ただいまああああ!(I’m back!)

Hello lovely people of the internet!

Well, after taking an extended break from writing (in which I tried to get my life back together and only sort of succeeded) I can tell you, I’m back.

As usual, I cannot promise any new ideas, insightful commentary, or even quality writing.

However, there will probably be many things like this.  This is a song by Mariya Takeuchi (an artist I’m totally interested in but cannot find any songs of hers to download, paid or otherwise).  For reasons best known to the author of the video, it has been accompanied by a picture of a koala.

See you soon!

Japanese Lessons Work For Me

Hello!  Jessica here.

I haven’t been blogging much recently.  I think I must have finally hit life-saturation point.  I’m now doing so many things that some of them are starting to slip.  I’m in the process of going back to work/looking for a job.  Also, I’m learning how to drive in the UK (manual transmission + left side of the road + roundabouts = TERROR!! PANIC!! MAYHEM!!!).  So, not much being said here recently.

However, I am still taking Japanese lessons.  To be honest, I kept going back and forth about them for a while.  Are they too expensive?  Am I really learning as much as I think I am?  Have I actually gone over to the dark side, given that I started this whole Japanese thing the Khatzumoto, All Japanese All The Time way?

Maybe I’ll change my mind later, but for now I think lessons are great for me.  I’m learning grammar and being introduced to new vocabulary.  I know that a textbook is not the be-all, end-all of language, but now when I go back to look at “real” Japanese on the internet, MUCH more of it makes sense.  I no longer need to look up the reading for every single kanji.  I’m not getting so overwhelmed with it, and that lets me spend more time with it.

So for me, I think the current solution is to keep taking lessons, but also keep exposing myself to non-polite, anime, and Twitter Japanese.  Right now I’m mining sentences like crazy from this Twitter account.  (I think it’s supposed to be for Japanese people learning English.)

Video Post #7 – やさしさに包まれたなら (Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta nara)

Hi folks.

I posted this video a while ago now and never quite got around to putting it up here.

It’s the ending song from Kiki’s Delivery Service, if you watch it in Japanese.  The lyrics are beautiful, and you can find the English translation here.  Sorry the video quality isn’t spectacular – the internet is so bad in my house that I couldn’t be bothered making the video super high quality and then waiting 2 hours for it to upload.  (I got stuff to do, yo!)

Oh, and I didn’t mention in the previous videos, but the pink and yellow jazz hanging off of the microphone stand is actually a gift from a Japanese friend.  His grandmother makes them and he brought one for me.  Nice, huh?

Local Life (sort of) Part 2: Yo Ji, Weston-Super-Mare

Weston Pier. The old one burnt down and they built a better one.

Earlier I spoke of a Japan Club that meets in a restaurant in Bristol.  There is, however, a Japanese restaurant closer to my house, and that’s Yo Ji in Weston-Super-Mare.

Although it is actually the closest to Taunton, according to Siri (who is supposed to know about these things), it’s still a bit of a drive (30-40 minutes, and we go in my kind husband’s car).  I guess that’s sort of a good thing – the last time I was there I went on a sushi binge and spent soooo much money!

I’m not really one to give extraordinarily helpful reviews of restaurants.  I ordered food and they brought it and it was tasty.  Also I can’t compare it to authentic Japanese food because I’ve never been there.

The bottom line is this:  if you live in Somerset, there’s a Japanese restaurant in Weston-super-Mare.  Go eat there.  (Also check out the new pier, it’s pretty awesome.)

Local Life (sort of) Part 1: Bristol Japan Club

Living in Somerset as I do, and not having a car, I don’t get out that much.

However, occasionally there is something fun to do that I can access by train (after a gruelling 45 minute walk to Taunton Rail Station, that is).  One of these things is Bristol Japan Club.

This group, which has been running for nearly 20 years now (serious dedication by the organiser!), is a chance for Japanese people and non-Japanese people who are interested in Japan to get together twice a month and generally hang out.  Once a month they meet in a part of Bristol that is completely inaccessible to me; the other meeting is at a Japanese restaurant on Baldwin St (Obento), about 15 minutes’ walk from Bristol Temple Meads station.  So I go to that one.

But what does one do there?  What is it like?  I get asked that semi-regularly.  I’ve been about 3 times now, and each time it was different.  Sometimes there are loads of people, sometimes not.  Sometimes there are lots of Japanese people, other times mostly English or people from other countries that aren’t Japan.

Anyway, the food is good and everyone is very friendly (and being in the UK, pretty much everyone speaks English…it makes language practice difficult but also takes the pressure off meeting new people).  If you live around here, maybe I’ll see you there!

A Twitter Post in Japanese Every Day

I’ve been a bit distracted recently.

Hmm, maybe that isn’t the right way to say it.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...I’ve been focusing on things other than Japanese recently.  Like learning to play the timpani/triangle/cymbals in the Taunton Concert Band (and not tripping over myself switching between them).  And doing a bit of paid music transcription work.  And, most excitingly, my new Canon dSLR camera (a photo blog is in the works, probably – watch this space).

So what I think I really need is a new challenge.  I like challenge.  So I will challenge myself to post a Twitter update in Japanese every day.

This could be difficult.  I estimate my total Japanese vocabulary at about 300 words, if I’m lucky.  And some of those words are boring things like “classroom” and “company employee”.  For someone who prides herself on her ability to express herself (even if it means occasionally making up words), this could be torture.

My main fear?  Making mistakes.  My equally main fear?  Being boring as hell.

Anyway, I’ll give it a go.  Maybe this will be like that Seinfeld episode where Kramer decides to make his apartment into “levels” and Jerry bets him he can’t do it.  And then Kramer changes his mind and Jerry says “then I win” and Kramer says “no, the bet’s off because I changed my mind”.  Maybe I’ll change my mind.  In which case, the bet’s off.