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Thread: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

  1. #21

    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    Well Sarah, I'm not really sure where you figured I was making assumptions about your Japanese ability. Also, I never said that the rest of you were saying "only do this" nor did I really infer it, unless you'd like to find a quote from my post where I directly make that comparison. As a matter of fact, what I've discerned after a very short stay on these forums is that there are many knowledgeable and skilled Japanese speakers here that have managed to cleave a way into Japanese society through perseverance and hard work and by taking the path most lazy foreigners are too afraid to walk. My friends have always corrected my Japanese for what its worth. You also mentioned that people who speak too casually and "can't read shit" can't function as a member of Japanese society.

    I find that interesting for a couple of reasons, primarily that A) In Japan even more so than America who you know can get you a great job. So being able to speak well is going to be better than turning in a piece of paper noting your kanji ability. B) Even office work in Japan isn't that difficult kanji wise as most employers even in larger companies (like Mitsubishi Electric for example) give foreign workers a little leeway/time in learning kanji. Seeing as how a lot of jobs require their new Japanese employees time to study industry and 社内 specific terms, usually no different is expected of the foreign workers. Let's face it, learning kanji is basically a matter of remembering characters that match up with words you should already know if your language ability is up to par. If you've been a competent speaker for years, its extremely easy to memorize kanji attached to words who's meaning you inherently know without much thought. Its much more difficult if you've never encountered the word before and you have to attach an image and meaning to it as you learn it. So in my experience, being a better speaker primes you for even easier kanji study.

    Funny, you're in Kobe and I'm not sure I've ever met you as I avoid most foreigners in that town slinking around the Hub in Sannomiya. I do like however that you gave me trouble for making assumptions about your Japanese levels and then you imply in your last sentence that I probably don't have a well-rounded grasp of the language.

    I passed JLPT level 1 last year. I've also taken keigo and business manners classes for over a year in Japan through a course designed for... wait for it... Japanese students getting ready for the workplace. So my keigo is even better than the average Japanese youth's (which they can barely speak it at all, so that's not much of an accomplishment.) And in the end you know why I think I've succeeded so well with the language, especially with meeting people for work and communicating with others? Because of that time I spent as a beginner speaking rather than studying kanji. 一期一会 and all that jazz right? I've gotten more work through コネ whom I met through chance encounters at bars and impressed with my speaking ability than through resumes sent in through old fashioned company searches. The ability to show you're similar to them, understand their culture, and that you can carry on a funny conversation and entertain them for but an hour or two in their own language is going to earn their trust and make you seem as a much more interesting addition to their company much faster than a paper showing how much bloody English you've taught at whatever two-bit eikaiwa every degree and non-degree holder gaijin in the country has worked at. A joke over a beer may very well outweigh that slip of paper showing you passed JLPT Level X. I'm talking about my personal experiences here, but I would place speaking far and above any other skill related to Japanese. Again, this is my personal experience, I don't expect you to have the same thoughts as I.

    Of the entire spectrum of Japanese learning I would have to say that kanji is the easiest, as its only a matter of rote memorization and muscle memory when you're actually writing it. Having studied Mandarin for the past 4 years didn't hurt either I suppose, though there are discrepancies between Simplified and Traditional script. Not sure if you've passed it yet or what, but if you can pass JLPT 2 then you can definitely pass level 1 as all it is is a glorified kanji test, so in other words, passing 1 isn't exactly an accomplishment.

    Now in the digital land of the internet anyone can be a liar and anyone can make up their credentials, so I suppose what I just said you can take with a grain of salt. Upon joining these forums I never intended on mentioning my Japanese ability to the rest of you as I saw it to be irrelevant. Irrelevant, that is, until you just suggested that I didn't have a very firm grasp on the language. Which by the way, is the only reason I have even a slightly aggressive tone in my reply. I don't like speaking like that on forums full of generally well mannered people like these forums, but you naturally assumed I was talking about those on this forum which I wasn't at all and then you had the nerve to suggest my speaking ability wasn't well-rounded. I hope next time you can be more civil instead of insulting. You're a senior member too, you should know better.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    Quote Originally Posted by Abide
    If you're going to study kanji, study kanji, but do it with passion.

    Abide's Handbook for Success

    Quote Originally Posted by Abide
    There are some other foreigners in Japan who may try to speak to you in English. Cut them out of your life. They are deadweights who will drag you down and sabotage your ambitions. When I came to Japan, I severed contact with my gaijin family and, using my expert conversational skills, acquired a new Japanese family, the Tanakas. But you can't stop there. I also delivered my gaijin cat, Mr. Whiskers, to the pound, and acquired a new Japanese cat, Momo.
    Last edited by Wakatta; June 28th, 2009 at 22:07.
    Quote Originally Posted by katsudon View Post
    Principal: 'genki no nai shapenaa'
    Me: *giggle*
    Principal (turns to me, says): Very old sharpener. I am not as old as that sharpener.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wakatta View Post
    My what a negative nelly. To live in Japan without foreign friends is to deny yourself a certain kind of happiness that only they can provide. I suppose I would have a lot more foreign friends in the country if they weren't of such poor caliber compared to my friends back home. I'm not interested in meeting more ex-pats with 2 college degrees that somehow couldn't find any work in their home country and decided to join "prestigious" JET so they could go chase Japanese tail.

    Anyhow...I'm going to go drink more.

  4. #24
    VIP UPGRAYEDD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    You're so lucky you get to hang out with quality Japanese people instead of old mean racist farmers.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by UPGRAYEDD View Post
    You're so lucky you get to hang out with quality Japanese people instead of old mean racist farmers.
    I understand where you're coming from. Meeting someone in Tokyo or Osaka is completely different than out in the boonies. Of course, I think the same could be said for a Japanese living in New York and then trying to make friends somewhere in the Deep South.

    As I understand it, a large portion of JETs get placed in the inaka right? That's definitely a setback if you're wanting to form long-lasting friendships with older locals. Not impossible, but still a hurdle.

  6. #26
    FiercestCalm
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    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    Yeah, the deep south is pretty much devoid of anyone of intelligence, personality, interest, or anything worthwhile, right?

    Sorry, abide, but you really come across as annoyingly condescending. I'm sure everyone is aware that they can practice Japanese by being around Japanese people and if they aren't, reading your suggestions probably isn't going to change their mind.

  7. #27
    ITIL's Favorite Beaner! Gusuke's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FiercestCalm View Post
    Yeah, the deep south is pretty much devoid of anyone of intelligence, personality, interest, or anything worthwhile, right?

    Sorry, abide, but you really come across as annoyingly condescending. I'm sure everyone is aware that they can practice Japanese by being around Japanese people and if they aren't, reading your suggestions probably isn't going to change their mind.
    Don't you know?

    Japanese ability, and being around Japanese people exclusively can make a white man's small dick even bigger!

  8. #28

    Default

    Aww, you're from NC so you took offense did you? My forum tag might say I'm from Illinois, but most of my family is from Texas and I'm in Arkansas as I type this. You just naturally assume that Deep South meets the entire South? You know exactly where I'm talking about when I say that, the same little racist towns where African-Americans are only considered as cheap manual labor and not as everyday citizens. I'm not talking about Little Rock, New Orleans, or any major city and you knew that when you read my post. I was using that as a comparison to some of those places in the Japanese country-side where nary a gaijin is to be found, and when they do show up a lot of the older locals do not respond kindly.

    Except in Japan, rather than with racist or crude remarks, they respond with apathy.

    Don't say you're "sorry" in the same sentence that you say my posts come across as condescending. If you want I could reply like a lot of these other posters and be a genki-dipshit for your amusement. How would that suit you? Would you like me to reply with a super-positive attitude and a gusto that says, "Gee, everyone on here seems so well informed, I don't even need to add my own two cents!" ? How would you like that?

    See, I want you to read this next paragraph very slowly so that it all sinks in (see how condescending that is?)

    Text is deceiving. When we read forum posts, based on the mood we're in at the time, the user's name (mine doesn't seem that friendly I suppose), their avatar, and the rest of the thread leading up those posts, we can insert our own idea of what that poster was intending when they typed up their little thoughts. Here's the inherent problem, in our heads we put a little voice with that text, and depending on who's reading it, it can come off sounding like a smartass, or snarky, or just plain angry.

    Now I'll be honest, I've been a bit snarky when replying to some people. But when I've been saying things like, "Spend more time with Japanese people" that's not me being condescending. Further, I'm not stating the obvious to be an asshole either. I am stating, or in this case re-stating what others before me have said so that there's more emphasis behind the idea. Maybe a person reading that really thought they needed to spend less time with kanji books and more time making new friends but were on the fence about it, but after reading a couple more posts from the users on ITIL reinforcing those thoughts, finally decided to give it their all.

    You're right, my stating something like, "Spend more time Japanese people" probably isn't going to change their minds, but its worth a shot. There are a lot of views and ideas thrown around on this board that probably aren't going to change anyone's mind but to the people posting them, they're important.

    I've been driving for 10 hours today, I'm tired, and the last thing I need is you saying you're "sorry" and then calling me an asshole. And now I'm being one because I went to the trouble of posting this, so point proven sir Guess you win this round.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    So.. it seems that I might be off topic by answering the original question, but I highly recommend playing slime forest from Project LRNJ: Learn Japanese RPG for studying Japanese writing. It's basically an old school style rpg that introduces the kana and kanji through its flashcard-like battles. It's cute and silly.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Mike_Davis's Avatar
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    Making sure that the amount of time spent studying daily equals or exceeds the amount of time spent crafting 1000+ word forum posts can greatly augment one's Japanese ability in a surprisingly short span.

    I recommend variety shows. That's what first got me from "unintelligible textbook learner" to "stereotypical foreign comic-relief sidekick" level.
    Oh, no! My cola!

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