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!