Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I've Heard That...

The New Year's holidays are just around the courner! Last year I was in Taiwan, but I'm going to stay with my family in Japan this year. How will you spend your winter holidays?

As though it's already end of December, it's not so cold yet. We had snow last week but just a little. Today it's a pretty sunny day. I've heard that it won't be a cold winter this year.

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/kotoshi no fuyu wa anmari samuku naranai rashii ne/
I've heard that it won't be so cold this winter.

*今年(ことし)/kotoshi/ this year
*冬(ふゆ)/fuyu/ winter
*あんまり /anmari/ so (casual spoken way of あまり/amari/)
It's usually used with negative form of verbs.

/anmari kawaiku nai/
Not so cute.

/anmari omoshiroku nai/
Not so interesting.

/anmari suki ja nai/
Not so preferable. (I don't like it very much)

*寒(さむ)い /samui/ cold
*ならない /naranai/ not become (the negative form of なる/naru/)
*...らしい /rashii/ it is said that..., it seems that..., it looks like...
*ね /ne/ you know (one of the sentence ending particles)

I'd like to write more about the term らしい in this post. I translated it as "I've heard that" in this sentence because らしい indicates that it is not based on the speaker's opinion. Maybe he has heard it from his friend or read it on a book, on the internet, or something else. The speaker isn't certain if it's true or false.

そうだ also has the same meaning, and you can replace らしい with it. I think we use らしい more in the conversation.

明日(あした)は雪(ゆき)が降(ふ)る らしい(そうだ)。
/ashita wa yuki ga furu rashii(souda)/
I've heard that it will snow tomorrow.

日本人(にほんじん)は英語(えいご)が話(はな)せない らしい(そうだ)。
/nihonjin wa eigo ga hanasenai rashii(souda)/
It is said that Japanese people can't speak English.

I've written about そうだ before, so please visit this post to check more example sentences of it.

Now I tell you about another meaning of らしい. See the example sentence below.
/Anna wa otoko rashii hito ga suki rashii/
I've heard that Anna likes a masculine man.

As you see, I wrote らしい twice in this sentence. The one at the end of the sentence has the same meaning with what I explained above. It means that the speaker heard it from others.

What the former one means then? To put it simply, it means "just like something". 男(おとこ)らしい/otoko rashii/ means "just like as a man", "typical of a man" or
"manly". So 女(おんな)らしい/onnna rashii/ is "feminine" or "womanly" as well.

/konnani otonashii nante, Anna rashiku nai/
It's not like Anna to be so quiet.
*こんなに /konnani/ such, so
*おとなしい /otonashii/ to be quiet, not active,
らしくない is a negative form of らしい.

/fuyu rashii fun'iki/
The wintery mood

*Wrap Up*
[Information] + らしい
- The speaker heard it from others and he is not certain about the truth

[Person/Things] + らしい
- It is just like what it is, or usual for someone

That's all for today! Thank you for reading. I always welcome your comment or questions about Japanese language or culture! :) Hopefully, I can update my blog once again before this year-end.

Anyway, have a great holidays everybody!! :D

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Having A Successful Language Exchange

Thanks to the internet, we can access many resauces to learn a language, and it also enables us to connect with people from all over the world. Do you use Skype to talk with a native speaker of your target language?

Still, I do prefer meeting in person for language exchange. I found myself being easily distracted when I use the internet... :( I had been looking for a person whom I can practice with at a coffee shop or somewhere, and finally, I could find a nice conversation partner (Japanese<->English)! Yay! :D

I wish I can find someone who speaks Taiwanese, Persian or Dutch in my city, too!

So, I'm going to write about Language Exchange as today's post. I've written about this topic several times and you can read them here.

How to find a conversation partner

Let's take advantage of the internet technology! There're many websites which help you find a native speaker of your target language who's learning your language.

I've introduced this website before in my blog, but their interface has changed.
Top page > Forum > @Friends > Japan Penfriend

If you want to find a in-person conversation partner, select the location where you live. And I recommend you to choose "Language Exchange" category.

It's a very simple website to find a language exchange partner. I think there're many Japanese users, too.

This website is used for finding a local community. You may find a language exchange events in your city, too! I've joined the one before, and it was very interesting :)

This is an app for language exchange. You can search people who live near you.

It is mainly used for finding a free place to stay when you travel abroad, but you can also use it to find a native speaker who is interested in learning your language!

I often hear people say that they could find a person but it never last for long. Does it depend on your luck whether if you can find an ideal language exchange partner? Well, it could be a luck ーwe call this kind of luck 縁(えん)/en/ by the wayー but I think at least there's something you can do to find a good partner and have a successful language exchange!

Make it clear what you want and need

First of all, put an ad or fill in the profile page of those language exchange websites. Not only browsing other people's ads. It would be better to write what/how you want to do in the language exchange.

  • You and your partner's level

What is your level? Can you read or write in ひらがな/カタカナ? How about Kanji?
 Do you know basic grammar? If you're totally beginner, it would be easier for you to talk with people who are higher than elementary level in your language.

  • About schedule

If you want to have a regular practice, let them know that you're a motivated learner! How often do you want to have a session? Are you looking for a person who can meet and have a face-to-face conversation? Do you want to voice chat or text chat? What time would be convenient for you?

  • What do you want to do?

Do you want to split time 50/50 like first 30 mins you guys can only speak in language A and the latter 30 mins switch to language B? Do you want to practice making sentences using your text book or talk about your daily life, or pick up several topics to talk about? Do you want him to correct your words as much as possible or is it okay if it makes sence and you can keep conversation?

During the conversation

These are the things that I felt it very helpful through language exchange, and I also keep them in my mind when I talk with my partners. To have a good language exchange, you also should be a good partner for them!

  • Talk speed and words
At first, I speak a little bit faster than they speak in Japanese (my native language = their target language). A little bit, though. This is because our speaking level is usually lower than comprehensive level. If it seems too fast to understand, I speak slower. If it takes a little while but she can understand what I say, I keep that speed in shorter and simpler sentences, unless she asks me to speak slower.

It's so stressful if I couldn't catch any of words she spoke. I try to use very basic and frequent words and grammar if my partner is not at intermediate level yet.

  • Explain the word

I don't like to check a dictionary or translater instantly. Instead, I try to explain the word in other words as much as possible. Both in the case when I don't know the exact word I want to express, and when my partner doesn't know what the certain word means. So our conversation doesn't move on quickly but I think it is a good practice. And the words which I struggled with remain in my mind easily.

  • Be patient
You know, it takes time to make a sentence in a foreign language especially when it comes to speaking. I feel very disappointed if I'm always interrupted while I'm thinking and trying to construct a sentence. Sometimes I need a help but I want to try by myself.
So I try not to interrupt her, too. Even if I found a mistakes in her speech or it wasn't natural sentence, I listen to her at first. I can tell her correct words or better expression after she finish saying that sentence. I don't have to rush her.
Though it is hard to tell whether she is trying to say something or just thinking about what to talk, especially when I can't see her face. This is one of the reasons why I prefer face-to-face conversation.

Well, I hope you'll find a nice language exchange partner and have a good practice with him! :) That's all for today, thank you for reading. Feel free to leave your comments!

See you soon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Seven, five, and three... What do these numbers mean? ーJapanese traditional ceremonyー

Children's growth is all parents' wish. And each cultures has its own ways to celebrate or pray for it. In Japan, we also have several traditional ceremonies to wish children's healthy growth and their longlife.

Last weekend my family took my nephew to a shrine to celebrate his 七五三(しちごさん)/shichigosan/. It's one of traditional events to celebrate children's growth and pray for their future health and well-being.

If you've learned some basic Kanji already, you would have found that this celebration is named with 3 numbers --7, 5 and 3. It indicates children's age. This ceremony is for 3 and 5 year old boys, and 3 and 7 year old girls. My adorable nephew turned 3 this year :) He dressed up in Japanese traditional clothes and had a Shinto ritual.

After 七五三 ceremony, we went to our uncle's studio (he's a photographer!) and took commemorative pictures.

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/hai, chiizu/
Say, cheese!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall is the best season for...?

It's not hot and not so cold, it's been beautiful weather these days. We call a sunny day in fall 秋(あき)晴(ば)れ /akibare/, which literaly means "fall sunny". The sky is high, leaves turned red or yellow, we can enjoy a beautiful scenary in this season.

I like fall not only because of its beauty, but also because there're bunch of yummy foods in this season! Have you ever heard of the word 食欲(しょくよく)の秋(あき) /shokuyoku no aki/? In fall, we have an increased 食欲(しょくよく) /shokuyoku/ appetite since it is the season of the harvest. So we say "Fall is the best season for eating". We also say 読書(どくしょ)の秋(あき) /dokusho no aki/, スポーツ(すぽーつ)の秋 /supootsu no aki/, or 芸術(げいじゅつ)の秋(あき) /geijutsu no aki/.

*読書(どくしょ) /dokusho/ reading
*スポーツ(すぽーつ) /supootsu/ sports
*芸術(げいじゅつ) /geijutsu/ arts

Fall is the best season for...? What do you think? :)

This song is one of Japanese traditional songs for children ―ちいさい秋(あき)みつけた /chiisai aki mitsuketa/ (Found a Small Autumn). Here's its lyric and my translation of it.

だれかさんが だれかさんが だれかさんが 見(み)つけた
/darekasan ga darekasan ga darekasan ga mitsuketa/
Somebody's, somebody's, somebody has found

小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 見(み)つけた
/chiisai aki chiisai aki chiisai aki mitsuketa/
A small autumn, a small autumn, found an small autumn

目(め)かくし 鬼(おに)さん 手(て)のなる方(ほう)へ
/mekakushi onisan te no naru hou e/
Blindfold it, come to the sound of hands clapping

すました お耳(みみ)に かすかにしみた
/sumashita omimi ni kasukani shimita/
The strained ears caught it slightly

呼(よ)んでる 口笛(くちぶえ) もずの声(こえ)
/yonderu kuchibue mozu no koe/
The sound of whistle and the call of a butcherbird

小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 見(み)つけた
/chiisai aki chiisai aki chiisai aki mitsuketa/
A small autumn, a small autumn, found an small autumn

目(め)かくし鬼(おに) /mekakushi oni/ is a game in which one child ―the chosen child is called 鬼(おに) /oni/― chases the others. It's a bit different from the game tag, as 鬼(おに) /oni/ has to blindfold. The other kids clap their hands, call or whistle to give it a hint where they are.

This song reminds me of my grandma. She sang it for me when I was very small. :)

*Japanese Word of the Day*
small, short, tiny = 小(ちい)さい /chiisai/
ちっちゃい sounds more casual and kinda cute. Sometimes it's used to emphasize how small it is.

I'd like to add one more word;
a little, a bit, a kind of = 少(すこ)し /sukoshi/
As I wrote in my previous post, it's often used when we want to tell something negative.

You know what? I just found an interesting thing. ちっちゃい is "کوچک
" /kʰuːtʃʰækʲ/ in Persian, and ちょっと can be translated as "beetje" /beːtjə/ in Dutch. These pronunciations are not the exactly same, but for me, it seems to have a similar sound "ch". I wonder if it's just a coincidence.

Speaking of which, it reminds me of an interesting study in linguistic. It said that we seemed to have a similar sense to attach sounds to shape, no matter what language we speak.

Well, that's all for today! Thank you for reading, and feel free to leave your comment :) 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sushi restaurant in Japan!!

Frankly, I don't like fish. But you know, people in Japan love sushi. I guess I don't have to explain what sushi is, do I? Have you ever eaten it before? Do you like it?

I went to a sushi restaurant with my parents yesterday, though I don't eat row fish. I mainly ate salada rolls, egg rolls and crub meats. They also have some fruits, soup, french fries and some side dishes. I love watching the small dishes with sushi passing by, since I was small. :)

This is the video I recorded yesterday. We can pick up the one which is on the rotating convayor belts or use a touch panel device. When you ordered with this device, an "express train" will bring you what you ordered. It's very funny! XD

Uh, Did I say that I was going to write about Japanese traditional gardens in my previous post? Oh well... Maybe next time? Or.. anyway, That's all for today! Thank you for reading! :)

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/jitsuwa, namazakana wa chotto nigate/
Frankly, raw fish isn't my favorite.

*実(じつ)は /jitsuwa/ frankly speaking, to tell the truth, actually

*生魚(なまざかな) /namazakana/ raw fish
 ― 生(なま) raw, fresh, real + 魚(さかな) fish → raw fish
 ― 生(なま) + 野菜(やさい) /yasai/ vegetables → raw vegetables

*苦手(にがて) /nigate/ something that you're not good at
得意(とくい) /tokui/ be good at

/undou ga nigate desu/
I'm not good at exercising.

/suugaku ga nigate desu/
I'm not good at calculating.

You know Japanese people avoid telling things directly especially about negative things. We don't often say 嫌(きら)い /kirai/ "don't like" even if we do hate it. We'd rather often omit the word 苦手(にがて) and just say 生魚はちょっと・・・.

Let's say that you asked a girl out on a date and she said;
/nichiyoubi wa chotto/
It's literally translated as "Sunday is a bit", but it means Sunday is not convenient for her (or she doesn't want to go...).

My Taiwanese friend often said that it's very bothering her that Japanese always use vague words and ambiguous expressions. haha What do you think?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dialects in Japan

Heyyy, I came back to Japan! :D Now I'm in my hometown, Kanazawa city.

My parents came and picked me up at the airport yesterday. When we were talking in the car, I found myself speaking in Kanazawa dialect unconsciously. Though I never speak like that when I'm not in Kanazawa. It's not very different from the standard Japanese, but it has a bit western Japanese accent and characteristic ways of speaking.

You know, there're many dialects in Japan. The most famous one might be 関西弁(かんさいべん) /kansai ben/ Kansai dialect, which is spoken in Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto are one of the prefectures in Kansai). I've heard many Taiwanese people go to 関西弁 class besides the standard Japanese class. Many people say it sounds funny and humorous. I guess it is because we have a strong stereotype that people from Kansai (especially from Osaka) are all outgoing, love jokes, friendly and talkative.

*Japanese Word of the Day*
to have a specific accent, to speak in a dialect

a specific accent

a dialect

If you have a chance to visit cities except for Tokyo, try to listen how local people talk each other. Some young people tend not to speak their dialects, but I love the variousity of languages, even it is considered as "rural dialect". :-) What do you think?

That's all for today! I'll write about Japanese traditional gardens next time :-) See you soon!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Keep Motivated / Start from Scratch

Yay! I'll be back in Japan in 5 days! :-D

Well, I should think about how to maintain my Chinese skill in the future. Now I hear people speaking in Chinese once I go out, or the ads in Chinese always pop up when I watch videos on Youtube. It's kind of an immersion environment, though I'm not motivated to study Chinese/Taiwanese these days...

What to do if I don't have plans to come back again and lost the motivation to raise my language skill to the next level? Luckily, I found a great article written about this question!

How to Keep Learning a Language when You No Longer HAVE to

Check it out if you have the same problem. ;-)

By the way I just started to learn Dutch from scratch! hehe
(Do you remember how to say "have started to learn" in Japanese?)
So what should I do first if I want to start learning a language without any backgound? Here's what I'm working on right now:

(1) Find a Youtube video which introduces very basic phrases
(2) Learn the alphabet and its pronunciation
(3) Learn basic vocabulary (1000 most common words in Dutch)
(4) Learn basic grammar (Integral Dutch Course)
 - basic verbs and its conjugation
 - the word order of question form
 - tenses of verbs (I've just learned past tense and presennt perfect!)
(5) Try to make a sentence with words I learned
 - Send a message to a conversation partner on HelloTalk

What I wrote to my friend yesterday was just an easy sentence "Vandaag leerde ik Nederlands (Today I learned Dutch)". haha I hope I can find more friends to talk with in Dutch so that I can practice more. It motivates me a lot to get a feedback.
I appreciate any recommendations / advice! :D

Speaking of which, I thought about what about learning Japanese from scratch? How did do that at first? Or are you just interested in learning but not having taken the first step yet?

I think this website will help you a lot if you want to start from scratch, or if you want to review Japanese grammar!
Complete Guide to Japanese

And try to speak or write what you learned as much as possible! Find your language exchange partner who can practice with. (Let's Language Exchange!)

*Japanese Word of the Day*
Good luck! / You can do it! / Keep it up! /

Monday, October 5, 2015

Language Exchange Mobile App

Hey guys! I've found a nice app for language exchange, which is called HelloTalk.

Have you heard of it? You can not only search for conversation partners, but also send text/voice messages, use translator while you're chatting with people, draw images to explain what you want to say, and... and so on. I'm not sure because I've just registered. :P Please watch the video below to see a brief introduction of this app.

Well, I do prefer meeting in person rather than texting (frankly, I don't like texting very much), but I'm going to try it out anyway. :)

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/chotto yatte miyou kana/
I'll give it a try.

*ちょっと /chotto/ a little, a bit

/chotto mattete/
Hold on a minute.

*やる /yaru/ to do something ― やって is the te-form of やる
*~みる /miru/ to try doing something
→ やる+みる=やってみる

Here, よう represents an attempt. It's also used when we invite somebody to do something.
→ やってみる+よう=やってみよう

食(た)べよう : Let's eat. / I'm gonna eat. (I attempt to eat)
行(い)こう : Let's go. / I'm gonna go. (I attempt to go)
食べてみよう : Let's try to eat. / I'm gonna try to eat.
行ってみよう : Let's try to go. / I'm gonna try to go.

*かな /kana/ I wonder, I'm not sure (making a guess)

Is that so? (I don't think so/I'm skeptical/I'm not sure)

That's all for today! :) By the way I'm going back to Japan next week!! Yay!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Is the glass half empty or half full? You may have heard of this question. Though we see the same situation, how one expresses depends on one's point of view. Not only this expressions, half empty or half full, what we say conveys how we see the world.

Speaking of Japanese language, we can use both or to describe the same situation, but there's an implicit meaning in each sentence. I mean, which I use depends on what I focus on. (Check this page to see the difference between them!)

I've been tried to explain about the nuance of meaning in terms of point of view (what the speaker focuses on or how it sounds to the listener), rather than just picking up grammar rules. Well, it might not a clear explanation as I'm not a teacher nor a kind of language specialist. :( So excuse me, and please feel free to ask me if my explanation doesn't make sense!

*Japanese Word of the Day*
1) コップ(こっぷ)に水(みず)が少(すこ)し残(のこ)っている。
/koppu ni mizu ga sukoshi nokotte iru/
2) コップ(こっぷ)に水(みず)が少(すこ)しだけ残(のこ)っている。
/koppu ni mizu ga sukoshi dake nokotte iru/
3) コップ(こっぷ)に水(みず)が少(すこ)ししか残(のこ)ってない
/koppu ni mizu ga sukoshi shika nokotte nai/

*コップ(こっぷ) /koppu/ a glass
- I guess it's one of 外来語(loan words), from "a cup” in English. But コップ usually means " a glass", and we say カップ(かっぷ) as "a cup" in English.
*水(みず) /mizu/ water
*少(すこ)し /sukoshi/ a little, a bit
*残(のこ)っている /nokotte iru/ to remain, to be left
- In daily conversation, we often omit and say 残ってる.
- 残って(い)ない is the negative form of 残って(い)る.

All these three sentences can be translated as "A little water remained in the glass". As you guess, it reflects how the speaker feels. Let's have a closer look at each of these sentences.

(1) コップ(こっぷ)に水(みず)が少(すこ)し残(のこ)っている。
This sentence just describes the situation. There's a glass of water, which has a little water.

(2) コップ(こっぷ)に水(みず)が少(すこ)しだけ残(のこ)っている。
Here I added だけ to emphasize there's only a little water in the glass. It focuses on the small amount of water.

/tanjoubi wo oboeteite kureta nowa kare dake datta/
It was only him who remembered my birthday.
*くれた (the past form of くれる) indicates the speaker feels thankful. (Here's more detailed explanation about くれる)

/karakatta dake dayo/
I was just teasing you.

(3) コップ(こっぷ)に水(みず)が少(すこ)ししか残(のこ)ってない
It rather can be translated as "there's little water in the glass". しか always makes the verb negative.

/kono houhou shika nai/
I have no choice except this way.

As you see, it focuses on the negative aspect. There's nothing but something. It's kinda like "half empty". Do you get the picture? :) Now I'd like to add one more sentence.

(4) コップ(こっぷ)に水(みず)が少(すこ)しだけしか残(のこ)ってない

Here, you see both だけ and しか in one sentence.The base of the sentence is (3), so the speaker thinks there's LITTLE water. It's not enough, or too little. He sees its negative aspect. And だけ lays emphasis on the amount of water.

(1) 日本語(にほんご)を少(すこ)しだけ話(はな)せる。
/nihongo wo sukoshi dake hanaseru/

(2) 日本語(にほんご)を少(すこ)ししか話(はな)せない
/nihongo wo sukoshi shika hanase nai/

(3) 日本語(にほんご)を少(すこ)しだけしか話(はな)せない
/nihongo wo sukoshi dake shika hanase nai/

Now you know what the nuance of these 3 sentences, do you?

That's all for today! Thank you for reading, and see you soon! ;)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

It Takes Time

In my previous post, I wrote about transitive verbs and intransitive verbs.

- A transitive verb is a verb that takes objects, and it expresses an action of its subject. The particle comes after the object.
- An intransitive verb, on the other hand, describes the movement of its subject. So you should use the particle は/が which marks the subject of the sentence.

Which you should use, a transitive verb or an intransitive verb, depends on what you want to focus on.

Today I'm going to talk about the verb かける/かかる. Guess which one is a transitive verb? かける/kakeru/ or かかる/kakaru/?

開ける/akeru/ transitive verb <-> 開く/aku/ intransitive verb (to open)
閉める/shimeru/ transitive verb <-> 閉まる/shimaru/ intransitive verb (to close)
つける/tsukeru/ transitive verb <-> つく/tsuku/ intransitive verb (to turn on)

Well, this pattern isn't applied to all transitive verbs, but it would be one clue to guess.

かける/kakeru/ transitive verb <-> かかる/kakaru/ intransitive verb
It has several meanings, but I want to pick up one of them. I show you some example sentences to help you understand its meaning. (I believe it's much better to know how it is used in a sentence than just to see the word to word translation.

かける/kakeru/ to spend time
1a) テスト(てすと)の見直(みなお)しに時間(じかん)をかける
/tesuto no minaoshi ni jikan wo kakeru/
I spend plenty of time on reviewing the exam.

2a) 妻(つま)はいつも時間(じかん)をかけて化粧(けしょう)をする。
/tsuma wa itsumo jikan wo kakete keshou wo suru/
My wife always takes time on putting makeup on.

3a) 一週間(いっしゅうかん)かけて作品(さくひん)を完成(かんせい)させた。
/isshuukan kakete sakuhin wo kansei saseta/
I spent a week to complete my work.

かかる/kakaru/ to take time
1b) テストの見直(みなお)しに時間(じかん)がかかる
/tesuto no minaoshi ni jikan ga kakaru/
It takes time to review the exam.

2b) 妻(つま)は化粧(けしょう)をするのにいつも時間(じかん)がかかる
/tsuma wa keshou wo suru noni itsumo jikan ga kakaru/
My wife always takes time on putting makeup on.

3b) 一週間(いっしゅうかん)かかって作品(さくひん)が完成(かんせい)した。
It took a week to complete my work.

The sentence 1a and 1b, 2a and 2b, 3a and 3b are corresponding to each other. The meaning of the two sentences are very similar but not the same. What the speaker wants to tell, or how it sounds to listener is different. Let's take a closer look at each pair of sentences.

1a) テスト(てすと)の見直(みなお)しに時間(じかん)をかける
1b) テストの見直(みなお)しに時間(じかん)がかかる

*テスト /tesuto/ test, exam
*見直(みなお)し /minaoshi/ review, recheck, double-check

Let's say you have finished the test but still had some time. If you're careful, you'd double check your answer. (If you're not, you still had better do it, though!) You took time to check the answer on your own will. And this is what the sentence 1a implies. On the other hand, 1b implies that the speaker feels bothered or has hard time to finish it. Both 1a and 1b express the same situation (it takes time to do something) but it sounds different, isn't it?

2a) 妻(つま)はいつも時間(じかん)をかけて化粧(けしょう)をする。
2b) 妻(つま)は化粧(けしょう)をするのにいつも時間(じかん)がかかる

*妻(つま) /tsuma/ wife
*化粧(けしょう) /keshou/ makeup

かける is often used before the verb like 時間をかけて〜する, but we don't say 時間がかかって〜する. If it's specific time like 30 minutes, two weeks or a day, besides if you're talking about the past or what you have done, then you can say  かかって〜した.  It's usually used with やっと/ようやく/ついに, which means finally, at last or after all.

/ni jikan kakatte youyaku kaki oeta/
After all it took 2 hours to finish writing it.

*書(か)く /kaku/ to write
*終(お)える /oeru/ to get something done
---> 書(か)き終(お)える to finish writing

Let's get back on the track. As かける intends the subject's own will, 2a implies that his wife takes time as long as she wants, and it's very slow. If he says 時間がかかる like 2b, it implies he thinks it's too long and feels bothered.

3a) 一週間(いっしゅうかん)かけて作品(さくひん)を完成(かんせい)させた。
3b) 一週間(いっしゅうかん)かかって作品(さくひん)が完成(かんせい)した。

*作品(さくひん) /sakuhin/ art work
*完成(かんせい) /kansei/ completion, accomplishment
 -> 完成する to be finished or to be completed
 -> 完成させる to get something done, to complete or finish something

Okay, I'll give you a quiz. =)
There's an artist who's working on a large painting. He never  slack off on any works, and he always spends enough time until he's satisfied. Which sentence implies that he devoted himself to completing his work? 3a, or 3b?

That's all for today, thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave your comment ;-)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Let's start!

A few months ago, my father started to learn Chinese. He said he's really bad at studying and always got a terrible grade in a language class when he was a student (long long ages ago!!). So I introduced him a great teacher who can teach him step by step in a fun way, for free! Who's that? ...It's me!! XD

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/gaikokugo no benkyou wo hajime mashita/
I've started to learn a foreign language.

*外国語(がいこくご) /gaikokugo/ = 外国(foreign country) + 語(language)
*勉強(べんきょう) /benkyou/ learning, study
勉強する /benkyou suru/ to learn, to study
*始(はじ)める /hajimeru/ to start, to begin
I added ました(the past form of ます) to make the sentence polite.

I've featured this verb 始める before in this post.
Please look at the original post to see its translation and additional explanation. Now as you know, 始めて/hajimete/ is so-called te-form of 始める. Japanese verbs end with te(or de) when it connect to the following words. I'm not going to explain about grammar in detail, but I picked it up again because I want to tell you about a confusing word, 初(はじ)めて/hajimete/. And this was a question from Arman. Thank you Arman! :)

Both 始めて and 初めて are pronounced as /hajimete/, but they're totally different words. 始めて is a verb as I explained above, but 初めて is an adverb. It means "for the first time".

/hajimete sushi wo tabeta kansou wa/
How did you feel when you first ate Sushi?

/hajimete kare ga waratteiru no wo mita/
I saw he lauging for the first time.

Speaking of which, "for the first time" cannot always be translated as 初めて. Please check out this post to see how we say it in Japanese.

Now I want to introduce another verb which is closely related to 始める. Let's see an example sentence to begin with.

/mousugu shingakki ga hajimaru/
The new semester will start soon.
*もうすぐ /mousugu/ soon, before long
*新学期(しんがっき)new semester
*始(はじ)まる /hajimaru/ to start, to begin

It's confusing, I know. 始める and 始める, and they're both translated as "to start" in English. Though we never say 勉強を始まる or 新学期が始める. What's the difference?

These verbs are usually explained as (1)transitive verbs and (2)intransitive verbs. Well, I won't (can't!) give you a detailed grammatical explanation but you'll find a lot of website and Youtube videos if you want to know more about it. :P

I give you some example sentences and its simple explanation!

(1)transitive verb ―勉強を始める
It is a verb which has an object. is a particular which comes after the object.
ドア(どあ)を開(あ)ける /doa wo akeru/ open the door
予定(よてい)を決(き)める /yotei wo kimeru/ decide the plan
成績(せいせき)を上(あ)げる /seiseki wo ageru/ improve the grade
声(こえ)を出(だ)す /koe wo dasu/ utter a voice
All of these sentences omit the subjects, but it's talking about the action what the subject does.

(2)intransitive verb ―新学期が始まる
It just describes a situation. It usually implies that the occurance or movement is not intended.
ドア(どあ)が開(あ)く /doa ga aku/
―The door opens but the one who opens the door isn't the speaker, or the speaker doesn't intend to open the door but it does.
予定(よてい)が決(き)まる /yotei ga kimaru/
―It doesn't matter who decided the plan but the speaker is talking about what happened on the plan.
成績(せいせき)が上(あ)がる /seiseki ga agaru/
声(こえ)が出(で)る /koe ga deru/
―This sentence implies that the voice comes out without intention.

Let's recap the point:
- A transitive verb has an object, and the particular is following after the object. It's talking about the action.
- An intransitive verb sometimes imply that it happened by itself or it's not intended by the speaker. It's talking about the situation.

transitive verb intransitive verb
(〜を)始める 始まる
(〜を)開ける 開く
(〜を)決める 決まる
(〜を)上げる 上がる
(〜を)出す 出る

<< Quiz >>
Let's say that you're a teacher and going to start the class. Which sentence is correct?
1) 授業(じゅぎょう)を始(はじ)める。
2) 授業(じゅぎょう)が始(はじ)まる。
*授業 /jugyou/ class, lesson
Incidentally, from students' point of view, which sentence is more appropriate?

You're watching a movie and it was so heart warming that impressed you a lot. You found that a tear's running down your cheek. Which sentence is more appropreate?
1) 涙(なみだ)を出した。
2) 涙(なみだ)が出た。
*涙 /namida/ tears
*出した(past form)=出す // 出た(past form)=出る

That's all for today! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment! Thank you for reading. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Never Stand Someone Up!!

Do you think you are forgetful?

I am a very forgetful person, indeed. I usually write a memo so as not to miss appointments, but the other day I even forgot to review the memo and I stood my friend up! X( I feel bad. I should have set a reminder.

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/yakusoku wo suppokashite shimatta/

*約束(やくそく) /yakusoku/ an appointment, an agreement, a promise
*すっぽかす /suppokasu/ to blow someone off, to stand someone up, to miss an appointment
すっぽかされる is its passive form
*しまった /shimatta/ is the past form of しまう /shimau/
We add this word after verbs to show that we did something bad or cannot help doing things that actually we shouldn't have done.

/ano hito no kao wo miruto waratte shimau/
(I know I shouldn't but) I can't help laughing when I see that person.

/mizu wo koboshite shimatta/
(I feel bad because) I spilled water.

So you can indicate that you feel bad by adding しまう/しまった after the verb!

Here's one more expression which means "to get stood up", すっぽかされる;
待(ま)ちぼうけを食(く)らう or 待ちぼうけを食う
/machibouke wo kurau/ or /machibouke wo kuu/

Speaking of which, it was a heavy snowy day when I got stood up by my boyfriend. I was waiting outside in snow for an hour... Did he finally show up or did I give up waiting and left? I don't remember.

/yuki no naka, ichi jikan no machibouke wo kuratta/
I got stood up for an hour in snow.

Have you ever got stood up?
That's all for today. Be careful not to miss any appointments! (I will!) Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave your comment. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Don't see my feet!!

Well, when did I write my blog last time? July 1st? I have been slacking off for a month...
The reader might have been gone away. :'( I wish you guys will come and read my blog again.

It's not an excuse but I really haven't been feeling well these months. Now I feel better, so I'd like to start learning languages which I've held off for a while: Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese, Persian and English.

I just found Pontia's blog My Persian Courner has updated. Her blog introduces Persian culture, language and beautiful places in Iran. She also shares some Persian musics with its lyrics and English translations. I love it! :)

Today I learned a new word from her latest post which means something is more expensive than it should be. (Visit her blog if you want to know how to say it in Persian!) In Japanese, we say it as ぼったくり /bottakuri/.

/sorette bottakuri ja nai?/
Isn't it a rip-off?

Here's one more expression which is related to this word.

/ashimoto wo miru/
足(あし)/ashi/ means "leg" or "foot", and the meaning of 足元(あしもと)/ashimoto/ ranges over "step" and "underfoot". 見(み)る /miru/ is a verb "to see" or "to watch". So it literally means "to see one's feet".

If I said 足元を見られた, it means that I was taken advantage of my helpless condition. Let's say I was walking on my way home from shopping. I carried a big shopping bag full of fruit and vegetables but I was still a long way from home. I was exhausted but there was hardly any taxi. Fortunately, I found a taxi and hailed it. The taxi driver said it's 3000 yen, but I (and the driver) knew it was much more expensive than it should be. But I had no choice but to accept it because I was too tired to walk home. The driver "saw my feet".

Have you ever had 足元を見られた experience?
That's all for today! thank you for reading and feel free to leave your comment! :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Feeling Sluggish in Summer

I found an interesting video on Youtube! :D

I don't feel like doing anything because of the summer heat... *sigh* Actually, I'm still 体調が悪い these days. Well, but I have to cheer myself up!

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/natsubate de karada ga darui/
The summer heat got me feel sluggish and unenergetic.

*夏バテ /natsubate/ suffering from the summer heat, getting exhausted from summer heat

Do you feel unenergetic, tired and worn out during summer? Or if you're losing your appetite because of the summer heat, that must be 夏バテ!!

夏 /natsu/ summer + バテる/bateru/ (to be worn out) = 夏バテ

*体 /karada/ body

*だるい /darui/ to feel sluggish, to feel heavy

That's all for today! Thank you for reading!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Something's wrong with...?

I think summer is the coldest season in Taiwan. It's indeed boiling hot outside, BUT, once you get on a bus or train, you will understand what I mean. It's freezing cold!!! Guess what will happen if you're exposed to the extreme temperature swings everyday? Well, I feel sick...

So, today I'm going to tell you about how to say "not feeling well" in Japanese.
These are the 3 most common expressions.

(1) 具合(ぐあい)が悪(わる)い。/guai ga warui/

(2) 調子(ちょうし)が悪い。/choushi ga warui/

(3) 体調(たいちょう)が悪い。/taichou ga warui/

All these phrases can be translated as "I'm not feeling well". Let's see their nuances of meaning.

(1) 具合 and 調子 can also be used for machines but 体調 can't.

体調 is only used when we talk about health or body condition, as it has 体 (=body) in its word. 調 of 体調 is of 調子, which simply means "condition".

体調 = 体(body)+ 調子(condition)

(2) We use 調子 when we're talking about its performance.

Then what's the difference between 具合 and 調子? It's just my opinion, but I guess 調子 also means "performance" as well. I couldn't find the dictionary which says it means "performance", though.

Let's say, you are good at playing tennis. One day you're palying with your friend but you can't play as good as you usually do. Your friend would ask you:

/doushita no? kyou wa choushi ga warui ne/
What's wrong? You are not yourself today.

Since he's talking about your performance, it can't be 具合 in this case.

Or, if you play very well in your match, your tennis coach would say:
/sono choushi/
Way to go!!

You cannot say その具合(ぐあい). It sounds very strange.

(3) 具合 sees its condition. 

It basically means "condition". We often use it with other verbs.

/shigoto no susumi guai wa dou/
How's your work coming along?
進む(go ahead)+ 具合 = how it goes, the degree of progress

/niku no yake guai ga choudo ii/
The meat cooked just right.
焼く(grill, bake, fire, roast)具合 = how it cooked, the degree of doneness
You can also say いい具合(ぐあい)に焼けている。

具合(ぐあい)がいい / 具合(ぐあい)が悪い also mean "convenient / inconvenient".
/ima sono hanashi wo sareru to guai ga warui/
It's inconvenient for me to talk about it right now.

I think the key of the meaning of 具合 would be 合 (=to fit, to suit, to adjust, to match). 具合が悪い indicates that it doesn't fit what you want. You don't feel as well as you usually do. Or the schedule dosen't suit you.

Well, that's all for today. Thank you for reading!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Loan Words in Japanese

*Japanese word of the day*

Guess what this word means! As you see, it consists of 3 Kanji characters: 外(がい) + 来(らい) + 語(ご). Perhaps you've learnt each Kanji of it. , which is also read as /soto/, means "outside".
You know the verb 来(く)る /kuru/, "to come", don't you? And the last Kanji , it means "words" or "language". 日本語(にほんご) Japanese, 英語(えいご) English, 中国語(ちゅうごくご) Chinese...

The words came from outside? Yes, 外来語 means "loan words"!

There're many 外来語 in Japanese. Most of them are from English words. Here're some tips to make good use of them to build your vocabulary!

(1) They're written in Katakana

/atarashiku oopun shita kafe de, ranchi setto wo oodaa shita./
I ordered lunch set in the newly opened cafe.

オープン(おーぷん) /o-pun/ open
カフェ(かふぇ) /kafe/ cafe
ランチセット(らんちせっと) /ranchi setto/ lunch set
オーダー(おーだー) /oodaa/ order

I do recommend you to learn Katakana since it is written everywhere!

(2) Just add vowels

In Japanese, consonants aren't pronounced independently.  That's why all sylabbles in Japanese , except 5 vowels あ/a/ い/i/ う/u/ え/e/ お/o/ and ん/n/, are consist of a consonant and a vowel. You'll get it if you see 50 sounds table!

/sumairu wa puraisu resu/
Smile is priceless!

スマイル(すまいる) /sumairu/ smile
プライスレス(ぷらいすれす) /puraisu resu/ priceless

It seems that if the first syllable of the word is sequence of consonants, like "smile" or "price", we tend to add the vowel sound "u". The pronounciation of "s" of "smile" becomes /su/, and "p" of "price" becomes /pu/. Isn't it? :D

Also, when a consonant ends a word, we have to add a vowel to pronounce it. The word "lunch" ends with "ch", but we pronounce it as /ranchi/. Let's see other loan words that end in "ch" or "tch".

ビーチ(びーち)/biichi/ beach
キャッチ(きゃっち) /kyacchi/ catch
コーチ(こーち)/koochi/ coach
スクラッチ(すくらっち)/sukuracchi/ scratch

Now I found that the pronunciation of "ch" wich is at the end of the word is usually changes into チ/chi/ in Japanese.

How about the words ending in "t"?
ポリグロット(ぽりぐろっと)/porigurotto/ polyglot
リスト(りすと)/risuto/ list
ホット(ほっと)/hotto/ hot
カット(かっと)/katto/ cut

And the words ending in "s" or "x"?
サーカス(さーかす)/saakasu/ circus
ミックス(みっくす)/mikkusu/ mix
リラックス(りらっくす)/rirakkusu/ relax
ワックス(わっくす)/wakkusu/ wax

Yeah, there must be some patterns!

The words ending in "l".
コントロール(こんとろーる)/kontorooru/ controll
ルール(るーる)/ruuru/ rule
ショッピングモール(しょっぴんぐもーる)/shoppingu mooru/ shopping mall

The syllable ん/n/ is kind of speciall. It's a consonant without vowels but you can use it at the end of the word.
カン(かん)/kan/ can
トーン(とーん)/toon/ tone

If the original word ends in "ng", it will be ん/n/ or んぐ/ngu/.
バン!(ばん)/ban/ bang!
ピンポン(ぴんぽん)/pinpon/ pingpong
ホンコン(ほんこん)/honkon/ Hongkong
キングコング(きんぐこんぐ)/kingu kongu/ king kong

And "m" inside the word is also pronounced as ん/n/.
ハンバーガー(はんばーがー)/hanbaagaa/ hamburger
コンプレックス(こんぷれっくす)/konpurekkusu/ complex
*In Japanese コンプレックス usually indicates "inferiority complex"
コンピューター(こんぴゅーたー)/konpyuutaa/ computer

How do you pronounce these words as loan words in Japanese?

(1) Princess
(2) Camp
(3) Punch

That's all for today! Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you like this post! Please try the quize and feel free to leave a comment. See you again ; )

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Who Gives It To Whom?

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/oshiete kurete arigatou/
Thank you for letting me know!

The other day, my friend asked me that what くれて in this sentence means.
I think it's a very good question, so I'd like to share my answer with you guys. ;)

You know ありがとう/arigatou/ means "thank you", and 教(おし)える/oshieru/ means "to teach" or "to tell". This phrase can be translated as "thank you for teaching me" or "I appreciate your advice".

教えてくれて is consist of two verbs, 教える and くれる.
Let me show you some example sentences to see what the verb くれる/kureru/ means when it is used alone.

/ojiichan wa itsumo okashi wo kureru/
Grandpa always gives me some snacks.

/kareshi ga purezento wo kureta/
My boyfriend gave me a present.
*Here, くれた is the past tense of くれる.

/haha ga okozukai wo kureta/
My mother gave me some allowance.

/hayaku mizu wo kure/
Give me water quickly!!
*くれ is the imperative (command) form of くれる. It sounds very rude. If you want something, you'd better to use the polite form of it, ください.

/reshiito wo kudasai/
Please give me a receipt.

Now, did you notice that the object of くれる is always "me"?
Grandpa gives me blablabla, my boyfriend gave me blablabla, please give me blablabla... You don't have to add 私に/watasi ni/ "to me" when you use くれる because I know くれる always indicates that the speaker is the one who's given something.

But, in the other words, くれる basically cannot be used when the object is not yourself. It sounds a bit strange if you say 母が妹におこづかいをくれた. Sometimes we'd say like this but it implies another meaning.

Well, then how should I say "to give something to someone else"?

In this case, you should use あげる/ageru/ instead.

/haha ga imouto ni okozukai wo ageta/
My mother gave my sister some allowance.

Both くれる and あげる mean "to give", but the point of view is totally different. Let's look at some example sentences of あげる.

/ato de ageru ne/
I'll give it to you later.

/inu ni tamanegi wo agete wa ikenai/
You must not give a dog onions.

/mado kara pankuzu wo ageta/
I gave (fed) crumbs through the window.

You know, Japanese language often omit the subject of the sentence. So it might be "I gave crumbs through the window" or "An old lady gave crumbs through the window" or somebody else did. It depends on the context. Also, this sentence doesn't mention that to whom I (or somebody else) gave crumbs.

Please have a look at the sentence below.

/mado kara pankuzu wo kureta/

Now I changed the verb of the sentence (あげたくれた). You still don't know the subject of the sentence, but you can guess who got crumbs. It's me (the speaker of the sentence)! As I said, くれる suggests that the speaker is the one who gets something.

We won't say あげる when the speaker is the one who gets something. So 彼氏が私にプレゼントをあげる sounds unnatural.

And one more important property of this verb―gratitude! :)
When I say パンくずをくれた, it implies that I appreciate the one who gave me crumbs. Maybe I was too hungry? Or I love crumbs? Who cares! XD Anyway, this verb くれる shows that you feel thankful, or you are happy to get something.

What to say when you're not happy to get something? Or you don't want to use the words which contain gratitude? For example, your dad gave you a thick math book for your birthday. If you love math (do you?!), then you can say:

/chichi ga tanjoubi ni suugaku no hon wo kureta/
My father gave me a thick math book. (and I'm happy to get it)

But if you don't like math and you're not happy at all to get such a present, you should say like this:

/chichi kara tanjoubi ni suugaku no hon wo moratta/

もらう/morau/ is a verb which means "to get" or "to receive". So the subject of this sentence is "I", but I just omitted it. The full sentence is: 私(わたし)は父(ちち)から誕生日(たんじょうび)に数学(すうがく)の本(ほん)をもらった You can say もらう orからもらう. Here I used から to avoid repetition of (父誕生日に...).

See more explanation of から!

By the way, I guess you've learnt ください as "please". Yes, it means "please" when it's used with other verbs. You can also use くれ to ask someone to do something, but it sounds arrogant.

/mado wo shimete kudasai/
Please close the window.

/issho ni kite kudasai/
Please come with me.

/hottoite kure/
Leave me alone, please.

OK, now let's look at the first sentence 教えてくれてありがとう. What くれる of 教えてくれる means? The role of くれる isn't same as ください in above sentences, I think.

Let's compare two sentences.

(1) 友達(ともだち)が私(わたし)におもしろいゲーム(げーむ)を教(おし)えた。
/tomodachi ga watashi ni omoshiroi geemu wo oshiete kureta/

(2) 友達(ともだち)がおもしろいゲーム(げーむ)を教(おし)えてくれた
/tomodachi ga omoshiroi geemu wo oshiete kureta/

Both can be translated as "My friend told me about an interesting game." What are the differences between them? I want you to remember that くれる implies the speaker feel thankful about it. You can see that the speaker of (2) probably feels happy to know about the game. Or, he thinks what his 友達 did was good for him.

Do you get the picture? :)

/ane ga issho ni kite kureta/
My sister came with me. (And I appreciate about it)

/kare wa itsumo watashi ni hanashi kakete kureru/
He always speaks to me. (And I think he's very kind)

/kite kurete ureshii yo/
I'm glad you came.

We often use it with other verbs when we ask something casually.

/chotto mado wo akete kureru/
Can you open the window? (And I'd be appreciate if you'd do that)

/kono bunshou wo naoshite kureru/
Can you correct these sentences for me? (And it'd be very helpful if you could)

Sometimes it sounds a biiiiit arrogant. So we tend to use くれない, which is the negative form of くれる. If you want to make it more polite, you can say くれますか instead of くれる. And also, くれませんか sounds more soft.

Agh, I know it's confusing though...

くれる? < くれない?くれますか くれませんか?
Casual  -----------------------------> Polite
Which should I use? Well, it depends on how close you guys are. :P

/raishuu no nichiyou, boku to deeto shite kuremasen ka/
Will you please go on a date with me?

/isogashii kara, mata kondo ni shite kurenai/
I'm busy, can't it be at some other time?

By the way, when Japanese people say また今度 "maybe next time", most of the time it implies that she doesn't want to go. :(

Ohh, I wrote a lot! I did it! haha
I hope it would be of your help. :) Please let me know if you have any questions or if you want more examples. Thank you for reading, 読(よ)んでくれてありがとう!;)

See ya!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hooked On!!

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/saikin, e wo kaku no ni hamatterun dayone/
I'm recently hooked on painting a picture!!

*最近(さいきん) /saikin/ recently, these days

*絵(え) /e/ a drawing, a painting, a sketch, a illustration
絵(え)を描(か)く /e wo kaku/ to draw/paint a picture

*~にハマ(はま)ってる /...ni hamatte iru/ to be hooked on, to be into
When we speak, this  is often omitted.

You may thought what between 絵を描く and ハマってる means. It's one of the particles! It's added after a verb to change it into a noun. Sometimes we use こと instead of . (Or, we use instead of こと sometimes?? I'm not sure...)

◎ 絵を描く の にハマってる。
◎ 絵を描く こと にハマってる。
× 絵を描く に ハマってる。

Read this post to know the other usage of . :)
の=of ?

Actually, I'm into painting with oil pastels! I recently upload some of my paintings on Pinterest. Please visit my page if you're interested. :3

And I want to add one more phrase today.
Guess what it means, and let me know your answer! haha

By the way, I found a very interesting blog post!!
How to Write in Japanese - A Beginner's Guide
This is a step-by-step guide to reading and writing Japanese, Kana and Kanji.

That's all for today! Thank you for reading. See you next time! :)

Related post:
Kanji Lesson
Japanese is easier than you think!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How long do you stay?

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/nanhaku(nanpaku) suru yotei?/
How many nights do you plan to stay?

/sanpaku-yokka dayo/
For 4 days and 3 nights.

You can say only 三泊(3 nights) instead of 三泊四日(4 days and 3 nights), but we usually say the latter. means "to stay" and it's pronounced as はく/haku/ or ぱく/paku/.

・一泊(いっく)二日(ふつか) 2 days and 1 night
・二泊(にはく)三日(みっか) 3 days and 2 nights
・三泊(さんく)四日(よっか) 4 days and 3 nights
・四泊(よんはく/よんく)五日(いつか) 5 days and 4 nights
・五泊(ごはく)六日(むいか) 6 days and 5 nights

*~泊する/...haku(paku) suru/ to stay ... nights

*予定(よてい)/yotei/ a plan
*~する予定 /...suru yotei/ I'm going to ...

/konshuu no nichi-youbi nanika yotei aru?/
Do you have any plans for this Sunday?
I'm going to hang out with my friends.

I took a trip to Matsu Island, which is one of the small islands in Taiwan. It was a 4-day trip (三泊四日). I stayed in a pretty village, Chinbe Village, which has a beach right in front of it.

Chinbe Village

The hotel I stayed
It was foggy on the last day. All flights cancelled due to dense fog, so I tried to get a ferry ticket instead. It would take 7 hours from the island by ferry but it was the only way to go back. There were a lot of people in the small port. It was exhausting and stressful... I couldn't buy a ticket after all. They ran just one ferry a day, and they were close the next day.

I heard that there was another route to go back to Taiwan: Take a ferry to China first, and then take a plane to Taiwan. So I tried anything I could do. It was hard but a great practice speaking Chinese! :'D Unfortunately, the ferry also cancelled. I had to wait until the fog was cleared. I ended up staying 2 more days!

Anyway, it was a nice trip.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Learn From Mistakes

/shippai wa seikou no moto/

This is a Japanese proverb, which means "Every failure is a stepping stone to success".
Do you have the same proverb in your native language? :)

Making a mistake isn't bad at all. You can learn through mistakes. Not only your own mistakes, but also other people's mistakes. I found an interesting blog post which explains how to learn pronunciation/grammar/native-like communication skill while speaking your native language, by observing other people's mistakes.

Learn Better Pronunciation While Speaking Your Native Language

It also mentions about Japanese language/people.

My Japanese friends add extra syllables to words. “McDonald’s” becomes “Macu Donarudosu.” It’s useful as you can instantly speak hundreds of words of English origin in Japanese simply by sticking to the consonant-vowel pattern in the Japanese syllabary.

It reminds me of our English teacher in junior high school. He got angry when we speak English with strong Japanese accent like "あい あむ あ すとぅーでんと" (can you guess what it means?). XD

Japanese speakers will say “foreign country people,” an awkward way of saying “people from other countries.” The direct translation from Japanese causes this — gaikokujin — literally, foreign country people. Remembering the direct Japanese translation into English actually helps me remember the word in Japanese.

Speaking of which, some Japanese students often make the same kind of mistake, like "I am like dogs", when they should say "I like dogs." It's funny, huh? I guess it is because they're taught that be-verbs are translated as "~は・・・です". "A is B" becomes "AはBです". They directly translate Japanese sentence "私は犬が好きです (= I like dogs)" into English. :(

Actually, "~は・・・です" is not a be-verb. We add です at the end of the sentence to make the sentence polite. は is so called the particle which shows the topic of the sentence.

Also, the word order in Japanese is really different from English! I've written about the difference between the Japanese word order and the English word order. Here's the example sentence I wrote.

昨日 / 公園で / 父が /  寝ているのを / 見た。
I saw my father sleeping at the park yesterday.

Japanese speakers describe things from circumference, while English speakers center its subject and its verb.

When I speak Spanish, I don’t hesitate to jump into conversation quickly. However, when I speak Japanese, I allow a bit more room to breathe between speakers.

 I simply used the fillers I had picked up from observing Japanese conversation — “so, so, so” to agree and “ehhh?” to show surprise.

It's considered as rude to jump into conversation or interrupt when someone else is speaking, but we give あいづち frequently during conversation to show that we pay attention. Here's the post I wrote about it!

You can find a lot of "interesting mistakes" in lang-8, where many language learners post an entry in their target language to get corrections from native speakers. I've written about common mistakes in Japanese which I found through correcting my friends' entries.

That's all for today! Thank you for reading. :)

*Japanese Word of the Day*
It's okay! No worries! No problems!