Learning Japanese #5 Giving up? Sumimasen! and Jisho?!?!

Hello WordPress! Over the past few months this entire learning Japanese thing has been an interesting journey. To start with I started a blog, every view means a lot and encourages me to keep going and especially now I need it because Japanese just got difficult! Well ok it didn’t just get difficult but after a busy week I have very much hit the point where I am asking myself why I am doing this, after all I am learning a language spoken by one country I doubt I will ever live in and I will probably only visit once if I’m lucky. But, then again shut up brain! I refuse to give in at this or any other point and I encourage anyone at the same point as me to do the same!

So the bit of Japanese I have focused on this week is mainly words and this is where I found a degree of difficulty. If you, like me, use Japanese.about.com then you should know it’s not perfect and it doesn’t explain some very important aspects of the language. For example it clearly states that (Sumimasen) すみません means excuse me, however by sheer luck I found out it also means sorry as well. Now this was very confusing, I had to question how two such different meanings could both come from the exact same word, but indeed this is the way it is. This site also doesn’t explain what (Gozaimasu) ございます means, what it is or how to use it and with this I still aren’t sure as far as I can tell it is used to make certain words or phrases more polite without really meaning a great deal, if this is its use then this is extremely confusing to me as we have nothing like this in English! So if you are using this site to learn, and I believe it is the best site of its kind out there, then make sure to regularly check some of the words to make sure you don’t get anything wrong.

I also found some more free sites for those fellow frugal language learners, Japanesepod101 I will not link this site as I don’t think it can be trusted, upon registration it tried to get me to download something to my computer and after that it has been constantly trying to get me to buy things, the site looks professional but I just will not trust it. I would however recommend Jisho.org, this site is an online English to Japanese dictionary that works better then the few other dictionaries I have seen. Not just this but it is also incredibly user friendly unlike the majority of sites I have found whilst on this learning journey.

Thanks for reading! Any comments are welcomed and I will respond to all of them! J

Japanese.about.com- http://japanese.about.com/

Jisho- http://jisho.org/

My Twitter- https://twitter.com/LayedBackMitch


Learning Japanese #2 and a half…. Cooori!

Hey WordPress, this is just a quick update regarding my previous blog. After I made it pretty clear how terrible the online language site Cooori and after I emailed them explaining just how awful there site is. I, surprisingly, received an email from the CEO of the company Arnar Jensen who asked me to help give them some ideas for the site. Needless to say I was blown away at the company’s attitude to how unhappy I am with the site and after a few back and forth emails he has made me feel assured that before long the site will change drastically. Whether or not it does remains to be seen, they would be committing business suicide if nothing changed however the CEO himself has assured me a lot will change. I will keep you posted on future developments on this site.

Make sure to follow me on twitter, https://twitter.com/LayedBackMitch thanks for read, bye bye! 🙂

Japanese blog #2 Hiragana and free language websites!

Hey WordPress! This is my second blog about learning Japanese, as if the title wasn’t enough. This past week I have been hard at work learning as much of the Hiragana as I possibly can, thankfully it wasn’t that hard. Although I maybe could have done it in a more stimulating way, all I did was write down all the characters in English then next to it in Japanese I did realise in the last few days is match up all the characters to a picture to help it stick in my brain easier. This method way coined by James Heisig I would recommend looking into this as most people I have spoken to agrees this makes language learning easier. For those of you who don’t know what it is, basically I look as a symbol and recall it with an image. For example, when I see とI think ‘toe’ because it looks a little bit like a toe with a splinter, ‘to’ is the pronunciation, admittedly some of these involve a little bit of imagination and some are downright ridiculous but if it works, it works.

Aside from learning the Hiragana I have also been looking into some free online language learning services and so far I am less than impressed, I found Busuu.com which claim to be great and free when really it is neither. To get the only content on the site that is useful after your week free premium you have to pay, I am not sure how much. However it offers a wide array of different languages and one plus I like about the site is it offers you the chance to talk to native speakers of whatever language it is you’re learning, although the site makes little to no attempt to get you to the point where this is possible it might be worth a look if you want to learn the language and I shall link below. I also found Cooori.com which is, to put it bluntly, one of the worse sites I have ever used. This spurred me to do something I wouldn’t normally do and in my enraged sense I did something terribly British and I wrote them a letter, or Email it’s your choice. All this site does is spit out random words in Japanese and once you have had 30 different words thrown up at you, your trial expires and you can’t progress which  in this case ‘progress’ might not be the appropriate word. This site doesn’t explain anything about Japanese and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Anyway rant over, thanks for reading! Make sure to share with everyone you know. Also follow me on Twitter; I need more followers’ https://twitter.com/LayedBackMitch Bye bye. 🙂

Busuu: http://www.busuu.com/enc/

Cooori: http://www.cooori.com/

Hiragana mnemonics:  http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~if2n-szk/mnemonics.html

My first challenge!!! Learning Japanese #1

Hey WordPress! Welcome to the start of my first internet challenge! Are you excited, I am! Anyway, the first challenge I have decided to attempt to undertake is learning another language and having learnt French throughout school thus leaving me with an at least basic grasp of the language I have of course decided to learn Japanese… Japanese, that’s right Japanese, the language where you read little drawings which somehow mean words. The reason I have done this is because I wanted to see if the internet could really allow me to learning something that is so different to anything I have ever done before in my life. Now this could literally take me years! Which will mean I will at least have something to write about for the foreseeable future and, after the high I got after finding out someone from Trinidad and Tobago read my first blog I assure you I will continue writing as often as I feel is necessary.

At the minute I am reading up about Japanese culture as much as I possibly can as well as watching some Japanese films and anime with English subtitles, purely so I can get used to what the Japanese language sounds like. I recommend watching ‘Seven Samurai’ even if you don’t have a strong interest in Japanese culture, or indeed any interest, as it’s great! As far as actually learning Japanese is concerned I haven’t started yet as I wanted to get a good idea about where to begin, all I did was think about  where we start as children starting school. We begin with basic letters and the alphabet, unfortunately there are 3 types of Alphabets in Japanese; Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji, all are vital. At least I have a starting point now and I can finally begin learning this beautifully complicated language.

I apologise if this blog was a little boring, I’m still getting used to this whole writing thing! In the next blog I will talk about one frugal man’s struggle with the Japanese language so be sure to check it out!  If anyone has any questions or general comments then please leave me a comment I would love to read it. Thanks for reading!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/LayedBackMitch

Blog number #1 and so it begins!

So while at a loose end I decided I wanted to create a blog, you see I am one of those people who doesn’t do a awful lot with their time instead just opting to kick back and relax so I decided hey! Let’s write about it, after all my English skills leave a lot to be desired. Anyway seen as though I have a lot of free time and after having a rather heated debate with a friend about just how awesome the internet it, it’s pretty friken awesome right?!?! I decided to embark on a journey where I attempt to teach myself things using the internet; for example, I want to somehow teach myself a new language using free internet sources so I can write about it. I will write a new blog within a week or two about starting learning my language of choice and well if I can do this then I guess the internet is pretty damn awesome. Hopefully as I get better at this these blogs will become less boring and you never know someone might come to enjoy them other then my mum!

Thanks for reading, Mitch