I thought long and hard about buying an Amazon Kindle for studying Japanese. Like five years kind of long and hard. And as with most life enigmas, it came down to a simple question: Why spend hundreds of dollars on a giant phone that doesn’t even work as a phone? Not to mention you could just buy an actual book for ten bucks.
Although to be fair, most of my enigmas are more along the lines of Why’m I waking up on a park bench? or What happened to the Filipino girl I bought all those cocktails for? But anyway, I finally broke down and bought a Kindle, and holy balls, if you want to learn Japanese, it’s the greatest thing ever. So at least that’s one problem solved. Continue reading “Why I Love the Amazon Kindle for Japanese”
In three words . . . uh, yeah, kinda. Foreign language learning is quickly moving into the realm of the unnecessary. So like it or not, we can all cross interpreter and translator off our list of career choices, along with elevator operator, taxi driver, doorman, cashier, bank teller, and Latin scholar. Continue reading “Is Foreign Language Learning Obsolete?”
People routinely ask, “Why are you still in Japan?” and I guess the answer depends upon which phase of Japanese life we’re talking about. Because first there’s
Living in Japan’s like being born again. Everything’s filled with wonder, nothing makes any sense, and you’re insanely pleased by the simplest stuff. Look!—-I’m riding the subway. It’s like a train, only underground! So many people! Man, I gotta take a picture of this!
You can’t understand a thing. Not a word, not an action, and it’s hilarious. You can’t even stroll down the sidewalk without knocking over office ladies and soba-delivery boys. Continue reading “Why are you Still in Japan?”
A reader recently posted an intriguing comment about foreign sumo wrestlers: “Within a year, they have a command of the language that would take most students years to develop.” Implying that with enough immersion and dedication, it’s possible to speak Japanese well in a short amount of time. Apparently, there’s a Japanese book that popularized this notion.
I’d heard this before. Not just with sumo wrestlers but with, well, everybody. A friend of mine learned the language in a year. Actually, less than a year. Well, actually, a friend of a friend.
The first time I heard it was from a random guy in Columbus, Ohio, who told me: “My daughter went to Japan for a year, and came back speaking fluent Japanese.”
That was all the proof I needed. I’m kind of gullible like that. If she could do it, then damn it, so could I. Nobody beats Ken Seeroi, and certainly nobody from Ohio. Continue reading “A Friend of Mine Learned Japanese in 1 Year”
It’s not Romaji That’s Evil—-It’s Hiragana
I have a new co-worker, who just so happens to be white. It’s very exciting, finally speaking with a real foreigner. I really gotta practice the English more. I think she’s from some place like Kansas, probably because she reminds me of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, albeit minus the little dog and red shoes. Maybe it’s the pigtails, and the fact that her aunt is named Em. Or is that M? Whatever. On Thursday, apropos of nothing, she turned to me and announced,
“I’m heading over to Japanese class tonight.”
“Oh,” I said. “That’s great.” Foreigners are always heading over to Japanese class. “How’s that going anyway?”
“Wonderful,” she replied, “we’re learning hiragana.” Continue reading “Why Your Japanese Sucks”