April 23, 2017

Day 1

I rewatched some old Naruto episodes and I was happy to notice that I can recognise quite a lot of characters in Hiragana and a few in Katakana. Though, naturally I had to pause to be able to read them. Nevertheless, it made me happy for the day XD.

Other than that, I also installed Google Japanese IME on my PC while writing this. Just figured that I would need it as I’ll be writing my logs in a text file anyways. There was an error while installing the Windows IME for Japanese (some sort of Windows Update issue) and I didn’t feel like debugging so I decided to just use Google’s. After all, I did have a good experience with Google Pinyin previously.

As for my daily goals, I have practiced up to the katakana タ series. Tofugu’s mnemonics have been very helpful in committing them to memory. Hiragana still quite fresh with Memrise revision while I have learned a few vocabs for Japanese 1:

Vocab Meaning/Note  
こんにちわ Hello / Good afternoon  
ようこそ Welcome as in Selamat Datang, not You’re welcome  
さようなら Goodbye
: Should only be used when you won’t be meeting the person for a long time.
: e.g. You are moving to a new neighbourhood
: In most situations, phrases like またね or じゃね are more commonly used.
ありがとう Thank you (casual)  
はい Yes  
いいえ No  
ごめんなさい I’m sorry (formal)  
またな See you later (casual))  
おやうみ  Good night (casual)  
おはよう  Good morning (casual)  
ください  please
: I believe it should be attached after a verb.
: e.g. たすけて ください。
乾杯!  Cheers! (First kanji - haven’t looked up the mnemonics - shall await WaniKani)  
行こう!  Let’s go! (行 seems to be kanji as well)  

This was up to Level 5. Level 6 seems to start with grammar particles. I’ve decided to hold on from rote memorisation of particles until I get a good understanding of the grammar. Therefore, I’ve begun to use the app Human Japanese to replace this Memrise course temporatily.

As for TextFugu, today’s lesson was on the four types of Japanese alphabets: romaji (roman characters), hiragana, katakana and kanji. Speaking of which, there was an interesting fact that I learned from Human Japanese about the origin of hiragana.

Apparently, when chinese characters were first introduced in Japan around 400 AD, the society deemed them to be too complex for women and thus even women born in noble families were not educated deeply in using them. Therefore, the women folk decided to come up with a system based on characters that represent sound rather than words. Over time, this system has evolved into the modern hiragana and katakana whereby katakana is used primary to represent foreign words with japanese sounds. Nonetheless, kanji was still deemed very important as it represented wealth and power, thereby keeping it from being replaced entirely by the hiragana and katakana systems. In modern Japan, an approximate of 2000 characters are considered daily use (used in newspapers).

Well, back to TextFugu. The review on the alphabet types are approximately as follows:

  • romaji
    • It is inadvisible to focus too much on romaji since there isn’t much point in learning it. Most of it comes naturally anyways.
  • hiragana (curvaceous)
    • used to represent difficult kanji
    • used for words with no kanji
    • used as particles (は、を etc)
    • used as suffixes (~さん、~くん etc)
    • used for verb & adjective inflections - giving tenses, negative/positive to verbs (should be learning in future)
  • katakana (angular & sharp)
    • used to represent foreign words
    • scientific words
    • onomatopoeia (words that imitate actual sounds, like “boom” or “roar!”)
    • emphasis (gives similar effect like italizing things in a sentence)
    • food
  • kanji
    • approximate of 2000 is good enough for regular ppl, 2500-3000 for academics
    • represents nouns, adjectives and verbs - most vocabs will be in kanji or is partially kanji
    • each kanji is bound to have multiple pronounciations and with origins from chinese or japanese itself

At the end of the chapter, there was this funny video about Ando-san the Penguin of the Forest :D

Not a bad first day I think. Learned lots and definitely not discouraged yet (かんぱい!). I’m hoping to continue this momentum tomorrow!

がんばって おれ!

Penned at 03.50 p.m. 23/04/2017