Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Taking it one word at a time

We established last time that English is a tricky language to learn. Now let's talk about Japanese...

It's downright hard! Or as I say in Japanese, "Muzukashi desu!!" (難しです) 

Learning any new language obviously requires a lot of time, patience and memorization. When you're studying a language that has completely different grammar and doesn't even use the same alphabet as what you're used to, it's even more difficult.

Before I came to Japan, I knew about ten words of Japanese. I could say, "I'm hungry," and ask for ice cream. I figured that's all I really needed. ;)

I've come a long way since then. (Now I can specify what ice cream flavor I want, haha.) But seriously...

It didn't take long for me to want to learn more of the language. Tomoki taught me how to read and write hiragana and katakana--two of the three alphabets--within my first month in Kuji. Ever since, I've been learning new words, mainly just by hearing Japanese on a daily basis.

I'm also making an effort to learn. In addition to studying from a book, I carry a journal with me every day for the purpose of jotting down new Japanese words and phrases. Just today I learned the following words:

shrine = じんじゃ (神社) pronounced "jinja"
message = でんごん(伝言) "dengon"
mind = こころ (心) "kokoro"
forever = えいえんに (永遠に) "eienni"

These are English words that I taught my students from their textbook. While they're learning the words in English, I have them teach me the words in Japanese. I learn a lot that way.

A few days ago, I learned how to say, "I can't believe it!!" Every time I say that, I get some laughs. :)

After eating lunch with my students at Misaki Jr. High, we have time to hang out. Occasionally, I'll use that time by having them quiz me on Japanese words. (pictured above) It was during a "Japanese session" that one of my students took my camera and shot a couple of pictures of my frustration with Japanese...

*sigh* Aaaargh! Sometimes I just want to rip my hair out! (haha)

By the way, this last photo also depicts what I looked like last night when I discovered my cell phone at the bottom of my washing mashine! Yipes! Words of wisdom: If you are going to wash your coat, first make sure that the pockets are empty.

That's all for now. Have a nice day. 小夜なら!


Dawn said...

Oh my...water tends to kill cell phones. They have three alphabets...and say English is hard? LOL - like the picture of you pulling your hair out since it's not something I would expect you to do. I like some of the words they use - they just sound funny when you say them.

Lauren said...

I am glad that you are learning how to speak the language that way you can teach us when we come over lol! I think everyone has washed their cell phones before, I know I have! I hope it isn't ruined!
Love you!

Jennifer said...

I love you, Dana! You make me laugh. I can only imagine how hard it would be to learn Japanese...I tried German in High School, but didn't get very far. We learned how to play cards better than we learned how to speak German. :( Memories...I hope to learn Japanese too when I come over in June. I can't wait!!!

lauren ashley said...

ooh, dana, my love!

it is SOO RAD how you are learning japanese bit by bit!! i SO admire what you are doing over there! :)

THANKS for all your support of my bloggy - your comments ALWAYS make me excited! hehe.


Anonymous said...

Hi, i came across your blog when I was searching for Hiragana. How long do you plan to stay in Japan?



Dana Sease said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! Rian, that's so cool that you stumbled upon my blog. :) To answer your question, I'll be in Japan until August, 2010.