい perfume
  10. 木綿-もめん cotton
  11. 材木-ざいもく lumber
  12. 木陰-こかげ shade of a tree
  13. 料金-りょうきん charge / fee
  14. 奨学金-しょうがくきん scholarship
  15. 現金-げんきん cash
  16. 税金-ぜいきん tax
  17. 金づち - かなづち hammer
  18. 粘土-ねんど clay
  19. 土地-とち land
  20. 土台-どだい foundation
  21. 土足厳禁-どそくげんきん Shoes Off
  22. 大人-おとな adult
  23. 時代-じだい age / era
  24. 半額-はんがくhalf price
  25. 半年-はんとし half a year
  26. 前半-ぜんはん the first half
  27. 半分-はんぶん half

Comment

休日 – きゅうじつ  holiday
お正月-おしょうがつ New Year’s Holiday
火事-かじ fire
4.花火 – I found this word interesting because of the order of Kanji. In Korea, we say 불꽃 for fireworks, and the order of those two letters are  火 花 (fire, flower) In Japan, however, such order would mean spark or flame.

21. 土足現金-どそくげんきん Shoes Off

土足 (dirt, foot) means dirty shoes. The sign is saying “Take off the shoes with dirt on” which is shortly, “Shoes OFF”

Image sources:

http://www.hdwallpapersinn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Happy-Merry-Christmas.jpg

http://assist-home.dreamlog.jp/archives/cat_50042880.html?p=2

Random Topic 1 – 雨男 and more

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Just came to see my sister doing emcee at KPGA Awards 2013. The event summarizes wonderful golf moments happened in Korea’s professional golf league and awards golfers with shining trophies! And of course, my beautiful sister is the main emcee of the event 🙂 But wait this is a Japanese language blog right? Don’t worry, I prepared an interesting Japanese term for you.

Today’s word

雨男

あめおとこameotoko  【 雨男 】
  1. (n) man whose presence seems to cause rain→Related words: 雨女
ex)
あの人と出かけるときは必ず雨が降るので、雨男と呼ばれてる。
Every time you go out with him, it seems to rain. So we call him the rain man.
From: http://www.romajidesu.com/dictionary/meaning-of-%E9%9B%A8%E7%94%B7.html

So if you read the definition, this isn’t specifically related to golf. It simply refers to the person who always seems to bring rainy weather with him! This term may be quite odd in regions where it doesn’t rain often. But in countries like Japan where it rains frequently, the term could definitely be used to tease someone!

In fact, there is a Doraemon episode about it!

AME1

In one of its episodes, Nobita, the main character of the Doraemon series, finds his father sitting down depressed, in front of his golf bag. It turns out that he is depressed because every single time he goes out to golf with his co-workers, it rains! His superior called him 雨男 and even his co-workers are becoming reluctant to play with him. Poor oyaji….

AME4

  So in order to help him out, Doraemon takes out something called “Ame-okoto meter”   (Somebody help me with the actual name of the machine Doraemon says, I can’t really read it. 僕はそれ読めません)

AME3

It turns out that from scale -10 to +10, Nobita’s dad is measured -8.5! No wonder it rained every time he went out to golf! Fortunately however, they found that Shizuka (the girl Nobita likes) and Takeshi (the bully) has enough positive “Sun-power” to negate 雨男’s “rain-power.”

AME2

So when the father goes out to the field, Doraemon brings his friends to the same golf field in order to prevent rain. Finally with Nobita and his friends effort, his dad enjoys golf without any pressure!

When I thought about what the world would be like with this machine, I suddenly had a scene in my mind, in which people separating into two groups: the sunny group and the rainy group. My imagination took off. People from the sunny group would avoid people from the rainy group who brings bad weather. Teenagers would stop hanging out with their “rainy” friends, and outdoor sporting events would check everyone to make sure they are not 雨男。These small microscopic effects will eventually be social and a segregation would take place. The rainy group people would be cornered into a “Forever-raining” region and spend their lives in always humid environment. Then eventually, people would realize, that they can’t live without rain because they suffer from drought and plants are dying! The rainy group would mix with the sunny group to balance out the weather, and people will again learn what it means to live harmoniously.

Wow, I’m quite surprised where my mind takes me sometimes. I am definitely a heavy right-brain user.

That’s it for today, and I hope you all enjoy your day without a rainy weather!!!

– Leonard

images from: http://plaza.rakuten.co.jp/neoreeves/diary/201106240000/

Lesson 1 – Fresh Exciting Start!!!

Star!
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Today’s Kanji

Since most of these Kanji are pretty basic and its meaning are simple, I won’t explain each of them. I’m lucky that I learned this Kanji when I was in elementary school in Korea.

New Vocabularies Learned

  1.  三日月 - みかづき    Crescent moon
  2. 七夕 - たなばた Star Festival in Japan (July 7th)
  3. 八百屋 - やおや     vegetable shop
  4. 腕立て伏せ - うでたてふせ     Push-up
  5. 十分 - じゅうぶん     enough
  6. 百科事典 - ひゃっかじてん     encyclopedia
  7. 百貨店 - ひゃっかてん     department store
  8. 千葉県 - ちばけん    Chiba prefecture
  9. 万引き - まんびき     shoplifting
  10. 万年筆 - まんねんひつ     fountain pen
  11. 円い - まるい    round
  12. 楕円 - だえん      oval
  13. 円満 - えんまん    harmonious
  14. 目次 - もくじ    table of contents
  15. 科目 - かもく     school subject
  16. 目的 - もくてき      purpose/ object
  17. 面目ない - めんぼくない/めんもくない     ashamed

Comments

2. 七夕 –    Every year on July 7th, they have Star Festival in Japan. The word “tanabata” means “Evening of the seventh” (Kanji “seven” + “evening”). On the celebration day, people write their wishes on paper strips and hang them on trees, wishing for their dreams come true. Streets and towns get filled with colorful paper strips this time around.The celebration relates to a legend of two separated lovers, who are only allowed to meet once a year on July 7th.  

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 People hanging their wishes!

You can read more about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanabata

9. 万引き - I find this word interesting and easy to remember simply because of its sound “manbiki.” When you count sheep in Japan, you use something that ends ~hiki, with variations such as ~piki or ~biki depends on the number. So that means when you count 10,000 sheep, it should be “manhiki” (万匹、まんひき) Kinda similar heh?

17. 面目ない - This word has two readings, “menMOKUnai” and “menBOKUnai.” Let me try to make an educated guess of why this expression came to have the meaning “ashamed.” The kanji part “面” means face and “目” means eye. I”m sure you’ve seen people covering their faces and eyes when embarrassed or ashamed. That is the image I think of. Now I just did a little bit of research in Korean web, didn’t get a satisfactory result, but I’ve seen some posts explaining how this word came from Buddhism. The part “面目” represents self and to say ”ない,” which means “doesn’t exist,” could be understood as one’s loss of true inner self. Complicated! You may say, but at least now you’ll never forget the word! 🙂

That’s it for today, and let’s all stay motivated for more Japanese vocabs!

それでは、みんな日本語勉強頑張りましょう!

– Leonard