Starting from Scratch, or Why Failure’s not Always Bad

Suuuuuup.

It’s me again, and it’s been a crazy past year. My son, Alrick, has been in the hospital 3 times since he’s been born (a year ago) for brain surgery, and our family is planning a move to Denver, Colorado on the 19th. So yeah.

I’ve fallen of the wagon several times. It’s not always great, but sometimes life just gets the best of you. The SRS cards start piling up, and after a few days, you just want to totally stop trying to learn and grow. It’s not good times.

However, there are actually some things I’ve been able to take away from this hiatus.

1. Do NOT count the amount of time you’ve been studying Japanese or anything by the years.

It’s just a bad idea. Those years are absolutely lying to you, and honestly, saying it is kind of a lie in and of it’s own.

Like me. I’ve been “studying” Japanese for around 8 years now. However, I actually haven’t. If I could actually tally up the amount of time I have been studying and immersed, it would probably be closer to a year and a half at most. So, yeah. I feel a lot less terrible and honest when I say that I’ve been studying for a year and a half than saying I’ve been studying for 8 years.

2. Just because you fell off doesn’t mean that you can’t get back up.

Do you want to learn Japanese? (Or whatever it is that you want to learn) Then be like an addict. It’s a terrible thing, but they are pretty awesome as a role model in this situation.

I’ve been trying to quit smoking for several years now. I’ve just come to the conclusion that I really enjoy smoking, and that I’m addicted to cigarettes. I don’t think about how many cigarettes I’m smoking in a day, I just smoke when I feel like it. Even if you fall off, if you get back up as soon as you can and treat your SRS reps like a cigarette (Or chocolate, or whatever.) then you’ll be better than wallowing in the fact that you can’t seem to get motivated to actually do anything in Japanese.

Come on, it’s just one more…

I suppose what I was wanting to say with this blog post is that I am back on, and I hope that I can help some people with staying on track. I also have some cool freebies planned for the near future, assuming I can finally get some damn time to do them. But here’s a preview:

1. A 1000 J-E Sentence Pack, culled from my personal collection of random things.
2. A program to help keep you on track, and to record your improvements
3. Something else equally awesome, but much less planned out.

So I hope to talk to you guys again soon, and as always:

じゃあ、またな!

Advertisements

Google+ is Amazing!

Yo, Brent here.

Seriously, finally got my invite, and now I’m using it, and it’s so good. It’s also really good for learning Japanese, in the same way that Facebook is, but slightly easier.

The way you put people in circles really helps you out, because you don’t have to share with everybody. So, you can put some people in your Following Circle, or even make a Practicing Japanese circle, and just send Japanese messages out, and – Unlike Twitter – you can ask for feedback on your Japanese.

So, if you have a Google+ account, follow me for more Japanese on a Dime updates, And check me out for new updates soon. Been pretty busy with everything, but I will be updating more often.

See ya!

I know I said I don’t follow the leader, but if donations are the only way for me to get video games and blow, then dammit I’m gonna try. Click the little button below, you know you want to…

5 Awesome Tools for Learning Japanese

Yo, Brent here.
おっす、ブレントだ。

I don’t use enough Japanese in my posts. So, I’m gonna try to use it more now on my main blog.
However, still not good enough, so it’ll just be the intro and the outro for now lol

Anyway, back on topic. I’ve been looking around, and I found a few really cool sites and tools for learning Japanese.

5. Rikaichan/Rikaikun

Well, if you’ve been learning Japanese for a bit, you probably already know about this, but I thought I’d add it anyway. It’s ridiculously useful. It lets you hover over Japanese text and it’ll tell you what it means. Basic tool, but invaluable when you’re doing active learning.

Here’s the links: Rikaichan for Firefox and Rikaikun for Google Chrome

4. Furigana Injector

This one is very useful, but you need to download HTML Ruby for the full effect. If you don’t, the furigana will end up beside the kanji in parentheses. But, it turns that wall of kanji into readable kana, and that’s always good to me.

And…BAM. Here’s the links for Firefox and Chrome.

3. Kanji Koohii

This is one of my favorite sites ever. Now, there is a bit of AJATT hate, but at the same time, there’s a lot of people on there working on it, so it just depends on who to talk to. However, everyone is amazingly helpful and nice. Now, there are two sites I’m gonna link here. Kanji Koohii is an online SRS basically, but it only works for Kanji. It keeps up with a lot of your stats too, so it’s really fun to use. There’s also a script that is RTK Lite. Instead of learning all 2000-something, you learn the 1100 Kanji from JLPT 2 down, and 92 supporting kanji. That’s what I’m doing, but seeing as I haven’t worked on it in a while, it’s hard for me to remember. It’s a Greasemonkey script, and I’ll link it here.

Greasemonkey Script, and RTK Lite thread.

Kanji Koohii

Koohii Forum

3. Kanji Damage

Now, I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but I really like his style. Shultzz in general wins the internets. Now, If you want to learn Kanji with Yo momma jokes, then he’s the guy to look to. The system is very similar to RTK, however, his stories are much more interesting, and he has a section under each of the kanji with compounds, and he ranks both the kanji and compunds on how useful they actually are. He also takes out some of the Jouyou Kanji, but if you’re not studying for JLPT, then it’s not a big deal, cause he gets rid of the one’s that aren’t seen a lot at all.
I really recommend him if you’re stuck on RTK, because it’s just more interesting. And if you combine Kanji Koohii and Kanji Damage, I think it would work really well. Just put his stories in the section that you have the option for in Kanji Koohii.

Kanji Damage

2. Sabotenweb

This is an older site, and I don’t see it recommended a lot, but it does have a lot of useful sites on it. Some of the sites may be down now, because it is rather old, but it has links to a lot of popular sites (Like Tae Kim’s Guide) and some ones that typically go under the radar (Like The Japanes Page). Definitely check this one out when you have a chance.

Sabotenweb

1. Lang-8

You knew I was gonna make this my number one, didn’t you you sly dog? I love Lang-8, and I tell everyone about it when I can. You can write a blog in Japanese, and people will correct you. Then you can just drop those sentences in an SRS and you’re good. Make sure you correct other peoples blogs though! It gets kind of addictive in all honesty. Also, PRO TIP: Write you blog in both English and Japanese, so they understand what you’re trying to say. It helps both of you out.

Lang-8

Well, that’s all I have for now, but stay tuned, because I’m gonna have more updates soon.

じゃあまたな!
Talk to you later!

 

I know I said I don’t follow the leader, but if donations are the only way for me to get video games and blow, then dammit I’m gonna try. Click the little button below, you know you want to…

MAJA the Anime Rapper – Check this guy out!

Yo, Brent here.

So, I’ve got a new person you should have a listen to. Yeah, he’s American. However, just take a listen to this, and you’ll see why I’m saying this.

This guy is who got me into rapping to start with, and I really hope I can start using more Japanese in my raps, because I love how it sounds. He has a CD out, called
The Amalgam Project. You can find it on iTunes, and you should pick it up if you like his music. It’s a great CD.

Yea, I know it’s more English that a completely AJATT method needs, however, I don’t completely subscribe to AJATT. But, he’s definitely a cool guy, and I hope you like his music.

Check him out on twitter at MAJATRON.

I know I said I don’t follow the leader, but if donations are the only way for me to get video games and blow, then dammit I’m gonna try. Click the little button below, you know you want to…

My top 5 favorite sites for Japanese information

I’ve never done a list before, so it’s probably not gonna be all that good, but let’s jump into it. I’ve been to a lot of sites about Japan and Japanese, and these are 5 of my favorites, in no particular order.

5. Lang-8

Lang-8 is an amazing site. You post a blog there, and natives of whatever language you’re learning correct your work. The people there are really nice, and you’ll get more out of it if you correct entries too. (There are a lot of people that need English help.) I haven’t been on there a lot recently, mostly because I’ve been trying the improve this blog. However, once I get this blog up and running, I’ll probably be there almost (If not every) day.

4. All Japanese All The Time

Ah, yes. The infamous AJATT. This is another great site for learning. However, he gives an entirely new way to learn. (Sort of. It’s actually really common, but for those of us used to the “Burn it into your skull with worksheets and tests” methods we used in school, it’s a breath of fresh air for most. Playing video games and watching anime is considered studying? Woot!) Also, he’s known for being quite inspirational. So, I tend to check his blog to see if he updated, just to get some motivation sometimes. (Because RTK can be quite maddening…)

3. Reviewing the Kanji

Speaking of RTK, it’s online, fan-created SRS is on my list as well. While I may not visit as much for kanji, the forums are a very good place to get information on different styles of learning and tips about learning Japanese when you’re just tired of hearing about AJATT and you wanna try something else. Although, there are posts about it too.

And…Some of the people see AJATT as a cult. And I can’t really disagree with them somtimes. The fans of that method can be over the top sometimes. But I digress. Onto number 7!

2. J-Pop Asia

Yeah. I don’t visit here on a regular basis anymore, but it’s the best place I’ve ever seen to get music. They have top 20 charts from Japan, people’s favorite artists, and their database is top-notch. Every artist has at least one video, and it’s fun to mess around on it. You can buy houses on your favorite songs and I always seems to pick artists no one else buys houses on… >_> (Teriyaki Boyz are awesome!)

1. Epochrypha

Holy…crap? He revamped his site like crazy! He said he started this year, so at least I know I’m not crazy.

Anyway, with the new revamped site, you can see a lot of good information to help you on your journey to learn Japanese. He has a summary of all of the verb conjugations (and I really like that) and other things like keigo (Polite and honorifics) and Masculine and Feminine speech differences. (Not a whole lot on that.) Anyway, check that site out ASAP!

Are you ready to rock? (Well…I tried.)

Yeah…Bad reference. But…Rock as a title loses. (Unless you’re talking about the wrestler…Nevermind, you lose there too.)

Anyway. First one of these, and I think I may finally have the hang of it. (Hopefully…)

Different Types of Rock in Japan

Okay, first off, just like in America, there are different types of rock. However, there are some types that I’m pretty sure don’t exist in America…or anywhere else in the world.

Starting off on the…Stranger aspect:

Visual Kei

Okay, pretty much anyone who’s heard Japanese rock has at least heard of V-Kei. They have a very unique style of dressing and…well appearance. And, seeing as a picture’s worth a thousand words, it would probably be best to just do that.

Yeah...Well, unique is definately descriptive enough, right?

In addition to their…unique getups, they usually have French names. I can see why, it’s just kinda strange. Anywho, here are some of the artists:

X Japan
Dir-en-Grey (Great band, btw. Will have some of there music here.)
Rentrer En Soi
Kagrra (Also really, really good)

And…you can find some more yourself! ^_^ But, to be fair, and to show you what they sound like, here’s Kagrra and Dir-en-Grey:
Kagrra

Dir-en-Grey (Okay…This is probably one of the creepiest videos I’ve seen. That’s why I picked it. I like the song, but it’s not my favorite.)

Oshare Kei

And…Boosh. Just found about these guys recently. It’s a spin-off of V-kei, and it’s actually the exact opposite…almost. While V-Kei is very dark and sadistic, O-Kei is very Happy and bouncy.  Okay…and…Picture time.

And...I'm pretty sure all of them are guys. Yeah...>_>;;

Oshire Kei bands, unlike their V-kei counterparts, focus on a much happier message of Friends and relationships. They are very positive, and their music has a much happier feel.

Anywho, onto some bands:

Kra
Ancafe
Shelly Trip Realize
Charlotte
Clavier

And the samples for this set are Ancafe and Shelly Trip Realize (Just because it’s a cool name.)

Ancafe

Shelly Trip Realize

Not done yet…There’s two more groups I want to cover.

Angura Kei

I’m not gonna lie. I just now found out about this kind of band. While writing this post. Anywho, I like one of the artists who are attributed so, I dunno…Anyway, let’s get to the picture!

Well...They're all in Kimonos. Yay for Japan! :P

I don’t know at all about anybody in this genre. Except for apparently Girugamesh. But apparently they’re a form of eroguro (Erotic…grotesqueness…Look, just don’t google guro. It’s probably the most F*EFF*ed up thing you’ll ever see, in anime form. It’s…yeah. Also, 1,000,000 bonus points for the person that gets the reference. Boosh.)

Anywho, some bands are:

cali≠gari
MUCC
Merry
Girugamesh
Despairs Ray

And…The lucky winners are…Girugamesh and Cali≠gari. So…away we go!

Girugamesh

Cali≠gari

And finally…The “Wannabes” as Encyclopedia Dramatica so elloquently put it. (Also some of my favorites, except for their Engrish songs.)

The Wannabes

Yeah, these are actually, pretty much everyone else. But really these are the bands that “sell-out” and start writing songs in this horrible…Engrish. And the bad part was, before that, they were usually really good. But then they just wanted to be famous. Anywho, in the spirit of this article, I’ll get the picture!

Yup...All of their attitude...They could totally pass for American :P

Well, not really much to say that wasn’t in the first paragraph, so I’ll be making with the bands now:

Ellegarden (I really like them. Except for the Engrish songs.)
UVERworld
Beat Crusaders
Orange Range
The Pillows

And the lucky winners are…Ellegarden and Beat Crusaders, just because.

Ellegarden

Beat Crusaders

Well, and that’s everything. I thought today was pretty fun, and I learned something too. So…everybody wins ^^

Well, until next time,

じゃあ、またな!
See ya!

If you liked this post, why not get free updates by email or RSS?