Tag Archives: learning japanese

Urgent: Looking for a Japanese pen-friend

Yes, you read that right! In the age of Facebook and Instagram, I want a plain, old-fashioned pen-friend. The motivation is simple. I am almost in the final weeks of the Japanese classes we were taking at office, and I will appear for the N5 exam in December. However, I am quite sure that being out of practice will not help me much in my exam. Hence, I am looking for someone I can practice Japanese with.

So, if you do know someone with working knowledge of Japanese, please let me know. If you yourself know Japanese and can afford to spend time writing/chatting in Japanese, let me know. If you are a native Japanese and wish to learn a language that I speak in exchange, I can accommodate that as well. Please get in touch with me through the contact form below.

Thanks guys!

J for Japanese – 2

See previous post

I am currently in my fourth week of Japanese course. Yesterday, we had our eligibility test post the 3 mandatory sessions. It went well, and I have a good feeling about it as I await the result. Clearing this test will mean that we’ll move forward in the remaining 6/7 week of Japanese lessons.

So far, we have learnt Hiragana, Katakana (learned that all foreign names must be written in Katakana) and some Kanji. I know numbers till 99 as well as the seven days of the week.

Learning a new language takes me back to my childhood days. I had long forgotten the days when it took me a few moments to read each word. I feel like I am in second standard of school again, standing in the class and reading out a passage from my English book, fumbling over the difficult words and my teacher, a kind lady in a maroon sari, helps me out. Even though I know the Japanese syllabary (for Japanese does not have alphabets, but only sounds), it takes me awhile to read out a sentence out loud. Yet, in spite of the time I take to pronounce a word, I am patient with myself. I don’t let myself feel bad that I am so slow. I savour every moment of this sweet struggle, for I know, before long, I shall read my Japanese as well as I read my English, and these days of trial and challenge would be long behind me.

Maybe I like this state because it makes me feel like a child again – where I have the freedom to make mistakes and not feel bad about them. Unlike my childhood, my mother is not there anymore pouncing on me to write my A’s and B’s correctly. I can take my own sweet time to learn to write, and when I am done, I become my own mother, own teacher and find my mistakes. I like this version of childhood so much better. That’s the beauty of learning at your own pace.

I’ll keep updating you all from time to time about my Japanese journey. Meanwhile, my ebook. Bound by Life is free for a few more hours on Amazon. If you have not downloaded it yet, do it right away! Happy Reading, folks!

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Day 1 of Japanese

Tuesday, 22nd March, 2016

As the clock strikes 3.55 PM, me and my two teammates get ready for our first Japanese class. We get new notebooks at the reception and walk two floors to our class.

On the board is written: Konnichiwa. Watashi wa Charubeena desu.

Our instructor is a short, energetic young woman named Charuveena. She greets us all and gets straight to the talk. She tells us that there is no ‘v’ in Japanese. So, for the next few weeks, she’d be Charubeena to us. We are surprised to learn that none of our names will remain the same in Japanese. I already feel interested.

The class goes fast. Charubeena tells us about Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. We all are given a sheet with Hiragana characters. One by one, she takes us through the pronunciation of each character. The characters look difficult and overwhelming to me. I wonder how long it will take to master it all.

Throughout the class, Charubeena teaches us Kanji – characters which stand for distinct words. Kanjis are far more complex than the Hiragana that lies in the sheet before us all.

We also learn why Japan is called the land of the rising sun.

Slowly, and steadily, the clock strikes 5. We have learnt a lot, scribbled pages worth of notes. In the end of the class we are handed out a worksheet. It contains a list of words in Hiragana characters. We are to find out the meaning of each word and write the word five times and bring it to the next lesson.

Even though I know it is going to be a tough going, I am super excited. We walk back to our desks  chanting, Watashi wa… Hajimemashite… Genki desuka…

The ball has started rolling. The baby has taken her first step. Will she be able to really learn the language in the next 10 weeks? Be a part of my Learn Japanese journey. Share your thoughts about learning a new language.

Until the next post, さようなら! (Sayounara!)