August 31, 2007

Did I sound hopeful last post?

Cause I am in total 絶望 right now! I took a look at and made a quick set of vocabulary lists for the JPLT. It will be a miracle if I can get the 2kyu vocab down in time, what with 38 lessons of 100 words. Have mercy...

the good news: tons of these are already in my anki list and have been studied. Many of the kanji and their nuances aren't new to me.

the plan: Make kanji-only cards for anki (no definition backwards card pairs) to facilitate fast assimilation.

It's hard to gage progress

I often get down, not realizing how much progress I have made in the language; it feels like the only way I am progressing is in reading skills. But yesterday, as I was filmed for a commercial for an English conversation class, I realized that it was ten times easier than last year. I only messed up my lines once. There is hope to learn this language.
Soon a little bird called kakitori-kun will arrive to help me in my new goal to take the 2kyu Japanese test in December. But 1kyu is looking improbable right now.

August 29, 2007

And there is a cat

Hunger surrounds the drop of goodness

What's on my mind, acourding to them. Check your name.

August 20, 2007

August 18, 2007

Pumpkin pasta

What can I say, カボチャ is a very prominent plant here, and the only substitute I have for squash.

Half a japanese pumpkin, sliced thin
Green and red peppers
gram masala

lemon juice
parmesan cheese

Short, twisty pasta or bowtie pasta

Cook the vegies on med-low heat, using oil.
Boil the pasta. I found a brand that cooks in two minutes.
Drain the pasta, stir it into the veggies with oil and spices
sprinkle in lemon juice
Enjoy. I find the sweetness of the pumpkin compliments the lemon.

August 14, 2007


We call it a

The children have heads crowned with leaves. I am told that they are gods. They look more of Greek or Roman than of Japanese deity ilk to me.

"The fire is sacred; a symbol of friendship and unity" says the eager college student.
"What do they call this kind of fire?" I ask.
"They call it... a campfire."
"Oh." I think back to earlier when a teacher laughed at me for saying that if I went camping with even a couple friends, we would have a fire. Campfire: mundane katakana word, bigger ceremonial implications. The fire week cook our food on is much smaller, separate, and surrounded by cement.
This article helped me understand ritual in everyday Japanese life a little bit better. It also helped me understand why I have to come to an empty teachers room every day during the summer.
I was going to write about how the Japanese are obsessed with harmony, but that will do for now, pig, that'll do.

August 7, 2007

The cuteness make your head a'splode

All we are saying is give peace a chance.

Using goats to memorize kanji

隠れる: to hide. I think of the left radical as a butt...
The goats meme: an image to hide from
Using this knowledge, turn the kanji into a picture with your imagination and bam!: horrible mnemonic that is stuck with me forever, just like the original image.

If you don't get this post, trust me, you don't want to. Don't google it.
Other bad mnemonics:
皮膚= HI (he) has FUgly skin.
床= YU KAn't park a tree on my floor.
芝生=SHE BUfFUs up the lawn.