Languages: Japanese, Part IV

 A few calculated days later so that I could make my post on a overdue time that’s not too long when I get back to the UK in April. 

Previous "time-interval" goals: 

  • カタカナ reading improvement : Yes.
  • ひらがな reading improvement : Yes.
  • one Cpt. per week from Heisig’s book on 漢字 (this means, Cpt’s 4, 5, 6 and 7) : Yes.
  • reading through that story which began so promisingly with "こんな夢を見た。" [Author: Natsume Soseki, Title: The First Night] : First two paragraphs.
  • listening to that same thing a few times over : A few, quite literally.
  • more music : Yes.

I can’t say I did too well, but it’s something. Demands too much concentration and I’ve started to use my other languages more for some odd reason (:P) so effort has been rather divided. 

In any case, excuses are mere excuses (still useful). 

Next "time-interval":

  • Read [Author: Natsume Soseki, Title: The First Night]
  • Listen [Author: Natsume Soseki, Title: The First Night]
  • Re-check some chapters in that good book which I’ve temporarily lost sight of (grammar and usage)
  • More music//New artists

And let us continue!

Languages: Japanese, Part III

Continuing from where I left off last month. 

So, this is what I set out to do:

  • improving usage of katakana //very limited success//
  • familiarizing myself with hiragana //rather well done, though not as well as I’d have hoped for//
  • learning at least one word-list per week, preferably two //done as part of another bit of reading/studying//
  • processing one chapter of Heisig’s masterpiece on kanji a week as a minimum //done for weeks 2, 3 and 4. missed one, but today’s not over yet, so it’s a so-so thing//
  • listening to more Japanese-language music (== less Capsule 🙁 ) //mmm, should be done//
  • finding at least one audiobook to listen to even though I’ll understand very little at first//found several audiobooks, and listened to them a few times as well//

こんな夢を見た。
That’s basically the beginning of that one story I’ve concentrated on most. A direct translation would be along the lines of "I saw such/this [kind that I am about to tell you of] a dream." I liked it very much, for rather obvious reasons (beginning a story for such a sentence being one of them). 

Besides that, I’ve managed to start making some rather interesting connection. They are quite useless right now, but they are interesting to me in principle.

Also, I’ve taken notice that when I concentrate well enough, my level of (unfortunately, written) Japanese is on par with my French skills. This does mean that my French has fallen to an awful low level, but also that given enough time (very much time) and a dictionary and a grammar book, I can write some rather sensible things (with less mistakes in the Japanese version due to the French employing a rather non-comprehensible /for me/ way with prepositions). That being said, my written Russian is likely to be even worse, though I’ve not put that claim to the test. Spoken being a completely different tune, I’m still rather sure in myself if I’d line my spoken skills right now as follows:

Estonian > English > Russian = Japanese = French
 
Which really isn’t saying much, but I still found it interesting. 

In any case, for the next month… something has to be set down in writing:

  • カタカナ reading improvement
  • ひらがな reading improvement
  • one Cpt. per week from Heisig’s book on 漢字 (this means, Cpt’s 4, 5, 6 and 7)
  • reading through that story which began so promisingly with "こんな夢を見た。" [Author: Natsume Soseki, Title: The First Night]
  • listening to that same thing a few times over
  • more music

     

That should sum it up rather well. 

Languages: Japanese, Part II

 
I just drank a glass of sparkling (mmmm, 🙂 ) since this place managed to
destroy the post I had written. 🙁 (sparkling was :)) though).

I’ll try
to write the majority.

The goals I set for myself the last time:

  • Enabling the writing systems (hiragana, katakana) on my computer
  • Learning the katakana
  • Listen regularly to Japanese music //which is not difficult at
    all since I’m doing it quite a bit right now due to the fact that my usual stuff
    has quite bored me, 😛 //
  • Memorizing & understanding certain
    word-lists

Done. All of them. There’s a catch though. 🙂 I
learned the katakana, but I can remember only about half of them right now.
A bit understandable since they seem to be less necessary than katakana if I’m
learning Japanese (and not the other way round). I’ve also enabled the writing
systems on my computer through the use of another word processor which allows me
to: にほんごがかきます。 カタカナカキマス。
 ==> I can write in hiragana, katakana (and
kanji), but I need to copy it to any other page where I may need to use it.

Also, about music: listened to it quite a bit (actually Japanese bands
and Koit Toome sums my last month in music up pretty well, 😉 ) however quite a
bit of my listening is made up of Capsule — and a decent amount of it is in
English (very good though!!!).

So, some goals for the next month as
well, I believe.

  • improving usage of katakana
  • familiarizing myself with hiragana
  • learning at least one word-list per week, preferably two
  • processing one chapter of Heisig’s masterpiece on kanji a week as a
    minimum
  • listening to more Japanese-language music (== less Capsule 🙁 )
  • finding at least one audiobook to listen to even though I’ll understand very
    little at first.

That is all for now. I’ll try to make the next update
a little bit closer to the actual +1 month that I set for myself, and not edit
the date. 😉

Languages: Japanese, Part I

So, after taking up a book by a crazy Irishman which explained how to learn languages well and effectively, and so that they could actually be used (those six years of school-time Russian/French that I really can’t use are therefore left out), there was the recommendation that creating a blog-entry with the goals and targets in mind is assisting, I have decided to do just that.

A short introduction:
Since coming to the UEA, I’ve found myself a part of the Japanese Society and that led me to pursue some skills in the Japanese language. For the first month or so, what we did was basic introductions and whatnot (‘Je m’appelle…‘, ‘Kus sa elad…’, etc), but after that I turned a bit more serious and ordered myself a grammar book which assisted me in picking up some of the basic stuff that the Society lessons did not mention. In any instance, since that time I’ve also picked up the hiragana writing system (I’ve yet to enable it on my computer though), and a few useful expressions. With difficulty, expressing basic sentences is possible (success!!!).

So, I’ll list here what I plan to do by the 8th January (which coincidentally might be one of the hardest things since I’ll be in EST for the majority of the time between now and then):

  • Enabling the writing systems (hiragana, katakana) on my computer
  • Learning the katakana
  • Listen regularly to Japanese music //which is not difficult at all since I’m doing it quite a bit right now due to the fact that my usual stuff has quite bored me, 😛 //
  • Memorizing & understanding certain word-lists

I’m sure there’s something else that I’ve forgotten since this currently seems to empty, but it’s all that my partial to-do list contained. So, we’ll see exactly what happened in a bit less than a month.

EDIT: I forgot to add why I wish to learn Japanese… 🙂 To read (once my skill is considerable enough) the books that I’ve up to that point read only in translations. ‘The Master of Go’ — it can only be better in Japanese, to name on example. And, why not use it for other, more mundane tasks as well…

Iroha

色は匂へど 散りぬるを
我が世誰ぞ 常ならむ
有為の奥山 今日越えて
浅き夢見じ 酔ひもせず

As flowers are brilliant but [inevitably] fall,
who could remain constant in our world? [No one could]
Today let us transcend the high mountain of transience,
and there will be no more shallow dreaming, no more drunkenness.
— Kūkai

 

A beautiful poem. 

I thought of posting this and then writing something in addition, but haven’t managed to think of anything useful to supplement this. I am sure it does quite well on its own as well. 

[Note: Source for this specific version.]

23-01-2011: Added the Hiragana version: 

 

いろはにほへと
ちりぬるを
わかよたれそ
つねならむ
うゐのおくやま
けふこえて
あさきゆめみし
ゑひもせす

 

On Saigyo, I

Saigyo seems to have been a master of his own genre, a poet with skills unrivalled by others. I do not really have a wish to write much about him — just wanted to post one of his poems.

When facing crises,
what will be gone completely are
thoughts of their perfect beauty —
that of blossoms known intimately
in the sage emperor’s palace.

Quite nice, in my opinion. Also, seems to fit my general tone at this moment… Exactly that thoughts of perfection are gone… completely…

‘And what are they replaced by?
 — ‘RSVP!

Contemplation: A Poem by Nogi Maresuki

Mountain and river, grass and tree, grow more barren;
for ten miles winds smell of blood in the fresh battlefield.
Conquering horses do not advance nor do men talk;
outside Jinzhou Castle, I stand in the setting sun.
— Nogi Maresuke
 
This captivated me, today. Quite unsure why… but I can imagine the scene so very perfectly. 

The poem somehow advances into greatness, achieving it without trouble.

It seems most fitting for a grand Lieutenant General (Rikugun Chūjō) of the Imperial Japanese Army; for a loyal officer; for a careful and considerate commander…

I don’t think there is much more to add — in any case, the poem quite puts forward what I wished to convey. Perhaps, it cannot be formulated in other words except those already present in the poem…

Most interesting, isn’t it?