in due course

Archive for November, 2011

Pen Pals!

So today I’ve spent most of the afternoon replying to my Japanese pen pals. I’m not sure if one uses the words ‘pen pal’ for friends you write to via email… but I’m gonna! If you’re learning Japanese and you don’t have an email pal then I suggest you find yourself one right away. There are millions! Just type it into Google and see what you find. Writing to others in Japanese really helps with grammar and vocabulary and usually gives you a chance to teach English too. My method is to have them write to me in English, I reply in Japanese and then we correct each other with explanations, it’s really good practice and sometimes they can make more sense to me about my mistakes than my teachers at uni! One email can take the best of an hour though so it is pretty time consuming!

Other than that I’ve just been cleaning the bathroom, gross, and I also bought some advent calendars for my boyfriend and I, as well as little Christmas tree for out room 🙂 I’m quite sad like that!

I didn’t go to my Japanese reading and writing lesson on Friday since it was my birthday, so now I’m probably a bit behind and not really sure of what I have to learn for this Friday. We have a Kanji review test at the beginning of next semester so I better get my butt into gear and start revising!!


ピンク映画 (Pink Film)

I’ve decided to start work on my second Japanese Cinema essay instead of doing my kanji.

My essay is going to be on the sexual content of the film A Snake of June (Rokugatsu no Hebi). I haven’t actually seen the film… but I’ve done a lot of reading on it! We don’t get to choose any film we want, we’re offered a list of films and a list of questions which we then mix and match ourselves. My first essay was about Throne of Blood and its comparisons to Macbeth. For those of you that haven’t seen it, I suggest you do it right now. It’s a bit old school (skool?) but its Japanese Theatre (Noh) influences are pretty heavy and a bit creepy so I recommend it if you are a fan of Noh theatre.

From what I’ve read, A Snake of June is quite high in its sadomasochistic sexual content (a so called ‘Pink Film’) so I figure if I am allowed to write about graphic sex, then I’m gonna! The above image is taken from a scene in which the main protagonist has been pleasuring herself. Outside. In the rain.

My first choice of film essay topic was Daremo Shirinai (Nobody Knows). An incredibly touching film about a mother who abandons her 4 children in Tokyo (based on actual events). If you’re into Japanese family culture and the ie then that is a film worth watching as it shows you how the unconventional family in Japan is seen.

I’ll let you know how this pink film/ blue movie goes (the whole film has even been tinted in blue… dedication to the genre if I ever saw it).

‘Learning’ in the library

It’s been a couple of days but my internet at home hasn’t been performing which, considering that this is our THIRD wifi box in about 2 months, isn’t something I’m very happy about. Plus, now I’m forced to go to the library to do my work and unfortunately I’m one of those people that finds it hard to do work in the library… so here I am, not doing work!

I’ve been in work (I work at Russell & Bromley) for the past 3 days so I haven’t had much time to learn any Japanese, all I’ve managed to do is go over my kanji flashcards but the good news is that I’m quite up to scratch with all the kanji we’ve learned this semester. I find myself making up the stupidest things to remember what the pictures mean and their readings, for example:

合格 – ごうかく(goukaku – to pass an exam)  ‘kaku’ also means to write (though the actual kanji for ‘to write’ is 書く – they are just said the same) and ‘gou’ sounds kind of like a drawn out ‘go’… therefore ‘go kaku’ (go writing!) could be like some sort of enthusiastic cheer about how one should carry on writing to pass their exam? (Yes, this really is an example of how I remember the readings of kanji!) I remember what the actual picture means through a combination of learning the compounds for each kanji (Wiki Dictionary is very good for this) and what they actually look like, e.g. 合 means both, to unite and a small chamber, I imagine it to a desk with a screen in front of it in an exam hall. 格 means style or pattern.. I can’t make any sense of this so I look at each compound: 木 means wood (pencil) 各 means individual.. so each individual has a pencil in an exam hall to pass their exam ‘goooooooooooKAKU!’

Obviously not all kanji need such a complicated explanation so that I remember them, but sometimes the kanji have little correlation to what they actually mean so this helps!

As said earlier, I really recommend Wiki Dictionary for looking up kanji, it gives you what the kanji means, the different readings, the compounds and sometimes a little bit of history of how the kanji originally looked on the oracle bone script to how it looks today. All of these things seriously help you to remember them, just like you will remember what 合格 means now!

I’m going back to Liverpool tomorrow (where I come from) for my birthday. Yes, 25 years on this Earth.. bleurgh. It also means that I’m again not going to do any work so I really should get a move on now!

Ja matane (I’m on the university computers and they can’t write in Japanese!)

Study-break rant

I’ve decided that blog writing is more fun than studying.

I’ve been trying to study all this Kanji ALL MORNING, with little progress.


So, now I’ve calmed down a bit… It’s really annoying because every time I learn something new, something old is forgotten. I have to go over all the Kanji I’ve learnt practically every day so that they are always fresh in my mind… and let’s be honest, I don’t do it everyday, barely even every week. There are just too many!!