日本

you're strange and you're beautiful

Tumbling Toward Fluency

In the never-ending search for ways to integrate Japanese into my very Western life, I have started a Tumblr blog that I am writing solely in Japanese. For those who haven’t tried out Tumblr yet, it is rather on the buggy side but very handy for micro- and photo-blogging. This miniaturist layout is especially useful considering that I can barely eek out 2 or 3 sentences of Japanese at a time.

I see this as the natural progression from trying to keep a 60/40 split of English and Japanese (respectively) on my Twitter account.  It is a brilliant feeling when a Japanese word or expression spontaneously comes to mind, rather than attempting a laborious translation from English. Yet the hard work must be done, and mistakes have to be made.

To that end, I have put a request in the sidebar of the new blog for all corrections and comments on my pre-school 日本語 to be left in the comments. I learn best by being corrected, not only because it leaves a deeper impression, but also because there are more than just one lesson to be learned.

For example, I was writing an email asking someone to read my blog so that I could have their opinion. I immediately remembered a correction from a native speaker on Lang-8 that 読書 (どくしょ) is only used for reading books, or discussing reading itself; the form 読む (よむ) is much more appropriate for internet reading like blogs and online articles. It may seem a small point, but I haven’t forgotten it.

99.9% of the bloggers I follow are on Blogger or WordPress, so it will probably take a while for me to get integrated into this new community. If you have a Tumblr then have a look-see at leaving me a few corrections.

4 Comments»

  Michael wrote @

Best of luck with your studies! I know how hard it can be to integrate Japanese into your daily life, but once it’s routine, you’ll be glad you did!

  katiesjapanfiles wrote @

Thank you Mike! Your competition got my brain working, hence the leap into a Japanese-only blog😉

  Matt Considine wrote @

Wow Katie, I am impressed.

I think learning Japanese would be very challenging.

I have visited Japan a few times, and it is amazing how little English is spoken and how tricky it can be to get around. Being able to speak and read Japanese there would really be amazing experience.

I really want to go back and spend a few weeks and get out into the countryside to photograph some of the old thatched onsens and maybe some zen gardens.

BTW, I like your website layout and functions.

I will tweet your article.

Cheers
Matt

  katiesjapanfiles wrote @

Hiya Matt – sorry for the late comment approval, I went offline for a week to recharge the old mental batteries!🙂

Thanks so much for your comments, and I really hope you get back to Japan soon. I live vicariously through bloggers and photographers who post about Japan – I’ve not been yet.

As you say, I think that is why I’m working so hard to learn Japanese as much as possible for when I do go. Even here in NYC, I have had opportunities to speak to some amazing people but the language barrier has gotten in the way. And you’re right, it really is a Western misconception that everyone in Japan speaks at least a little English. Not true!!


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