Thursday, October 23, 2008

Personal Aspirations in J-Pan, #1

This post was actually a paper I wrote for my Japanese prof, but I wrote the paper itself as I would normally write a blog entry. We have several of these due throughout the year, and though this is actually the 2nd, and I didn’t actually publish the first aspiration paper, you’ll find that no content is actually missing, so this shall function as my first personal aspiration report.

It has now been approximately six weeks since my initial report, and already, I feel like I’ve made big strides. I now know two alphabets, hiragana and katakana. I also know how to convert English words into katakana, which entertains me to no end. I even have enough basic understanding of syntax and sentence structure to say: プリンセスレーヤーはきんいろのビキニをきています。(Princess Leia is wearing a golden bikini.) Not that I would have much occasion to say that, exactly, but you get the idea.

My sister, as I mentioned in my last report, is far more advanced than I, and I feel very lucky to have her around to help me study. The other day she taught me a phrase that I found entertaining; ふとんはふとんだ。It either means “the futon goes flying,” or “I suddenly have a futon,” depending on how you translate it.

So, in my last report, I spoke about my goals for the year. Without further ado, here is my report on my progress.

Goal #1: Be able to have a simple conversation with my sister entirely in Japanese. This one is definitely not happening yet. Most of the time, she springs some long-winded phrase at me and I just shrug and stare dumbly. At least now I know how to ask her in Japanese to repeat herself; もういちど、おねがいします。

Goal #2: Play through a dialogue-intensive Japanese game, and actually understand it. About a week ago, I tried to load up the Japanese version of Chrono Trigger, orクロノトリガ, but alas, I couldn’t get past the first few screens without being bombarded by kanji, which I am still completely hopeless at reading, so I was unable to translate. I just had to give up. By the end of the year, I’ll know 130 kanji. Maybe then my chances will be a little better. I just learned my first 5 kanji in the past week.

Goal #3: Watch a Japanese cartoon, with no subtitles, and actually understand it. I haven’t even tried this yet, but I imagine it would also be totally hopeless. I tried keeping up with the MP3 listening excises our T.A. posted online for the class, and I have to keep stopping it after every sentence. I’m still painfully slow, and listening is still a challenge.

Goal #4: Apply to the JET Programme, and teach English in Japan. Okay, I admit I’ve been bad here and I still haven’t filled out my JET Programme application. Of course, I still have a month to do it, but it’s amazing how quickly deadlines can creep up on me. I’ve been getting bogged down by schoolwork, but I’ll get right on this one this week-end, I swear. Or next week-end and the very latest. Or the one after that. But that’s it.

Goal #5: Write a short story in Japanese. Towards the end of the year, or perhaps as early as the Christmas break, I’ll get started on this one. I want to at least wait until we cover Japanese myths and fairytales – I’m quite looking forward to that section of the class. In fact, I even want to incorporate some of the Japanese mythology into the English stuff I’m working on. I find that the 1-page journal entries we are periodically assigned are very good practice for this.


Inkpot said...

Star Wars phrases in Japanese are ALWAYS a good idea. You never know when you might need them and they are super cool (that includes Star Wars phrases in any language, including English). You should apply for teaching English in Japan. It would be a fascinating experience. It will be interesting to compare this post to later progress reports and see how much you have done over the months. Learning something always feels really slow when you are doing it but when you look back it is amazing how quickly it went.

spookygreentea said...