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My Life As a College Student

Lately, I haven’t been updating this website or posting. I’ve also pretty much stopped being active on twitter. But honestly, I miss being able to work on this project. College, despite being a very exciting and rewarding experience, has pretty much sapped all of my free time away from me. My commutes are long, my homework is tedious, and in my down time I’m exhausted. However, this spring break, I wanted to share some fun details about my experience so far with you all.

One thing college has given me that I couldn’t dream of in high school is the ability to have friendships with people who don’t speak English natively. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few Japanese people (or at least people who speak Japanese) to have conversations with. Honestly, it’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced for language learning. They’ve given me a lot of useful phrases and vocabulary, such as 「シャックリが出る」, which means to hiccup, or the 〜がり stem, which can be used to describe people.

Another thing college has given me is access to countless resources for language learning that I could have never been able to afford on my own. For example, there is a library on campus that has countless Japanese books and manga. The language courses are a great experience; in my two semesters of French alone I’ve come such a long way in proficiency.

Most importantly, however, I’ve wanted to share with you all my plans for this website’s future. Pretty soon, it will be scrapped and replaced with something bigger and better – a language learning site not just for Japanese, but for other languages like French, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, or German. But don’t worry, the same Japanese resources will be there.

I can’t wait to start things over again, and college will definitely give me the resources to do so.

 

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10 Kanji You’re Writing The Wrong Way

Most Kanji follow a pretty consistent pattern. If you’ve been studying them long enough, you just get a feel for how to write the characters and often don’t question whether or not you’re actually doing it right!

So here’s a little test for you. Can you properly write these 10 Kanji below? These Kanji are commonly written in the wrong order. If you know how to write these correctly… then give yourself a pat on the back, you’re doing better than a portion of native speakers. They’re all surprisingly simple actually (many of which appear in other Kanji as well)!

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Four Seasons Theater Company

This entry is inspired by my recent opportunity to practically partake in, rather than merely experience, the Japanese production of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s CATS. It was their 8,193rd performance in Japan, and was the latest installment of a streak that started in 1983. They have long surpassed the Broadway CATS production’s record and are still going strong. At the end of the year, they’ll be packing up their set in Yokohama and making way for the next run in Hiroshima, where they are expected to maintain their popularity and current rate of audience satisfaction.

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Onsen, Anyone?

Relaxing in an overheated environment is a pastime that has been enjoyed by many cultures throughout the ages. Some rely on some form of water vapor and some just prefer to leave it as a liquid and submerse themselves in a flowing or still pool of heat. As technology has developed over the years, people also like to throw in some jet action to give their tense muscles some much needed attention. As you are probably aware, the Japanese have a very old culture of enjoying naturally or artificially heated water, and customs will change from place to place, but there are some basic commonalities that you should know, which will have you sufficiently prepared to successfully give the Japanese onsen experience a try.

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A Linguistic Head-scratcher – English Assimilation

As long as any given language is significantly exposed to some foreign language, there is a possibility it may be influenced by that foreign language. Any English speaker should be well aware of this phenomenon, as several non-English words are a part of our daily vernacular. Have you committed a faux pas recently, or voted to maintain the status quo the last time you were at the poles? Hmmm? Well, foreign words have made their way into the common Japanese dialogue as well, and some them have done so in an interesting way beyond the usual conversion to katakana pronunciation. Let me give you a taste.

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The Japanese “May Disease”

For most students, and anyone else that maintains a steady Monday through Friday schedule, Monday tends to suck more often than not. Should you disagree, then feel free to correct me on Monday morning before you head out the door to your weekly grind. Anyway, the Japanese average school and business schedule also maintains the Monday through Friday trend; with its own little variations here and there of course. Though I have been here for just about three years, I have yet to hear of some phrase to describe the weekly dread of facing the beginning of the business week. Fortunately, a student of mine made me aware of a similar gem just a few days ago. It is called 五月病 (ごがつびゅう / go-gatsu-byou), which basically means “May disease” or “May sickness.” The reason that this has anything to do with “the Mondays” is that the phrase reflects the dread of getting back to work after an extended period of time off.

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Week 1

Happy May, y’all! May is my favorite month for reasons aside from it being my birth month, and one of those reasons is celebrating my Asian-American heritage. Let’s appreciate some of the awesome Japanese-Americans that have graced the world with their talent and wisdom!

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パチンコ – Gambling in Japan

Gambling is a world-wide phenomena, there’s no doubt about that. It’s existed for centuries, where modern games such as roulette evolved from a game played in old Europe. Even to this day, where you can gamble online, people still find themselves attracted to physical gambling machines. Particularly in Japan, everybody’s crazy for Pachinko (パチンコ).

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合コン – Dating in Japan

A significant majority of people would agree with the sentiment that, at least every once in a while, they feel like they would like to have that special person in their life. We all go about finding that person in our own, yet familiar way to others. Some methods like the date at a restaurant or café are more commonplace while others like to try comparatively unconventional methods such as Internet or speed dating. The Japanese also have their own particular methods of finding the right catch. A lot of them resemble our own, but one of their more commonplace methods may not be so commonplace to you. This method is referred to as the Goukon (合コン, ごうこん).

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Robbin’s 留学の思い出: Shopping

The awesome sweater I picked up for cheap during lunch hour at my university.

I suddenly realized this morning that this time a couple of years ago, I was studying at 京都精華大学 (Kyoto Seika University). I’m in the midst of reading more books for review, so I thought I would take a pleasant stroll down memory lane. When I talk about shopping, I don’t mean shopping in a mall or an arcade (though I assure you, I did plenty of that) — I’m talking about having my lunch at the college cafeteria and then rushing out to the quad. On sunny days, many students will tote about a plastic picnic blanket and spread their very gently used clothes, CDs, and other fun things. And so my friends and I would rejoice more than usual when the sun was shining. We’d stuff curry and karaage and udon in our faces quickly, and then march outside before the other students could look at the items.

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