Day OneDecember 1, 2010
Learning Japanese

Japanese Begins with a Whimper

I am sick for the first day of my new language.

I am sick with a cold, so Japanese did not start off too energetically. To launch my first day, I did about 50 minutes of Pimsleur Japanese lessons. It went okay, but I am not highly functional. Rosetta Stone for…

December 2, 2010 | Japanese

Japanese Writing: Intimidating

In which my new Japanese book scares me.

I have a cold. Colds are not good for language skills, including in your native tongue. Today I got out my Rosetta Stone disks and tried to install the software. I promptly got trapped in software-bug hell, in an endless…

December 3, 2010 | Japanese

Japanese Pros and Cons: A Language Learner’s Perspective

Some early and perhaps ultimately incorrect impressions.

I find myself automatically making a mental checklist of what seems hard, and what seems easy—or at least less hard—about learning Japanese. First the hard things. One is that you have a lot of courtesy-related language stuff to…

December 6, 2010 | Japanese

More Good News on Grammar

In some ways at least, Japanese may be easier than I thought.

The beginnings of unfamiliar languages with different writing systems and sounds are always a little tough. Sushi Hana Part of the problem in this case is that I am still feeling under the weather. My brain is stupid with this…

December 6, 2010 | Japanese

The Verb Plot Thickens

I was foolishly optimistic.

Today I learned that my initial euphoria over Japanese verbs was misguided. There I was this afternoon, sitting in a café, casually reading along in the same grammar book I have alluded to previously (Master the Basics: Japanese), when I…

December 7, 2010 | Japanese

Adjectives Behaving Badly

Japanese adjectives encroach on verbs' turf.

I have just learned that itsu is “when” in Japanese. One of the things I love about this project is how different these simple little concepts look and sound in different languages. I mean, itsu and “when” are…

December 9, 2010 | Japanese

Japanese Math

I am learning to count, but very carefully.

My German test results are in! The highest score you can get is 12. I got an 11 on the oral exam (“nearly fluent”) and a 10 on the writing exam (“advanced plus”). That may sound pretty good, but I was hoping for…

December 11, 2010 | Japanese

Japanese Vocabulary Lessons

I am confused, though not painfully so, by some new words.

Today as I was reading through the vocabulary list in the back of the grammar book I am using, Master the Basics: Japanese, I noticed that certain nouns in English were listed with two different Japanese equivalents, one…

December 15, 2010 | Japanese

Pimsleur to the Rescue

In which I am able to meet an emergency need for Japanese.

Pimsleur is coming in handy, at least in my sleep. Last night, for example, I dreamed that I was with a pretty big group of people, I don’t really know who, around a big square hotel bar on some…

December 18, 2010 | Japanese

New Language-Learning Supplies Arrive!

Emergency Japanese writing assistance reaches my building.

All this week I worked on a large proposal relating to Syntaxis, my business with Brandt. Proposal writing and language learning, I have decided, are not compatible activities. At least not for me. Every minute I was not working on…