Saturday, February 26, 2011

Learning Japanese: part two.

{It reads: Vivian I like you... from my lovely café in Marugame. Thanks, Shin!}

One of the perks of living in rural Japan is the amount of Japanese I learned in such a short time- fewer people can speak English there, and most signs are in Japanese only. Without really trying hard, anyone living in the countryside will ultimately build up a decent vocabulary. I surprisingly learned quite a bit while living in Kagawa, and I usually can understand/speak better than most foreigners who have only lived in a big city for over 2 or 3 years.

In Osaka, it can be challenging to maintain my level of knowledge, since most people can speak English, and even if I use my broken Japanese while ordering at cafés or with sales assistants, they immediately switch to English to make me comfortable. While I appreciate the gesture, I'm disappointed I don't get to practice and struggle anymore, and that's why studying harder is one of my goals while living in Osaka.

My favourite part of studying Japanese is Kanji- memorizing and deconstructing them, as they make so much sense but can be so frustrating. I've also been focusing on grammar lately, as it helps me formulate complete sentences instead of blurting out words I know. I have been looking at this fun website, Tofugu, which is filled with fun tips on how to study Japanese and different expressions.

I'm thinking I should prepare for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), as it would be nice to have a specific focus for my studies. My new Osaka routine now includes evenings spent at a nearby café, with my studying material and headphones (to cover the awful generic music they play).

8 comments:

Isabel said...

Is that Shin art?
xo

Jen said...

I'm so impressed that you are taking the initiative to continue learning Japanese even though you don't have to for practical purposes anymore. Good for you! I had a friend in college who took Japanese classes, and it just looked so difficult to me. Good luck with your studies :)

Des said...

Learning a new language is absolute torture for me. It takes me so long to learn a language and I get frustrated with the learning process so easily.

Vivian said...

Isabel- Yes, Shin art... at my sayonara tea and cake party :)

Rosemary Brennan said...

What a cool (and thoughtful!) design on your drink. The only language I ever studied was French and I feel like I've completely lost it since I never get the chance to speak it.

Nicole Marie said...

i am so impressed by anyone who can learn japanese... its just so imitating i think because it's a completely different alphabet.

mina said...

That's so impressive! Alex and I still say 'sumimasen' to each other all the time... one of the very few words we learned.

I'm thinking of taking French lessons... I wish I had paid more attention in high school!

Daniel said...

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