Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hibernation, amongst Other Things

Foxes may not hibernate, but I really envy brother Bear these days! The sun starts going to bed early and, apparently, so do I... and while this has contributed to an extremely fallow period for this blog, not even shorter days can stop the inevitable flow of determined progress. Like an ice stream, really.

Thats not to say things been moving at a glacial pace- I spent November gettin' me some learnin' so's that I can be a half ways competent ESL teacher, as well as discovering that I really like teaching (go figure!).

I also had a wonderful time putting together the JET Programme's monster of an application which was slipped in just under the deadline, cuz I'm super like that. Now I face the most grueling portion of the JET process: the period of interminable waiting.

At least I have lots to keep my pretty little paws busy with!

The Japanese project is coming along swimmingly- I've discovered, a wonderful learning tool that has Japanese vocabulary packages (among other things) on easy to use flashcards. The site provides the 6000 most common words in Japanese in 200 word blocks, placing each vocab word in a sentence as well as having a built in SRS to keep track of when to study! It takes 10-15 minutes to do a module of 10 new vocab, with times decreasing as I get more familiar with the words on the list.

The system also provides a nice mix of new words to review- 2/10 are new, until you've run out of words to review. This keeps it fresh, and the learning moving. I have had to run several blocks at a time, however, in order to give myself a continuum of new material.

I have also been introduced, through the vast and benevolent powers of the interwebs, to Tae Kim's guide to Japanese Grammar an eldritch tome of Nihongoodness that I should have read months ago. While glory of this guide generally defies description, aside from a comparison to a certain guide for hitch-hikers, it will suffice to say that every time I read through a bit of it I understand Japanese a whole lot more.

The next step, of course, is to put all this into practice in a real conversation- easier said than done! Fortunately, I have been able to establish some good connections within the ESL community in Victoria and have had no problem finding Japanese people to... well, mostly help them with their English to this point! I'm still shy when trying to speak in Japanese- so conversations this weekend will be a real test!

I've also got a number of other irons in the fire for the coming year, including some slightly cooler ones to report from the most recent Solstice, so stay tuned! Kitsune-kun has lots of tricks up his sleeves!


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