I have been urging to write this article for a while now since the beginning of this year! This is basically a continue on from My History of Studying Japanese where I just wrote a bit about my education, I am by no means fluent in Japanese, just someone like you who is trying to learn. So after finishing a 1500 word report about something very boring, I am it the mood to type and I caution that this will be a long article so run away while you still can, because I am just going to type endlessly. OH wait!! I just remembered this old school HTML technique which allows me to create links to sections in this article, lets use that~
In this segment and as promised if you read the first article I will describe some methods that I use to continue to study Japanese after graduating from high school. This is what I found that works for me but it’s not really studying or at least I don’t think it is. I haven’t been studying Japanese formally for 1.5 years. So after being accepted into To-dai (Tokyo University) I am just kidding. After being accepted into a good university not as good as To-dai , I started to search for Japanese classes that I could enroll in, however since I was studying an engineering course damn!! I never relised that I have no electives which means that I have no space to take any extra classes! I could not study Japanese with my university. Therefore I started to search for night classes and of course it was too expensive, I could not afford it not to mention it also clashes with my Kendo classes. What to do, what to do I though, and the amount of work I received and degree of difficulty was so high that I did not have anytime to study Japanese in my first year of university. Or so I though…
Now I know a lot of people watch anime, even I love anime. A lot of people say you can’t pick up Japanese from Anime because it’s not how people speak Japanese. I don’t know where people got this idea from but I think that it could help, although I have to admit it doesn’t really help me much. Alternatively Japanese dorama, yes dorama not drama is how to categories Japanese drama from the word drama. I am not sure if this is correct or not but what I tend to believe is the word drama is often referred to a genre where as dorama is the romaji of ドラマ which has an equivalent meaning to TV series. However Japanese drama or dorama is not the same as an America TV series which goes on and on and on and on like the never ending LOST and super boring Australian drama that I will never watch and always hated as a kid/teenager/adult/old man/dead man. However let’s insert a paragraph here.
Japanese drama are short and sweet usually no longer that 12 episodes and comes in a range of different genre. I started to watch dorama back in 2009 starting with Gokusen. So in my last year of high school my Japanese has improved so much by itself simply because I watched dorama. Sounds a bit weird but you can’t learn unless you are having fun learning. I loved Japanese drama so much and started becoming an addict watching them everyday after school. My favorite drama is Bloody Monday and Strawberry on the Short Cake. I highly recommend them and you will too see your Japanese improve. (or maybe not) This maybe something like unconscious learning or something I don’t really know, just that it works but to a certain extent.
Japanese music mainly J-pop since it’s what I listen to the most and you should already know if you are a Kobayo fan just go here to become one because I am going to have a sweet giveaway very soon for anime, Japanese culture and music lovers. So apart from Japanese drama I listen to Japanese music all the time on the bus, when studying, sleeping, in the shower, at dinner, in the toilet, inside lectures, during class. Okay maybe only the first 2 plus the toilet one ahaha… I find that listening to Japanese songs helps improve my ability to pickup what people are saying. For example 2 people are speaking in Japanese and suddenly you can pick up everything they are saying although you might not understand everything that has been said but you still can pick up the words which is pretty amazing. Also I forgot to mention what ability Japanese drama improves, well for me I find that it expands my vocabulary and also you learn some slang.
Movies are also another good source of learning, especially without subtitles. I find that a lot of the movies I want to watch has no subtitles. So I just watch them anyway which does greatly help to see where you are at and if you understand what the hell is going on!! Adding on to that is TV shows which are just so entertaining. Last night I watch Momoiro Clover Z VS Arashi it was so funny. I am sorry guys/girls but I have to include that video right here and now, to finish of this section of the article. Unfortunately if you are reading this now the video was removed from YouTube nooooo~ (hehe but I already watched it ^o^)
During the summer holidays which is around Dec-Feb 2011-2012, I started playing a game called Ameba Pigg. It is developed by Ameba a company that is also responsible for the famous blogging platform in Japan which are use by many Japanese celebrates like AKB, Momoiro Clover, etc. This game is basically a virtual Japan, kind of. When you are inside this game everyone somehow just assumes you are Japanese. This game is mostly played by younger people ages around 8 years old, but most of the people I meet are 12,14,16 year old. The oldest is probably 22 years old.
What is wonderful about this game is you are able to interact with anyone and they are all real people. Especially since a majority of the population in this world is young people ahaha… no I am not a lolicon. What I am trying to say is they use less kanji and it is very easy to understand and pickup what they are saying. Having said that, the language they use is very casual. Even though I learn casual form of speaking in high school, their is so much that I had learn from this game that would never been taught at school. Even some Japanese people don’t know this way of speak or don’t speak this way. This way is young people language. Yes they speak differently but it’s not hard to understand what they mean. On top of all this, their are people from different regions of Japan which also means different dialects, although I never had any problem with this. Every now and again I would like to use Osaka dialect just to add some richness to my conversations.
Now a bit more about the game. You have a house, you can buy furniture, clothes, join clubs, have parties, go fishing, farming, watch tv, (more about this later) dance, visit many different places some are real and some are fictional. In the picture above I am actually in an AKB48 classroom. I remember one time someone was pretending to be the teacher and giving quizzes on AKB. That was so fun! I can’t believe that I can communicate so easily in this world and understand what people are saying.
That reminds me of the time when I got a girlfriend in this game. So basically I was at the bath house and then I left and went to a friends house. A girl followed/stalked me, and my friend asked her, “Who are you?” she replied with, “I am Takeru’s girlfriend!”. Of course all in Japanese and everyone was like (-_-) ……. I was laughing and a bit confuse. So later I went back home and she followed me and then asked me to be her boyfriend. I was checking out her profile and it said she was 10 years old? So because of the kind person I am and since from past experience everyone seems to be surprise when they hear I am 19 years old! Like I am some old man or something. So I said to her sure I will be your boyfriend but how old are you? She said that I should say my age first. So I did and then she said I am 18 years old. I check her profile and she changed it to 18. Yep it was a little bit weird. Also it doesn’t seem like she has a good grasp on kanji because she would change the subject every time I say something with kanji. She would follow me everywhere and we hardly talk. She would place her avatar in a position where it would look like she was kissing mine and say ‘chu’ which is the sound for a kiss. Also she would also keep asking, “do you love me?”. It was a unique experience, however I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of a 10 year old even if it is a game, so I stopped playing.
It was an extremely addictive game with so much that you can do. Also around 10pm, not sure what time it would be in Japan but their is a special room that opens up which is like a cinema. Inside that room they have a huge screen where you can watch a live program design just for Ameba Pigg. This live program also bring celebrates onto the show. Apart from that they also hold competitions like who has the best room and best pigg (avatar) by actually going in to the game itself. It is really amazing and quite a unique feature of the game. Not to mention the other add on but maybe save that for another time. This game is just to huge!!
Nico Nico Live
This is where anyone can create live shows and interact with their audiences thru comment just like google+ hangout except… Erina Mano had a live show on here once and she actually reads the comments, answers some of the peoples questions and comment on their comments. My favorite section is JK. At the time I didn’t know what that means except cute girls are always there. (most of the time) After saying JKって何？ someone kindly replied JK = 女子高生 which means high school girl.
comment removed because of creepy internet people
Get your questions answered by high school girls! I know one guy who likes high school girls and guns and that is sozimax. It’s a great opportunities to practice some Japanese.
Because I am an AKB fan I like to sometimes look at unboxings videos and almost all of them are in Japanese. Most people use this as a way of trading AKB goods with other people, so they show what they bought and say what they can trade. Just commenting on the video usually you will get a reply. I even had a whole conversation on there.
Go and pick yourself a copy of some original Japanese manga, they are dirt cheap!! I find it best if you go with the manga with furigana like in the Negima manga, it makes it much easier to read instead of getting stuck at some kanji that you don’t know. You would typically find furigana in Manga that are aimed at a younger audience. The Shakugan no Shana manga is aimed at a more mature audience and therefore does not contain any furigana.
So to close things up how long did it take me to write this? 3 hours. On average a post takes 1 hour to write, but taking photos editing and uploading is always trouble some. Anyway I wonder if you read all of that and how many spelling mistakes did I make? I guess I haven’t really been studying much Japanese as I should of, but university work takes over most of my time. Maybe you guys can use some of these methods I have experimented with and tell me how it goes? So that is all, I hope you enjoy and てっぱんです！