Fluent Forever?

I don’t think there is any single app or website that can give you the full Japanese experience.  Japan Activator comes very close, and if you haven’t seen it, check it out. One of the new entries in the overcrowded “Learn a new language easily at home” category is Fluent Forever.  I have to say, its origin story sounds like a superhero origin. “A young opera singer, surrounded by productions in multiple languages, broke out of his unilingual prison, and developed a method to quickly learn any language.” It’s a variation on the flashcard theme. You start off by setting your familiarity level with the language. Then, you choose words to create… Read More

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Two of my favourite Japanese culture resources

Aside from the language, the culture of Japan also fascinates me. That’s why I want to travel there and see some things up close and in person. Two online resources help to both quench and fuel my desire to learn more: Unseen Japan https://unseenjapan.com/ A lot of it is member only/Patreon access, but still enough free stuff to make it worthwhile to have a look. For example, Homegrown Terror: The Birth of the Japanese Red Army – Unseen Japan Shocking, maybe at least as shocking as the way Canada treated indigenous children in our residential schools. Mulboyne Seems to be Twitter-only, as far as I can tell. Mulboyne (@Mulboyne) /… Read More

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Zoom classes are weird

I’m taking a Japanese class with lessons over Zoom, and I don’t know how school children put up with it for a year. It is just plain odd. You get some, but not all, body clues on how someone is thinking, and there is this pervasive sensation of being disconnected to people that you feel you should be connected to. Still, it’s the only game in town if you want to take any kind of class. Except for exercise classes where people gather in the alley behind my house while their instructor shouts at them.

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ビギナー

So I had my verbal placement test. It took two teachers to give their fair opinion that I belonged in the next level of the beginner class. I put in an intermediate writing test two weeks before, which I didn’t notice at the time. I just picked one that didn’t look too easy. So they were gentle in telling me that I wasn’t intermediate level material, but I sure did fit in as a next level beginner. Four years, and still a beginner. But isn’t that true of many of life’s endeavours? No? Frankly, and don’t tell them this, but frankly, after my verbal skills test, I was expecting to… Read More

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Silence is Foo

Life Goes On

So, since late January. I’ve had not only the pandemic to deal with, but other personal issues to deal with. I am one of the lucky ones who experienced pandemic plus. But now my energy is back to normal levels, and with a brand new psychological mindset to boot! Watch out, Japan! Seriously, though, having no energy to do anything extra leaves you time to reflect on how much time one wastes when you have lots of energy and sit around, not doing anything extra. This is overused, but 頑張りましょうか?は!

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Virtual Japan Tours

So the Internet is full of big rabbit holes to fall down. Some pleasant, some not so pleasant. And then. others…a virtual Japan tour, a new dialect, and…well… As we all know (right?), Japan doesn’t have a single language. It has a bunch of regional dialects, with foreign students mostly learning 関東弁, the language of the capital, Tokyo. I think the dialects are interesting, and I really find it interesting that 関西弁 is the dialect of comedians. And then, we come to Tajimi in Gifu prefecture, home to a virtual tour of Japan. And you book your virtual tour reservations courtesy of Hans, who is the white guy in the… Read More

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