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24 May 2015

Weely Wrap-up: A Win in Japanese!!

Easily the most exciting thing in my week has been a huge leap forward in my Japanese studies! I recently started browsing through the All Japanese All The Time blog, and came across his suggestion to study whole sentences, rather than vocabulary and grammar in isolation. I've been trying this week, and I don't think that I've ever done anything so effective! Part of the magic is the way that he suggests collecting: out of real Japanese materials (not the Engilsh-Japanese student "ghetto") that you're using because they are fun. Right now, I'm enjoying my flashcards immensely. Can't get enough. I've always kind of liked reading the dictionary, and right now the sample sentences in my Japanese-English dictionary are completely fascinating, so I'm building a list of sentences out of my dictionary, built around words I already know. So lots of the sentences I'm studying are ones that have one or two words that are new, and the rest is familiar. But the really cool thing is that I'm learning to say things in a Japanese way. And, being more comfortable with saying things in a Japanese way, the simple ebooks I've been working on are getting easier -- after only one week!! I have my eye on some Stargate episodes in Japanese, and I've kicked up the Japanese talk radio background noise, since that helps to get the language and patterns into my ear. The kids were eating up the Avengers in Japanese that I found on YouTube, and they ask for Shimajiro. I switched my phone's default language to Japanese, and I'm trying to persuade my phone to show me stuff in Japanese on Pinterest. And it's working. For all of us. Every day I understand noticeably more than the day before - without putting in tons of effort. Because, after all, there's still the rest of life to accomplish.

And, in spite of my enthusiasm for my dictionary and flash-cards, we did do quite a bit of non-Japanese stuff.

Nature Study went particularly well. Our pond is really coming to life. We saw tadpoles - the first time I've seen them, ever - and fed turtles. The kids got muddy. We watched water-scooting bugs and listened to bird song. I found plantain and burdock, and identified the remains of the Jack-in-the-Pulpit we found last week, even though the flower was broken off. We noticed that "our" mouse has opened a new hole - the 3rd we know of on his house. I still have some wildflower photos to identify. The pond was gorgeous. The woods were beautiful. It was fascinating. I love Nature Study!

Hero(8) has been hard at work, learning to blow bubbles. Not that that's terribly educational. But it's important to him, and he's so happy with himself! We've had several pieces of gum hit the floor... ew. But he's making progress. Even if it is hard to photograph his successes.

We were minding our own business, attempting some bookwork on Friday, when Nature Study came to us. We discovered that a Mama Mallard built her nest in the neighbor's rhubarb. Happily, they don't eat the rhubarb; hopefully they'll wait until the ducks are done nesting to finish taking out the plants. In the mean time, we have front-row seats, since the fence is easy to see through. I've seen 5 or 6 babies, but didn't get a good enough view for a reliable count. The neighbor says there's 8. I'm wondering why they decided that a suburban yard, a mile or more to the closest drainage pond, much less a real pond, is a good place for a nest? No idea. But I'm delighted.

The kids have been doing some great stuff around the yard. Hero has decided that mowing is one of his favorite jobs. And they all like the planting we've been doing. Hero and Dragon each did their own pots. Dragon chose red ones, appropriately, Snap-dragons. That makes me smile.

Hope that your week went as well as ours did!


Rozy Lass said...

What a brilliant way of learning a language! Good work. I sure had a great time in Tokyo in April, wonderful country and people.

Ritsumei said...

It is SO much better than anything I've tried before, and the success is feeling so wonderful, since I've been messing around with this language since I left college in '98, making very little headway, it felt like, and now kind of all the sudden, IT'S WORKING, and QUICKLY!!

You're very fortunate to be able to go to Japan. Love it there. I went with my husband before we had kids, and we are planning another trip for our 20th in about 3 years. By then, the kids will be big enough to leave with their grandparents for 2 weeks. Much less than that, and it's so much effort and travel for very little time in-country.


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