私のミニスピチは train wreck でしたよ。あの。。。I had the entire thing memorized, I really did. Andreano-san and I even practiced presenting our speeches in front of people together. Only I rather choked when I got in front of the class. I mean, I wasn't the only one, but that's not exactly a good excuse. My nerves really got the better of me, and that's not something that I've ever experienced when giving presentations and things like that in front of people. I've never had any trouble with it before.

As I result, I forgot really simple things, conjugated incorrectly, missplaced particles, and a whole slew of other things. And, in retrospect, there were a lot of things I could have done differently with the speech in general. I didn't use も and I could have used 大へん instead of 'difficult' twice.

I think the topic I chose was very limiting in what I could write about, and that was the other problem. It didn't leave any room for me to have props, and was still rather distant and abstract to talk about as opposed to someplace I've been on vacation.

If ever I wished there was a 'redo' button...



In order to have a good speech, one must not only be understood while speaking by your peers, but also speak with fluency and confidence. You have to be comfortable with what you're saying, and challenge yourself, but also not make something so difficult that there's no way you'll remember it. Use gestures, pace yourself, and be interesting. You want your peers to have interest in what you say, and in order for that to happen they have to understand you and engage in your ideas.

On a different note, I thought that peer-editing for the mini-speech was a really good idea. By reading someone else's work, you were able to better understand why errors are made. You can see errors that you've made in the past, or ones that maybe you've made recently. Another pair of eyes on your own paper helps to find typos and other errors that you would have otherwise skipped over as being correct. In addition to this, your peers were able to comment on whether or not they understood what you were trying to get across. These seemed especially important in relation to katakana, which for me is really difficult to translate in either direction. Having someone else's opinions and views on how to expand and improve your own writing was also really useful because it gave other viewpoints on the piece and allowed input on topics that you might not have thought of by yourself.

I definitely believe that the peer-editing was a good tool because it also forced you to learn more about grammar and writing to make sure that what you were suggesting wasn't incorrect. You had to be confident in the suggestions you were giving your classmates on their papers, forcing you to double-check and second-guess yourself when you normally wouldn't.



Well, I've edited this a bit to include some more Kanji characters, as well as to fix some of my silly mistakes and add a few things. I'm not sure if I should choose one class and expand on it really well, or just keep it the way it is.






かんきよかがく = environmental science








かんきよかがく = environmental science



私は日本語のカラスがすきです。むずかしいですが、たのしいです。I never thought that I could be confident, so quickly, in saying, well, anything. The only thing I've been able to compare learning Japanese to was learning Spanish. スパにスごがすきじゃありません。私のせんせいはよくありませんでしたから。いちばんせんせいのスパにスご時々フレンチごをはなしましたから。わかりませんでした。にばんせんせいのスパにスごはこわいでした。とてもこわいでした。三ばんせんせいのスパにスごはいいでした。But by that time, it was almost too difficult to keep up. Having a poor background in anything and then trying to move on is incredibly hard. たのしくありませんでした。

しつもんがあります。Does anyone know いいれんしゅうのおおきいばんごおですか。Preferably something online? Or would anyone be interested in practicing at some point? I didn't find that the book went into really big numbers very well, and I know that I'm weak in doing that even with all the Mallard excersizes.






Good Blog

Well, I figured that maybe I should post on the subject of the week. A good blog to me has to be engaging to other readers in some way or another, and it should be informative. So I guess that means that it definitely should relate to Japanese as it is a Japanese class blog. Tips on studying, maybe some rambling on culture - and pictures. Pictures definitely make words pretty. And definitely if they're moving ones - so movies are great.

As far as specifics beyond that, I'm not sure what they should have. Blogs are typically about yourself, but it seems that it's a little harder to write a blog in relation to Japanese. Though we've all managed it thusfar.

I do like the blogs, if only because it's a better way to learn about your classmates outside of talking to them. It also helps up to realize more about everyone's position in class and helps us to support each other.


Much Ado About Nothing

いまわたしはrehearsalをします。Much Ado About Nothingです。わたしはlight-boardをします。もくようびときんようびとどようびは八時にStudent Activities BuildingでperformanceのMuch Ado About Nothingをします。Much Ado About Nothingをみませんか。Please come and see us! It's free!


Review: もののけ姫

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime)

I've seen a number of people do reviews of anime that they've watched, and I've enjoyed taking a look at them myself. To follow along in this little idea, I've decided to do a semi-review of my favorite Hayao Miyazaki movie: もののけ姫, created through Studio Ghibli of course.

The story is centered around Ashitaka, a young man who seeks the source of a curse that was placed on him by a demon in hopes of finding a cure. He ends up in a place where Gods still roam the earth, and where spirits protect the forest.

Enter San, known in human myth as Princess Mononoke - the human child whose soul was captured by the wolf Goddess Moro and who now lives to protect the forest. San and her wolf brothers are at odds with the people of Iron Town, who are intent on destroying the forest to mine the iron ore out of the sand.

San and Ashitaka's path are interwoven together, Ashitaka finding the source of the demon in San's forest while at the same time finding a temporary sanctuary in Iron Town. The two represent their respective races (Gods and humans), as they clash and try to find a solution to their problems. Between roving samurai, a not-so-good monk seeking a mountain of gold, boar Gods from another region looking for revenge, a war fought on three sides, and a plot to take the head of the Forest Spirit for immortality unrolling, it's easy to see that even the opening scene of Princess Mononoke is packed with plot-moving events.

As far as the English voice-acting is concerned, I was pretty satisfied personally. Moro has a wonderful voice, though Ashitaka sometimes comes off as being a little dry. This, however, flows well with the original Japanese voice-acting as Ashitaka is supposed to be rather dry - I'd be bitter about it all, too, if I was dying. I will say that I'm more partial to the English voice-acting for Moro than the original Japanese one, simply because the English voice-acting throws in a little more flourish for the wolf Goddess.

Miyazaki weaves a beautiful, entrancing story through fantastic cinematic landscapes and unique character designs. Beyond the aesthetic appeal to the entire piece, there is a strong commentary underlying the movie about society. True to form, this Miyazaki film does not end with sunshine and flowers, but carries its strong message across with a true-to-life closing. The expert weaving of mythology to morals and ethics, blended with the appealing visuals creates an excellent movie.

If you ever get the opportunity, I highly suggest watching Princess Mononoke. It's a fantastic film, and definitely my favorite Miyazaki work.



あしたスキットをします。I always get really nervous right before a skit, and usually it happens the morning of. I get a little obsessive about practicing too, going so far as to recite while I shower in the morning. Yes, that's sad indeed, especially considering that I can barely get into the shower at the time I wake up.

But, what I really wanted to do was share with everyone something that I found to be incredibly entertaining over the break. It's a sushi making game, and it's actually pretty challenging at first. You have to balance making sushi with ordering more materials, and you also have to know how to make the sushi. There are recipes (that are vastly simplified). It's fun, it's pointless, and it hurts your wrist if you play too long on a laptop.

Sushi Go Round

I never posted about the dream I had in Japanese. I had a dream about living somewhere like Shea House, only it was only にほんごいちねんせい and さとうせんせい was something like a house mother. It was very strange, and involved koi fish. That is all.

(this is what happens with too much stress and not enough sleep)

カッパ out!



I knew there was a lot of Mallard work this chapter. I even started it sometime this past weekend to make sure that it was done ahead of time. Unfortunately, I didn't get nearly far enough and now I'm worried about getting it all done in time with the grades I want on it. It doesn't help me any that I honestly can't hear a difference between some of the words for the listening portion of writing kanji. That, and from what I've heard from everyone else, Mallard hates everyone uniformly. (At least it's not being personal, right?)

I find that Mallard is probably some of the more challenging things that we do, just because it tests us in different ways. Not only do you have to read characters in slightly different fonts, but they tend to be very small and sometimes run together. And sometimes, Mallard displays kanji that I don't know what it means that we haven't covered thusfar in the book. It's challenging, and I like challenges, but sometimes challenges at the wrong times can be frustrating.

I've also found that my tactic of spending a lot of time on Japanese work and not on other classwork back-fired on me this week. I have a test tomorrow, and, well, I'm still doing Japanese aren't I? It's not like I'm an environmental science major or anything... wait, yes I am. Well, it's not like Geology is a core... wait, yes it is.

I still plan on working on Mallard more. Challenges are not good for my health...

カッパ out!


かんじ - The Pretty Stuff

Soo, my major complaint about カタカナ being not-pretty has been consumed by the presence of かんじ。 Which is, naturally, very pretty to look at. Today at にほんごのひるごはん、Lin-さん、スミスさん and I worked on the vocab list and some ways to memorize the massive amounts of new words.

Long story short with ちゅうごくごさん (Mr. Chinese - yes I really meant that in a loving way ^.^ ) there, we (mainly him) were able to break the larger words apart into sources, which then fell into connections between words, which led to association, and now I can't not think of some words without thinking of others. But it's all good - I can remember some of this stuff now.

For an example (as I don't have much time as it's close to Atsu-Atsu!) I'll use meals. Because it's easy and fast and fun (in my opinion).

あさごはん means breakfast
ひるごはん means lunch
ぼんごはん means dinner

For breakfast...
あさ means morning + the root of ごはん meaning meal
Your morning meal better be known as your breakfast!

For lunch...
ひ is a root word for sun + る + ごはん
And you get your sun meal, or your day meal. Lunch is during the midday period, typically when the sun's highest. (Or at least it normally is...)

For dinner...
ばん which is used repetitively in relation to night (i.e. こんばんは) + ごはん
Night meal, you get where dinner comes from.

In addition to this strategy of breaking things apart, I've also used pictographs and word relations to aid memorization - which I already posted about for ひらがな。

カッパ out!


カタカナ ポースト


I feel as if I've been slacking slightly in the real post department, so I figure that I might as well sit down and make a real post.

I was so incredibly excited to get into にほんごいちねんせい that I actually didn't mind the fact that I'd only signed up for a total of 11 credits before the end of my second semester. I'd been interested in Japanese since Middle school, though my parents wanted me to take Spanish. I hated Spanish, and I had no interest in it. It helps a lot when you get stuck with the worst teacher your first year, of course. When I went into High school, I was excited because they had a Japanese program. That they abolished by the time that I got there... I wasn't happy, and had to continue Spanish. I vowed to never take Spanish again after High school, with such vehemence that I actually refused to take a language my first semester because I couldn't get into にほんごいちねんせい. Sometimes, I'm probably a little too hard-headed.

にほんごいちねんせい has proved itself to be a great challenge, but it's one that I want to meet head-on! I spent far too much time studying the first day after class in comparison with my other classes, and still spend far more time on にほんごいちねんせい than any of my other classes. I mean, I spend my lunches with my にほんごいちねんせい classmates discussing Japanese and being crazy, I spend time working in groups outside of class, ASCIT lab practice, reading, writing, actual class time. A lot of people think that I'm downright insane to invest so much time into anything - but it's something that I want to do, even if I'm not the best at it.

The hardest thing that I've encountered so far this year in にほんごいちねんせい has been カタカナ。 It's hard to learn a second writing style just after ひらがな、and it's strange to say that I've learned two alphabets (essentially) in a hand-full of weeks. But I am getting more comfortable with it. It isn't as pretty as ひらがな、but I can do fun things like say ポースト。 That makes everything worthwhile, honest. ^.~=

I think what's been the most rewarding thing about にほんごいちねんせい so far is being able to pick up some things from some of the Japanese manga I have. Not that they aren't memorized for meaning as they stand, but to actually be able to read panels and understand them without having to reference a dictionary or a translation source is absolutely amazing. I can't wait to learn more so that I can read more on my own. My personal goal is to translate one of the original doujinshis that I don't have an English translation for. I'll probably still have to reference a dictionary to an extent, but not for grammar hopefully! (after all, is youkai in hiragana, katana, or kanji?)

カッパ out! ^.~=


So, I should really be reviewing カタカナ, but I'm so easily distracted it's not working. The news has finally come out that Minekura-sensei, manga-ka of my most obviously favorite series, Saiyuki, is out of the hospital and doing well! Well enough that she's releasing the next chapter of Saiyuki Reload into Zero-SUM magazine next month (which is really the November issue, but Zero-SUM's just fun like that).

In celebration, I decided to go hunting around again for better quality shots of the newest Saiyuki movie: Burial Arc. This OVA is absolutely gorgeous in appearance, and it covers in more detail Sanzo-sama and Ukoku-sama's pasts, interwoven and twisted as they may be.

To show just how positively stunning the art is, I've included a link to the opening animation and song. Be forewarned! Burial is a little bloody (... understatement of the year), but it's so pretty!

Sadly, they only give Ukoku the briefest glimpse in the OVA opening. He appears next to the red moon (black hair, glasses) while Koumyou-Sanzo-sama is in front of it.

カッパ out!


Hirgana Mind Games

Well, I've told a lot of people that the way I helped myself memorize ひらがな was a little odd. I decided that it was odd enough, and worked well enough for me, that I might as well share some of it.

ゆ is a fish!

ひ looks like an upside down flame. (There is a Kanji pronounced 'hi' that means fire)

へ is a mountain!

べ is a mountain with two birds flying over it!

ぺ is a mountain with the sun setting behind it

ぶ looka like a specter, or a ghost if you prefer. That just might be waving its arms around and trying to scare you.

み amuses me to no end, because it looks similar to a cursive 'j' with a slash through it

ぬ is 'brand new' and complicated

め is plainer than ぬ

I do wonder what's going to come of カタカナ memorizations...

Kappa's insanity, signing off!


にほんごいちねんせえ: Japanese Lunches


I keep forgetting to tell people after or before class that there's a group of us that meet Tuesdays and Thursdays directly after ごぜんじゅういちです。 So far, we've gone to Newcomb for lunch and sit in the far right room from when you walk in, in the booths in the far back on the right. (Of course, that might change depending on everyone's mood) We work on integrating にほんご into our lunches with things as simple as いてだきます and ごちそおさまですて, as well as practicing speech. It's fun, it's low-stress, and it helps with conversation and understanding.

I know that it's during the same time as にほんごいちねんせえ for another class, but that doesn't mean that you can't organize another time, place, or date with other ともだち and classmates. It's really helped me, and I think it's a great way to help cement in new grammar and sentence structures.

And, of course, we welcome anyone else (higher Japanese level speakers or none-Japanese speakers) to join us as well.

Feel free to join us one day!



わたしは Kappa です。Virginia だいがくのがくせえです。わたしはりゅうがくせえじゃありません。わたしはアメリカじんです。わたしのせんもんはかんきょおかがくです。いま、にほんごいちねんせえです。  


A Kappa Explanation

I'm sure by now some people are confused as to the images I've chosen and the video clip below. The clip below, in case you can't read the rather blurred kanji, is from the anime Gensomaden Saiyuki by Kazuya Minekura. The opening isn't as full of pretty fluorishes and whatnot like the actual episodes are.

Why am I explaining this, you may ask. Well, it all has to do with the kappa nickname that I tend to use - in case you didn't figure the kappa part out by now from the signature on the left. Kappa was the term incorrectly assigned to the Saiyuki character in the original Journey to the West series, Sha Gojyo. Gojyo was a sand demon in the original Buddhist myth about a Sanzo priest traveling to India to meet the Buddha. A kappa, however, is a water demon whose favorite food is cucmbers and who carry water dishes on their heads. This is not Minekura's Gojyo, either.

Still lost? That's good - I'm not there yet. In Kazuya Minekura's version, which is far more of an action and personal discovery piece where the four main characters (five if you count Hakuryuu the dragon who can turn into a Jeep) are trying to prevent Gyumaoh, the Demon King, from being reborn, than a religious treatise (though there are a lot of philosophical aspects and debates buried within it), Sha Gojyo is actually half kappa. You can tell he's not human or demon from his red hair and red eyes. I bet now you know who he is in the clip below.

I got the nickname Kappa from Minekura-san's Gensomaden Saiyuki series, prescribed by a group of friends that seems to perpetuate it regardless of who I'm around - it's actually migrated with me past highschool. Gojyo's personality has some rugged edges, though he's really a big brother type beyond that. He's also the fair bit of a romantic, once you get past the playboy aspect. While there are plenty of differences between myself and Gojyo (mainly the whole he's a guy and I'm not aspect), the name persists.

So, longer than anyone cares, this is your kappa signing off.

Gensomaden Saiyuki