Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween, etc

Last weekend, I celebrated Halloween early as my friend roped me into helping at her juku's English Halloween party. The kids were pretty cute, and we spent most of our time working on a ridiculously difficult origami project. One girl also gave me a picture.

Tomomi and I wore some Halloween headbands. I was a rabbit.

Not many plans for later this week, since I'll be working. I'll probably just bring candy to the office and wear my cat ears. Thursday is also the Hiroshima bible study night, but I doubt we'll do anything specific.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Japanese Help from an Unexpected Source

For the past few weeks I've been stuck doing some boring typing. Luckily, it's not our text but a competitor's language learning CD series. My job is to type up a script of the English section of the dialog. I guess so our company can analyze it and figure out a way to do it better.

It takes FOREVER because I keep having to pause the CD and type the sentences. And the whole thing is these painfully boring stock conversations read by voice actors who don't seem to give a crap. I swear the Japanese actors can't be as bad, but they probably are. At least the Japanese translations have "ne" and "yo" and "shimau" so you can get SOME sense of what the emotion is supposed to be.

Then after the first week something strange happened. Souichirou started asking me, "Why are you using so much Japanese so suddenly?" And I was like, "I am?" And this week it hit me. I was talking in Japanese, and midway through my remark I realized I was imitating the style of those language CDs from work. Just tweaking the phrases to match my situation--Hopefully with more emotion than the robotic voice actors.

Osmosis is real!!!!!!!!!!OMG!!!!!!!

Even though I wasn't required to do anything with the Japanese explanations, I was just enough interested for it to make an impression. Of course, most people probably don't listen to their CDs four or five hours a day, Monday through Friday. So I can't really say if the series works in a usual situation.

So now I'm getting paid to study Japanese!!! It's a win-win!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fall Weather

I enjoyed last year so much, but fall has done a number on me this season.... I've had a cold or allergies on and off, and the temperature can't seem to make up it's mind between hot and chilly. I'm kind of mad at myself for not doing more traveling in Japan, but I haven't had the energy.

Looks like it's too late to register for the JLPT in December, but if I study hard from now maybe I can get up to the level where I can take the N3 next summer. That would definitely be an accomplishment.

Also, the illumination along the Peace Boulevard is going up again. This will really make getting out from work after it's already dark more of a perk. There's nothing more cozy than having Christmas lights to walk by on your way home.

And I finished typing a story where matchmaking comes back into style via an unusually efficient online dating service, and the characters wonder whether they've traded autonomy for security. However, it still needs proofreading before I can show anyone. And given the set-up it's still too talky overall. The characters have to be interacting with the world instead of discussing the world.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Battle of the San

So I've read a lot about "micro-aggressions" and how there's no way to deal with them, but in reality I'm not actually sure what constitutes an actual aggression.

Instead of discussing this topic, I submit [fig 1] in the chronicles of an epic battle between me and my landlord. The following note was delivered last month.


The notice contains a handwritten note reminding the other sharemates to relay translations to me. I can picture my landlord leaving these detailed cleaning instructions, suddenly getting a brainwave, "Oh yeah! That American chick probably can't read all of these. I'd better make sure someone gets her up to speed."

 However, although the note was in Japanese, it only says "Stephanie." Which my friends confirmed was a bit irregular.

The picture also contains my answer to this slight. I took the only mature approach and grabbed a pencil to squeeze in my own honorific. Complete with ironically grimacing emoticon as if to say, "Lol, I feexd it."

A few days later, my landlord returned with a new notice, and apparently saw the addition I had made to the old one. See [fig 2].


I can only conclude that his reply of "exactly" is his method of fully acknowledging my right to all proper honorifics when referred to by name.

This has been a hard-won strategic victory.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"YesJapan" Is Complete!

Today I officially finished all five courses on my Japanese web program YesJapan! It must have taken about a year to work up from the middle of level one all the way through level five.

My mom and brother did the course last year, and I sort of borrowed their account after they got bored. In spite of bouts of extreme laziness, I finally managed to complete the quiz for every lesson. I wish the website showed you a special page when you got through everything...

There are five courses of 13 or 12 lessons, but I know for a fact most of course one was completed by my brother because I skipped over course one. By the time I got there I had already been studying a few months, so it was too easy. So maybe I did fifty lessons.

I would definitely recommend this website because it's really fun and simple, and I feel like I learned a lot. They have this sort of Lego brick approach where they divide grammar up into sections and you focus on a few very small points at a time. But still you can combine it with everything else you've learned.

So now I should be near fluent, right? Haha, no. My vocabulary and speaking skills still suck.