Tag Archives: Japanese

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 29

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What are your goals for the next 30 days?

I have less than 30 days left in Japan. Less than 30 days. I feel as if I should have a ton of things just jammed into one list…but I don’t. Perhaps my goals for the next month aren’t too big, but I do want to enjoy the last few weeks I have here.

*Finish school comfortably – this means not procrastinating on my last few projects. I want to get stuff finished and not worry about what’s to come.

*Go to karaoke – Believe it or not, I haven’t been to karaoke place in Japan yet; this is practically a sin seeing as it is very popular.

*Climb a mountain – I can’t make it to Fuji, but there is a similar mountain nearby. I’d really like to go and experience the scenery.

*Go to the beach – It’s. So. Close. I want to go. I want to live there. I need the beach in my life.

*Buy a yukata and wear it to the Tanabata Festival – My last festival while I’m here is the star festival. I want to go all out. Wear my yukata (basically a summer kimono) and all the accessories (minus the shoes, since I have giant feet).

*Buy a Gameboy Advance and play Japanese video games – Even though my favorite video game series (Fire Emblem) just released a new game for the 3DS or whatever the latest game system is, I can’t justify buying it. But I can buy a cheaper/older game system here and play all my favorite nostalgic games!

*Finish my Camp NaNoWriMo goal of 25,000 words – I told myself I wanted to write more. Here’s hoping I don’t die.

*Return to America safely – I’m scared of going through American customs….

*Eat one giant American pizza – Even though I appreciate that the Japanese put Tabasco sauce on their pizza, I need lots of cheese, meat, and crust. Please…no more seaweed and sardines.

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30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 27

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Conversely, write about something that’s kicking you in the butt right now.

My. Listening. Skills. Tank.

Not in English. I think I’m a pretty good listener. You want to complain about your boyfriend or girlfriend? Go ahead. I’ll listen, and I swear I won’t tell anyone. You just need to vent about a bad day at work? Political issue? Do you want to scream or cry or squee? Come on!

No. Listening to Japanese.

Actually, I’m fairly certain that any foreign language is difficult to get the hang of, but so far, most of my Japanese skills are improving. I’m more confident with my speaking and can communicate something if I need to. (Sometimes it takes thought.) Despite the fact that I read only around 300 kanji, my reading skills are the best. I have to translate a lot, but I can read things out loud quite easily. It’s actually my favorite thing to do. Writing. I got it.

But listening. I have to ask someone to repeat themselves over and over and over again. I have to tell them to speak slower. I feel like a complete child. It gets bad when I’ve asked someone to repeat themselves about 5 times already, and they look about ready to give up. I swear I’m not stupid. I try as hard as I can.

The thing is, I do well with the listening in my text book. Real life is no text book though.

A Few of my Favorite Things: Fairy Tales and Duck Tails

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Mukashi

I apologize for my atrocious handwriting!

I’m not a big fan of roses in general (give me a hydrangea any day), and I’d rather have the whole kitten rather than just its whiskers. Copper kettles, woolen mittens…keep it. Even though I still consider Julie Andrews a kindred spirit, Maria von Trapp’s character in The Sound of Music is not. I have a very odd set of favorite things. If you stick around, you will probably hear a lot about cardigans, cats, sweet potatoes, and the color purple. I have to say that my favorite thing in the world is language.

Call me a word nerd if you will.

My favorite word in the English language is “halcyon.” When used as a noun, it refers to a type of mythological bird that supposedly had the ability to calm storms by flapping its wings. When used as an adjective it means a variety of things such as “peaceful,” “prosperous,” or “joyful.” It sounds archaic and mysterious but reflects all the things that are good in the world—the calm after the storm. In a way, it reflects a happier time in my life.

Perhaps I’m silly to have a favorite word, but I’m sure other people in the world have them, right? The more I study Japanese, the more I find myself drawn to specific aspects of language. I have favorite words, favorite kanji, favorite grammar rules, etc.

My favorite word in the Japanese language starts with a story. I remember sneaking through my living room where my brother sat staring at the TV as usual. But this time, his eyes weren’t glued to Pokemon or Super Mario Galaxy. I saw a bright flash of color and heard familiar music. Ballet. More specifically Swan Lake. He was watching an anime with ballet. I couldn’t question his show choice, because I was too absorbed in the show myself.

I hid myself and watched from afar for a while until I caught the title screen. Princess Tutu. For the next week (or maybe two) I shut myself in my room after school to watch it. And each episode began “Mukashi mukashi…” in the voice of a gentle older woman as she told the story of a duck who wanted to be human. When a mysterious force grants her wish, she’s transformed into an awkwardly clumsy girl who falls in love with a prince only to realize that she plays a much larger role. Something about the combination of beautiful music, innocent love, and magical atmosphere gave me something to look forward to each day.

“Once upon a time…”

I can’t think of those words without thinking of all the fairy tales I’ve ever read. Princess Tutu reminded me that everyone has a story to tell, even a tiny duck. And all those stories can be special. Anyone can be a protagonist.

n a tiny duck. And all those stories can be special. Anyone can be a protagonist.