Archive for the ‘Genki’ Category

So, things are still getting into their groove. It’s a little crazy. H1N1 is sweeping through the University and also my son’s first grade class. We’re all a “little” sick, but thankfully nothing major. I hope to keep it that way. I’m already feeling behind. I created a list of all the kanji from Genki II (complete with index) and so I hope it will be helpful. Right now I’m trying to get these fifteen Korean phrases to stay in my head!! It’s not going so well. I need to be able to write, read, and speak them by 3.30pm this afternoon. Eerrrk. Most of them I can almost get, but there’s one (오늘은 이만 하겠어요) that I just can’t seem to remember for the life of me. I have three hours from the end of my lit class to really cram though–and I’m sure that’s more than enough time. I have my computer so I can listen to the phrases and I have my list of them written out. One big problem is that I need also to finish my homework (just the listening parts I think) so I can hand it in at the start of class. The class is moving forwards pretty rapidly–it’s very exciting.

I decided that I really do want Korean to be my second language with Japanese my third. I was accepted into OSU so know that I have a place whenever we move. I’m currently accepted into the Japanese program and if we move there soon, I would totally add on a Korean minor. That way when I get to MA level, I can just switch the two around and major in Korean with a Japanese minor. It’s kind of crazy. I don’t know why I’ve switched like this… probably because we have Korean family and we’d ultimately all like to speak it at home every day and be bilingual. I hope we can… it would be very awesome.

I really need to study harder and better. I need to go over my Japanese (again) and get the kanji and phrases down for the first couple of chapters of the new book–as well as working on the self-introduction that I’m SURE we’ll be required to do. I also need to do at least a couple of hours of Korean every day (which is difficult trying to fit it in) and I have exams in linguistics and literature this week. CRAZY!!!

Anyway… I must update this blog better. I guess I’ll be posting about both Japanese and Korean here!! YAY! Exciting!


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I found a new website, wacca.fm. It’s awesome. It has many cool Japanese bands who offer music to download. Some of it is Creative Commons licensed, which means you can use it in videos on YouTube, for example, without getting copyright violation. As the site itself says:

I have started downloading their podcast directly to iTunes and it’s SuperAwesome. =D Lots of shiny new music every week!! It’s great (and legal). I find that J-music is hard to find anywhere really. So this site fills me with random joy!!

I have been going over the new Intermediate Japanese textbook and it’s a little confusing in the layout (but most of it is in Japanese and the grammar points are limited to a sentence or two of explanation (unlike the page or half a page in Genki) and a couple of example sentences. I think I like it better–since it really taxes my brain. I also discovered that renshuu.org have the book–so I can study the lessons over there. That makes everything so much easier. A place with kanji and grammar quizzes that I can utilize without having to create those lists myself. Of course, one of the ways I study (especially kanji) is written repetition… so I’ll still be writing plenty!!!


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I got my new books for class today. I’m taking a couple exciting classes–300 level Japanese of course, Korean, and Language and Culture (which is a linguistics class). I’m super excited!!! I can’t wait actually. I’ve been building my Kanji list over at Smart.fm and it’s starting to look good. I’m sure it’s going to help out a great deal.

So, my new Japanese book is called “An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese” and seems to be a continuation of the Genki series. It comes with 2CD’s and a workbook (for separate purchase).

On first look it seems a little… strange. Some kanji we’ve learned aren’t included, and some we have not are. It’s rather strange. However, I plan to start going through and putting furigana (small hiragan) above each kanji I’m not familiar with, so that I have a good head start. It’s a pretty daunting book though. So much more is written in Japanese and the explanations are fairly limited. However, I am still excited!!


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So, I tried making my own list on Smart.Fm tonight. I needed all the kanji from Genki II in a list… and since I couldn’t find one, I decided to make one. It’s SO EASY! Many of the kanji already have sound fles loaded, so creating a list is extremely easy. Also, since there are already a LOT of lists I’m sure pretty much anything you can need is there.

I am definitely a fan!

Tomorrow I am meeting Rebekka and we’re going to get our Japanese books. This will give me some idea of what is in store for the next semester, as well as giving me a chance to study preemptively. I’m actually starting to get excited. I was at a point where I was just tired of Japanese… the constant studying and everything. Now I’m all invigorated again. It’s going to be fun!


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Okay guys, here’s the review I promised yesterday. I bought “A Guide to Reading and Writing Japanese” as a requirement for my Japanese class at University. It’s a fairly small book but worth it’s weight in gold.

The product description tells us that “This book covers all of the 1,945 characters in the General Use set of Japanese characters, with particularly detailed coverage of the 1,009 Essential characters that Japanese children must learn in the first six years of grade school. And since Japanese publications must, by law, provide supplementary phonetic readings for any character not included in the General Use set, this invaluable reference contains everything you need to know to start reading Japanese.”  I would definitely agree with this. It’s a very good book containing important Kanji–both ‘essential’ and ‘general use’ with stroke order, examples of usage, and number of strokes (useful–since an index also lists the kanji by number of strokes, so if you don’t know one, a quick count and you’re on your way!)

I especially love this book since it’s a lot smaller than the two “A guide to Writing Kanji and Kana” books that I have which follow the same premise but provide space for writing practice. This book, however, slips in any bag I’m carrying and is great to use anywhere.

All this being said, I better go and study some more. I feel as though time is slipping by and I’ll never be ready for the JLPT on time!


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Today I’d like to talk a little bit about how I got here. I’ve been learning Japanese since I started University in 2004–however, due to illness I’ve had to take a fair bit of time off–so I’ve only actually taken 2 years worth of classes. Both Universities I’ve been at use the “Genki” series of text books. We’ve completed both Genki I and Genki II. They’re good books and I’d definitely recommend them to anyone trying to learn the language… but they do lack in certain areas.


However, I think that’s probably true of any textbook. They just can’t adequately bring the nuances of the language to life. The more I listen to the language the more I’m able to hear IN the language. My three main must-do’s for learning Japanese are:

1. Dedication. You have to be willing to do something every single day. Listening to Japanese songs in the car, flipping through flashcards on your lunch break, watching a Japanese movie in the evening. It’s important to be dedicated to improving your langauge skills however discouraged you may feel (and you WILL get discouraged!)

2.  Immersion. It’s important to listen to as much of the language as you can. Most kids I know in my college classes listen to and watch anime. I have to say as a 35 year old, there’s only so much of that I can deal with. I can watch Miyazaki movies and some other more adult shows and movies (like Ghost in the Shell and Death Note). I tend to watch a lot of live action shows. For example I’m currently watching “Gokusen“.

3. Patience.  Be patient with yourself and your abilities. The more you practice, the easier it will become… however, we all reach bumps in the road and some days (even if you’re extremely dedicated) it’s okay to take some time away. Take a break, do something else… come back to it another time.

It’s definitely a challenge–being older and having a family–but I’m determined not to give in.

A couple of very useful sites are:

http://lang-8.com/ – Ths is a great language tool. You can post in your target language and have native speakers correct your entries. One of the main problems I encounter is multiple and different corrections for the same phrase, so it’s hard to know what’s right. It does help tremendously with particle usage (に、は、を、が) and conjugation of verbs.

http://www.mysoju.com/ – A great site with both movies and dramas from Japan (as well as other countries such as Korea and China). The videos are all subbed and most are live action. I’ve watched a great many of their dramas and movies. It’s a little annoying because they’re split into many pieces and some are on youtube and some dailymotion etc, but overall it’s definitely worth it. (The fact that it’s split up actually is a benefit for me. I can watch 10 or 15 minutes at a time or more if I’m able to…)

Well, that’s it for today folks. I’ll start a “kanji of the day” and more tomorrow!


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