Monday, September 20, 2010

So, whos a delinquent?

That delinquent would be me! Its been two weeks since my last update! Unforgivable! Good thing I'm a forgiving kind of guy!

Seriously though, I've put off posting behind a wall of excuses- mostly this one: "Gee, I'd like to have my photo and video content done before I keep blogging." This attitude is extremely unproductive, so it stops now.

Where I HAVEN'T been delinquent, however, is in my studies of Japanese! There is lots to report, so here goes!

I'm up to 853 kanji (as of this writing) and there are Kanji post-its appearing on various objects around the house. Its taken me approximately 6 weeks to get this far and I seem to have settled into an average input of between 30-50 new characters a day, while reviewing 100-200 more on Reviewing the Kanji. The website employs the Spaced Repetition Studying system (SRS), similar to Khatzumoto's Surusu that I use for sentences (there are other SRS programs out there too, this is just my setup). SRS is an AMAZING study tool- there is a great description of how effective over at AJATT. I wish I'd known about it years ago. The SRS makes study sessions painless and entertaining!

I've also discovered that Victoria is a GOLDMINE for learning Japanese. There are several ESL schools or Student Centers catering specifically to Japanese in town to learn English. And there are LOTS of Japanese students here learning English! Victoria seems to be a popular destination for the Japanese! So popular, in fact, that some hotel and restaurant job postings appear with "Ability to speak Japanese an asset."

The language schools and resource centers are an AWESOME way to meet Japanese people without... you know... hiding around the corner with a huge net, or setting live capture traps baited with 茶 (tea) and 和菓子 . I even had my first 'language date' last Friday with Akane, a lovely young lady from Hiroshima. My ability to speak/comprehend Japanese is still in the 'epic fail' stage (I was asking for simple query phrases) but she was impressed at my kanji knowledge!

The University of Victoria also has a ton of resources for learning Japanese. There is even a student club dedicated to Japanese language sharing/cross cultural immersion for exchange students and JSL learners (or just 日本オタク like me). I'll probably go hang out at the Anime club too- get some new shows and instead of hanging around the 洞の狐 (Den for foxes) watching anime, I get to socialize... while watching anime :P.

On the immersion front, everything is going well. I have a playlist on Youtube of Disney movies dubbed into Japanese, as well as Star Wars: A New Hope and Attack of the Clones. Its like reliving my childhood! In Japanese!

My mp3 player is also good to go, with the audio for Princess Mononoke and a couple anime episodes loaded up. I need to get in the habit of carrying a music device around again though! I've also begun expanding my collection of Japanese language music- finding 'alternative' stuff is pretty hard- but Bandcamp has been an awesome resource. Not only have I found some pretty good music- with the lyrics online!- I've been able to add some artists to my twitter who post (in Japanese) about other artists and music events in Japan! I'm compiling a list of different Bandcamp links and have it posted in the near future for your listening pleasure!

I really need to be seeing more written Japanese (I've been dragging my feet on changing over to a Japanese OS) but I've experienced noticeable improvements in my comprehension- mostly thanks to all the Kanji I've learned.

A final note: The thing I love about this immersion method is the constant feedback on my progress. I don't need a test to tell me where I'm at... I just have "Wow, I understand that!" moments more and more frequently. Each one is like an intellectual cookie... and boy are they delicious!

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