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Thread: Japanese

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    Was just wondering for those who are coming towards their end of their first year how has learning Japanese gone. How much did you know when you got to Japan, how much have you improved or not improved, how much have you worked on it and other random thoughts.

    Adam

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    I thought that living in the inaka of the inaka was going to force me to use it all the time and I'd learn loads more, but no... there is no one to talk to. Little old ladies with hump backs that hate gaijins and scream at me when I walk by.... I have to get out of here...
    If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."

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    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    If you want to learn Japanese go to university.

    If you want to die a little more on the inside with each passing day come on the JET programme.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    I think it depends on the amount of effort you put into studying Japanese on your own, and also to what extent you want to assimilate into Japanese culture while you're there. For example, from what I can tell on ITIL, a lot of JETs don't put any effort to make any friends with Japanese people their age and instead either stay at home or hang out with only other JETs. That frankly is gonna get you nowhere, inaka or big city because if you have no reason to try and use the Japanese you're studying then it's just a waste of time.

    When I was in Japan, I ran into many foreigners that lived there for years (one of them for 6 years) and still couldn't speak a word because they only hung around with other foreigners. In my case, when I first went there for school, I could speak somewhat but after a year I was spewin' out Japanese like a natural because I hung out with mostly Japanese people (and of course my small clique of fellow gaijin). It also really helps if you join a club or activity in the community, because a.) the people in the club will love you for it and b.) it's tons of opportunity to speak Japanese no matter what your comprehension level is! Either way, if you chose not to assimilate to some degree, then you're going to end up bitching and complaining all the time about how much JET sucks.

    One thing I would recommend though, is pick yourself up a good quality electronic dictionary because this will come in so handy for learning Japanese both when you study it, and also when you see kanji on the street that you want to learn.

    Little old ladies with hump backs that hate gaijins and scream at me when I walk by....
    You're gonna find these kinda people no matter where you go, don't let them get you down. Just remember that these kinda people exist in your own culture too!

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    I skipped the Beginner's level of the JET language course and plowed into the Intermediate one. It's got some flaws but it helped me to be disciplined with study. I've also been enrolled in a community course for the last 6 months. It's run by volunteers and it's one-on-one tutoring. It cost 500 yen for 6 months once a week.
    I speak to my JTEs in English because their English is amazing and I'd be embarrassed to speak Japanese with them, but I speak to other staff in Japanese and they seem to appreciate my pathetic attempts.
    I can now understand train announcements, TV weather, some news etc. as far as listening skills go; and yesterday I booked a whole bunch of ryokans completely in Japanese - something I wouldn't have even had the courage to try when I first came here.
    My husband and I (he's Australian too) also study together and have a circle of Japanese friends we hang out with that gives us lots practise.
    Even though I'd lived here before I was pretty rusty, but I'm amazed at how the listening and speaking skills are returning.
    Kanji? Well, that's a whole other story...
    "Like anyone with a sliver of honesty in them I believe what I find I believe when I wake up each morning."
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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    My listening is probably my weakest point and kanji my strongest. I can usually get at least the gist of random stuff in the street if it's written down. I write in my work diary in Japanese though, i am much better at reading and writing than speaking and listening.

    I ordered a new bike (finally) yesterday from a shop in Japanese, organised my last trip to China with a japanese travel agent, chitchat with taxi drivers and that kind of stuff. I study pretty hard and am always having to use Japanese so my transactional Japanese is very good, I can get things in shops, order things, buy things, make small talk in the streets but really my spoken Japanese is a bit on the awful side because im more interested in kanji so study it more. I live in a place where tourists fear to tread so you either speak a bit or don't get anything you want so that's pushes it through.

    I study only by myself. I'm not interested in classes because they're too far away. People at work are genuinely happy to help if i ask them too and I help a few of them with their English so it's all quite warm and fuzzy.

    Edit: Couldn't speak a lick of Japgo before i got here but i did know some Chinese so i was familiar with kanji.

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    It would be nice to see threads posted like this in the Japanese forum

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    Delicious...and moist! kiwimusume's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samesong
    It would be nice to see threads posted like this in the Japanese forum
    I liked Ini's way of saying it better. :P

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    Resident ewok wicket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samesong
    It would be nice to see threads posted like this in the Japanese forum
    I thought that forum was for people to post IN Japanese.
    It was your idea, Samesong. Clarification?
    "Like anyone with a sliver of honesty in them I believe what I find I believe when I wake up each morning."
    Stephen Fry, The stars' tennis balls

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    Quote Originally Posted by wicket
    Quote Originally Posted by samesong
    It would be nice to see threads posted like this in the Japanese forum
    I thought that forum was for people to post IN Japanese.
    It was your idea, Samesong. Clarification?
    I assumed it was for all things related to learning Japanese...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwimusume
    Quote Originally Posted by wicket
    Quote Originally Posted by samesong
    It would be nice to see threads posted like this in the Japanese forum
    I thought that forum was for people to post IN Japanese.
    It was your idea, Samesong. Clarification?
    I assumed it was for all things related to learning Japanese...
    Exactly. If it has to do with Japanese, it belongs in that forum.


    Maybe that's not very clear. I'll talk to Paul and see if we can reword the forum description so it's more inviting for people to post in there.

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    > Little old ladies with hump backs

    I've often wondered why old people in Japan develop hump backs, do you recon it's from all that bowing and over time they can't fully straighten out their back?

    In England I can't remember the last time I saw a hump backs , instead old people can't seem to walk properly/fast and the old women have fat ankles. Probably from too much sitting down in an arm chair and drinking tea.

    On Japanese flights the Japanese elderly are often doing some extreme exercises and bending at the back of the plane.
    I just want to stretch my legs to not get deep thrombosis, not to perform full on aerobics! Cultures are difficult I guess.

  13. #13
    Cool Cutie Fighter! Hyakuman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ENAY
    I've often wondered why old people in Japan develop hump backs, do you recon it's from all that bowing and over time they can't fully straighten out their back?
    I think that it has something to with the fact that milk wasn't a part of their daily nutrition. Thus their spinal vertebrae and other bones (ie. them being really short) are not well developed and can't support the weight of the person.

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    I still think it's to do with bowing too much

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    OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE mteacher80's Avatar
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    it also has alot to do with rice planting and gardening.....hours upon hours of bending over to hand plant rice
    ☆★REAL EYES REALIZE REAL LIES★☆

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    This video is a little over the top, but it gives a good idea of what you should and shouldn't be doing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MqIV...%2Fpage%2F2%2F

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    I don't study hard, persay, but I try to read manga and signs when possible, talk to people that I come into contact with, and look things up when I really want to know how to say something. I rarely sit down and actually read a textbook or use flashcards. My Japanese went from close to nothing to knowing how to read maybe 250-300 kanji(multiple readings for most), being able to handle a basic conversation(or at least get my point across when I want to), and being able to understand a decent amount of TV shows, anime, and what people are saying to me.

    It really is a personal thing though, because about 80% of the people in my prefecture who came with nothing haven't learned anything. There are several who have surpassed me, especially one in particular whom has a tutor, studies hours a day, has many Japanese friends, and watches Japanese TV to learn. He has gotten amazingly good in just 10 months. Also though, we have gotten more than just language but culture as well. Some people haven't.

    It really is attitude...if you want to learn and are willing to put in the effort, there is no better place. Rather than assume you can't read a handout at school, try to translate it. Rather than have to ask you JTE to help you with everything, try to talk with and work with other teachers and students to figure things out. Go get lost in a random town and try to learn about it. Where to eat, have fun, special history, etc. You can go into a music shop or visit a small temple and ask about a local legend. Even if you have to use gestures, a dictionary, drawing paper and still don't understand 90% of it, you will learn a lot.

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    My Japanese went from near zero, to be able to hold down a conversation and get basic things done without too much trouble.

    I study fairly hard, and compared to the other JETs around me, my Japanese has progressed more than them. I'm not afraid to speak with Japanese people, which definetly helps. ^^

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeCarter
    If you want to learn Japanese go to university.

    If you want to die a little more on the inside with each passing day come on the JET programme.
    I did both. That makes me the King of the Losers.

    Can't wait to hang my CLAIR language course certificate on the wall next to my Japanese studies BA.

  20. #20
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    i spoke very very little japanese before i got here (at home i thought i spoke quite a bit, but when i got here realised that it was fuck-all).

    now i have organised a very complicated trip with a travel agent, done all the paperwork for buying a car, ordered food in restaurants, joined the gym, and chatted to my students, all in japanese. not fluent japanese at all, but it got the point across, which is... the point. :P

    my reading levels are the best, followed by writing, then listening, then speaking.

    i gave up on the clair course after the third book cuz i was too busy, but i do study kanji a lot, and i'm not scared to put myself into situations where i can't speak english, so i learn more.
    fucking genki

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