Tadoku Update 2

June 24, 2013

We’re nearing the end of this round of Tadoku, which is going…fairly well, considering my average seems to be around 3-4 pages a day. I’m not sure I’ll reach my goal of 175 pages unless I spend a few days doing nothing but reading, but I’ll do my best to get as close to that goal as I can! Right now 100 pages is sort of a mini-goal, and I’m nearly at 90 pages right now, so I’m close.

Oh! I kept meaning to mention it but I totally didn’t, so I’ll say it here: I bought a used issue of Top Yell (Japanese magazine) from Airiindeshou (thank you again!!!) and I’ve been making my way through that… It’s so different reading vertical text as opposed to horizontal text–wow. I have to follow it with my finger, but I’m sure with continued reading I’ll get used to it. I think I’m reading a little faster thanks to it too, somehow. o.o

As far as other Japanese-learning-related updates, I downloaded some new podcasts and have been listening to those, as well as some playlists containing plenty of spoken Japanese on Youtube channels like Morning Musume’s member intro playlist, Juice=Juice’s digest collection, and Up Up Girls’ event playlist. In these particular playlists, because the groups are musical ones, the speaking is broken up by music, but it’s not so much that the whole video is just music. It was nice to have these going while I was working on my contest entry! I really feel like I consumed a lot of Japanese in that time. @.@

I’ve also been practicing shadowing, though I think I should do it more often, just as I should try to read in Japanese more. It seems like I can speak better when I’m modeling how to say something in Japanese to my mom or someone else, but when I just speak naturally it comes out…wonky. ;A; I WILL TRY HARDER. (ง •̀_•́)ง


Cloudy Days

June 24, 2013

I think it’s going to rain…

A loooot of stuff is going on around here! It all seems to be happening at once and thus my updates have been quite infrequent, even on Twitter. I can’t mention everything that’s in the works, but I’ll talk about some of the things (an AJA update will be in a separate post) so you guys will have an idea of what’s up.

All last week I was working on my entry for the 2013 AIS Charles Shultz Scholarship contest, and I mailed it off today. Now that that’s done I can focus on other things, but I need to start on my next assignment as well, so… Yeah.

I have files ready to take in for printing–well, I say “ready” but I have to double check colors and then get proofs printed first–and I want to have some more ready soon so I can have even more prints available. It seems like a really slow process, but that’s really my fault for being so hesitant about it all. Anyway, this means that my artbook is still on the back burner for the moment.

At the same time, I’m doing updates and upgrades to my website in the form of appearance. I want to move this blog over there too, but I’m not certain of when that will take place. I may pay for a redirect so when viewers come to this site they are redirected to my domain site; it seems like a simple fix for would-be broken links and the yearly fee is reasonable (about $13 I think). Along with that will come some surprises that I can’t say or they wouldn’t be surprises, but yeah! I’m excited for that~~ ♪( ´θ`)ノ

Well… I can’t believe June is almost over. I mean, it has felt slow-going, and it still does, but at the same time, suddenly it’s almost July! Wow! Hmm…what will July be for me, I wonder?

JapanesePod101 Got a Major Update!

June 14, 2013

I’ve noticed how they’ve been making more efforts to improve the look and functionality of their website, and I gotta say, this update is fantastic. The previous one, where they streamlined things and added the Dashboard, was a good starting point since it made the site a lot more organized and easier to navigate. But now…now it’s even better!

The new design is clean, bright, and even more streamlined than before. You can easily access all the types of lessons from one spot: the sidebar. When you select one of the categories, you can choose to add certain courses to your dashboard, follow a course through RSS, or explore the curriculum of the course. You can expand sections to see more info, or collapse them to see less.

The downside to all of this new stuff is that there is a bit of slowness when switching between categories and while arriving at the actual lessons because of the time it takes to load the lists and the audio player, respectively. But the audio player is one of the best parts of this new update, so I don’t mind that much. You can now skip ahead without having to wait for buffering, and manipulate the audio in other ways such as speeding up and slowing down. The skipping ahead part is what really makes me happy, because I don’t want to sit through explanations of words or phrases I already know well–something I used to do, which made tuning into the podcast a little less exciting. But today I did three lessons and was quite excited to do them!

In lessons, activities are now divided into three “steps” consisting of an introduction, lesson materials, and a review. As a premium member, I have it set to the lesson materials tab (Step 2) and immediately have the line-by-line audio right there underneath the audio player, defaulted to kanji so I don’t have to try to ignore romaji! (You can choose to view in kanji, hiragana, romaji, or English, but kanji is default.) I don’t necessarily have to download the PDF this way either.

This update is just SUPER nice because it’s so easy to find where everything is now!

I definitely think I will be returning to JapanesePod101.com more often thanks to this! I need to do a proper review of it for sure.

AIS #10 and Contest Entry

June 13, 2013

I sent in my tenth assignment on Monday, and am now focusing on completing my entry for the AIS Charles Shultz Scholarship Contest! In the meantime I’ve thought about a whole lot of things, and… I don’t think I’m quite ready to blog about all of it since I need to take action instead of constantly ponder and wish and wonder (while wandering). I read part of the first chapter of Colossians last night and those words really spoke to me–that is, specifically Colossians 1:9-12. It’s definitely something to keep my Bible open to.


How I Juice (4 Days of Juice in 2 Hours)

June 10, 2013

I’ve been asked several times how I juice or what recipe I use, so here’s how!

The juicer I use is the Breville. I juice for four days on Mondays and three days on Thursdays.



-25 lb. bag of carrots (one bag is roughly equal to five days’ worth of juice)
-one bag of apples (or eight LARGE apples)
-one large piece of ginger
-two cucumbers
-one bag of kale (or two LARGE bunches)
Young Living Lemon essential oil (or the juice of two lemons)
-Young Living Celery Seed essential oil (or one bunch of celery)
-tomato juice
Read the rest of this entry »

Tadoku and Podcasts!

June 7, 2013

It looks like it’s going to rain, but it isn’t… o.o?

I’m doing pretty well for Tadoku so far, at least in that I’m reading every day and reading more than just a couple of Tweets per day. The past few days I’ve only recorded an average of three pages per day, since I’m not counting every Tweet or headline that I read (that would be too troublesome XD).

I have noticed that I’m less and less intimated by the Japanese I encounter daily, which makes me happy because what used to happen was I’d see a page of text, get tired instantly, and choose to not read it or to “read it later”–meaning “not read it”–and then wonder why I had trouble reading. ^^;

Along with that, I have been wanting to listen to more spoken Japanese and have been finding various videos on Youtube (I recently looked at Dailymotion too, since a friend mentioned it to me) that feature Hello!Project girls and have, well, a lot of spoken Japanese. I like to find longer videos and either watch them with full attention or have them playing while I’m working on prints. Longer videos are nice because you don’t have to stop working to change or look for a new video.

I’m subscribed to the SS1422 (S/mileage Station) podcast, but I did that directly through the program’s website when it was first announced and I can’t find any other H!P podcast… Oh, I am also subscribed to 佐藤亜美菜 (Sato Amina)’s podcast “この世に小文字はいりません!” because I found it in an earlier podcast search, even though I’m not a fan of AKB48. It’s fun to try to shadow what she says because she talks really fast and has a tongue-twister corner, which is…how do you even do those, Amina!? XD

Hm~ So yeah, I’m actually not worrying too much about my rank in the Tadoku contest because my goal of 175 pages is the first priority! I’m already in at 35-ish pages in the first week, which is already better than my first attempt during the last half-round of Tadoku, so I think I’m doing pretty good so far! Especially considering this month is one in which I have quite a bit to do ><

Oh! So if anyone has some podcast recommendations, let me know~

[AJA] Weeks 1 and 2; Night Before Tadoku/My Bag

June 1, 2013

Hi, everyone! I didn’t mean to skip a week, but I suddenly got really busy after having an epiphany (coming in another post) and then having to battle a virus on my little brother’s computer most of this week (it’s still not gone, by the way orz).

A status update on my quest is first good–last week, that is–and then poor, as my battle skills were required elsewhere I majorly slacked this week. >< Anyway, in this post I’m going to briefly go over the items in my bag, which coincidentally doubles as a post about Tadoku prep! Enjoy~ ^o^



Generally speaking, I am armed with my laptop and my phone! Oh, and many of these resources I’m currently using (and more!) are listed on my Resources page, which can be found in the sidebar.

I’m using TextFugu, WaniKani, Anki, Denshi Jisho and Yahoo!’s Japanese dictionary, Evernote, Imabi, Tae Kim’s Guide, Youtube, iTunes (podcasts), Lang-8, and various reading “resources” online including Twitter, blogs, and websites.

For Tadoku, I’ll be reading what I have on hand (the text in S/mileage’s first photobook), as well as:

  • N4 and higher articles from ChokoChoko (printed out)
  • Info packets I requested from some manga/anime colleges in Japan
  • blog posts, every day
  • Tweets
  • one book from the Bible, translated into Japanese (PDF)

I don’t know if I’ll be able to right away, but I’d also like to get Pokemon Black 2 in Japanese, along with some Hello!Project-related magazines or books to read. ^^

Japanese Learning Log

This is what I use to record my adventure data, much like a Pokedex. XD It’s just a notebook in Evernote that contains notes and corrections I get on Lang-8. ^^

It occurred to me this week amidst all the chaos that since I seem to have problems consistently studying Japanese grammar, I should set it aside and instead read, listen, and speak (shadow) more. After all, I learned so much of my native language by reading–I’m sure of it. Especially since I read through almost the entire school library in second grade. :3c

On that note, let’s 多読! (´∇ノ`*)ノ

Finished AIS Assignment #9!

May 18, 2013

I actually started on it last night, but then I realized that I hadn’t used the nib pen at all, so the lines were all too thick. (´Д`。) So I started over this morning at around 10 AM, and finished it at around 4 PM (with a break in between)! This makes it the fastest I’ve ever done a lesson. XD I’m actually quite surprised that I did it so quickly… I hope it’s okay. I mean, my family and I think it’s okay… (´・_・`)

Oh! Something funny happened today~

There was a package in the mail from AIS, and naturally we all thought it was my next lesson, right? But I haven’t sent in the ninth assignment, so there’s no way that was possible, since they only send your next lesson when they receive an assignment from you. So…what was it?

Actually, it was another copy of the ninth textbook! XD It turns out they had made a printing mistake and left out four pages. (Which is why I couldn’t find anything in the textbook about what one of the questions in the back was asking!) Lol~

Anyway, I’ll send it in Monday and get started on Lesson 10! I want to get that one done by the end of next week at the latest, because I want to start working on my contest entry!! I haven’t decided yet whether I want to do one panel or an actual comic page… HMM. We’ll see! I want to have fun with this~  (≧∇≦)/

[AJA] Akemi’s Japanese Adventure

May 14, 2013

Hello, everyone! This is the first installment in a series of posts that I am going to be calling “Akemi’s Japanese Adventure”, or AJA for short. In this series I will be logging my progress in Japanese through my persona, Akemi, with drawings, stats, and other things.  (´ω`★)

In this first post, I’m just going to introduce Akemi with her stats and other info, and follow up hopefully with weekly progress reports as she makes her way from my desk to Japan!

Let’s meet…Akemi!

akemi sketch

(Just a sketch for now.)

Current Rank: Lv. 16
・*☆Strength – 9 / The easiest foes to defeat are daily reviews (Anki and WaniKani), vocabulary, and grammar.
・*☆Magic (Real-time Recall) – 7
・*☆Skill – 7 / I have a good memory and a wonderful imagination to assist memorization, and I like to be organized, efficient, and productive.
・*☆Defense – 8 / Defense against discouragement and stronger foes, like application, critical thinking, and writing.
・*☆Stamina – 10 / Currently, I can intensively learn Japanese for ~1-2 hours at a time, or in 30 minute bursts.
・*☆Immersion – 18

・*☆Special Ability – I am an artist. I love to draw, write, and learn!

-Weekly Stats-

Crabigator Kanji Apprentice Lv. 17/50
Speaking – ✿✿✧✧✧
Reading – ✿✿✿✧✧
Listening – ✿✿✿✧✧
Writing – ✿✿✿✧✧ / Handwriting – ✿✧✧✧✧
Immersion – ✿✿✧✧✧✧


Now for the method to all of this! I’ll explain what I’m thinking so hopefully anyone reading can understand what the heck I’m talking about, and if you want to do a similar thing, go for it! (´ω`★)

Strength/Attack: – [Strength]
The aspect of Japanese that you are best at, the “enemy” that you do more damage to when you are faced with it.

Magic: – [Real-time Recall]
In terms of Japanese, this stat could be used for “thinking in Japanese” or having to do with pulling Japanese out of your head to use in a conversation or writing or whatever (your recall ability). A higher level of this stat means that when you are in a live conversation, speaking Japanese, you can recall terms and phrases very quickly and don’t spend a lot of time having to think about what you’re going to say, whereas a beginner with a low “magic” stat would likely try to spend more time putting together sentences in his head before he speaks.

This stat refers to the things you do well that can help give you the edge in learning Japanese. For example, perhaps you have a supreme memory, great handwriting, or an excellent grasp of Japanese pronunciation. Or perhaps you have successfully learned another language and thus have an advantage because you are already familiar with how to learn a new language.

This is your ability to withstand hits/blows/attacks. In this case, your enemy can be elements of learning Japanese that aren’t your forte, other people, or even yourself if you’re too hard on yourself. This stat reflects the things you do on your own to reflect discouragement away from you, as well as when you bring in other people to help you (encouragement).

This stat reflects how long you can last in intensive learning and during study sessions. Have fun in the process and it won’t feel like a chore!

This stat goes up or down depending on how much Japanese surrounds you at any given time. If you live in Japan, this stat will be much higher than someone who is outside of Japan and does not have a lot of Japanese around her. But! If the person who doesn’t live in Japan (person A) surrounds herself with Japanese books, DVDs, audio, etc. and the person who lives in Japan (person B) spends most of her time interacting with other foreigners, most likely the one who will learn Japanese is person A, because she has made more effort! This is especially where your stamina, skill, and defense stats come into play.

Special ability (different from Skill)
This doesn’t have to have anything to do with learning Japanese; it’s just something that you’re good at and/or really enjoy doing.

How to calculate stat gain

  1. Stat gain occurs upon level up. You level up when you have accomplished 90% or more of your mission for that level.
  2. Each level has up to four mission goals (that is, objectives). The mission is considered a success when at least 90% of it has been reached.
  3. The number of points you get per stat varies, depending on mission success, overall performance, and the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, of course. Akemi’s stat gain table is below:

(All max stats are 100 points. Minimum stats are 0 points.)
Strength – did well on mission (+2); did somewhat well (+1); slacked too much on weak points (+0)
Magic (Real-time Recall) –  did well on mission (+3); did somewhat well (+1); slacked too much on weak points (+0)
Skill – relative to progress
Defense – did well on mission (+2); did somewhat well (+0); slacked too much on weak points (+0)
Stamina – did well on mission (+3); did somewhat well (+1); slacked too much on weak points (+0)
Immersion – relative to surroundings, but try to keep this stat fairly high!

Special Ability – no stat information

Additional info

Partially inspired by JALUP (Japanese Level-Up). The Level Guide is here. Also check out the walkthrough.

Results from AIS Section 1!!!!

May 14, 2013

My review assignment and test results came back yesterday! I am so happy that I got another A! It was an A- but it was still an A! That means I still have all A’s.  \;v;/

As I mentioned before, Section 2 starts out with inking techniques. I’m excited because Lesson 10 is over cartoons and I can create my own character in the style I want!! All I need to do is decide if I want to use an existing character or create a new one… The character has to fit into one of four stereotypes, and I need to do Lesson 9 first (lol), so I’ll think about it~

…I’m just happy. Lol.