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Re: alaart's log (mainly Japanese/Chinese)

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:09 pm
by alaart
Nothing too interesting, but for the sake of completeness, a bit about daily university life, which became very tiring. I maybe slept around 5h most days.

I'm a bit struggling with all the homework. Every class has it, and they always have short deadlines like only 2 days to hand in some tasks, but my schedule is usually already full, so the homework hits me out of the blue and I have to cram it in somehow. I'm usually very throughout and rather slow with the homework.

On my J-Cat Test 2 months ago I did so poorly, that the teachers wanted to put me into the A2 course. But I protested and participated in the B1 courses till now. today finally got the okay for permanently entering the course. one of the teachers said she generally never does accept students skipping to a higher level, and she is very strict, so I feel it is a compliment, that she lets me participate.

The B1 courses have a lot of written language that is new for me. The written language takes time to adapt to, most of the other students are Korean or Chinese, so they have less trouble with the written language. I feel written language is the thing were I definitely have progressed since coming to Japan, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.

Another struggle has been the bureaucracy of Japan. Countless emails, letters and instruction papers - all in Japanese, and it takes time to get through them. I wanted to take another teaching job at the University, but then they handed me like 5 pages of Japanese instructions. The deadline day of filling out the forms came and I was tired. I just threw the whole application into the trash because I didn't have the nerve to translate and organize it - so no second part time job for me :D


I still haven't studied a single minute of Spanish outside of class. I feel embarrassed not being able to conjugate verbs, and not understanding some grammar bits. Also I signed up for the wrong course: I signed up for the Spanish course outside of the Spanish language department, which is half the speed of the regular classes. So I'm basically in an extra slow class, but ok. Since I'm busy, it may just be better that way :lol:


I introduced myself to the Chinese students this week, I participated at other universities events to meet more people and met some Chinese people there. My Chinese is already way worse than it was in Taiwan or Germany. I reactivated old Anki decks, since I had excess time on the subway, but turns out I really forgot most of the words. I studied them between March and July when I was talking daily and watched subtitled television on yabla. (In total around 2500, I reactived 500 for now). It's just brutal that I forgot so much, I worked so hard in spring.

Amongst maybe 20 Chinese people I approached so far in my one month in Japan, I finally found two that want to study with me, one wants to improve English, one German. So I will return to my 3x week Chinese language exchange schedule I had in Germany. I hope this reactivates some hidden memory and the stuff I studied before will return.


Next week is the polyglot conference. I have classes though, so I skip two days of university classes for the travel back and forth, I take the night bus to the event and the Shinkansen back. Won't have any time for sightseeing or anything other than the conference, but still - very much looking forward to the event. Also I have some study time on the bus and train - so I'm also looking forward to that.

Re: alaart's log (mainly Japanese/Chinese)

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:41 pm
by alaart
Not much studying besides classes and homework, but lots of talking. I'm half sick, so I slept a lot.

Had Chinese language exchange today. Because I can't distinguish faces well I talked to the wrong Chinese girl and made a new friend. We then talked as a group :lol:

Met some Taiwanese people on Sunday, actually one of them was a guy I've met before in Germany. The world is small. I met a Mexican studying German for his company, I invited him to do language exchange with me and he was happy, but you never know. The Mexicans on iTalki I found disappeared too, so I still struggle to speak Spanish. Also met a Brazilian who wants to study German, but again you never know. During my language exchanges in Germany Brazilians usually proved to be very unreliable ^^, well that's just how it is.

Re: alaart's log (mainly Japanese/Chinese)

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:15 pm
by alaart
I actually got sick and had to cancel traveling to the Polyglot Conference. It's a bit sad, but I have the feeling that it won't be the last time I'll go to such events - looking forward to the talks on youtube.
On the plus side I got a full refund from Japanese Shinkansen, so I have more money than expected. And I have 4 days of unexpected free time.

I did rest yesterday though, but today I already felt a bit better and studied Spanish for my first time. I use the course book "¡Muy bien!" - and did the first 2 chapters today. The book has explanations in Spanish and Japanese, this is good, because I can go back and forth and learn how to talk about grammar :).
In class the teacher explained unregular verbs this week, so I have to catch up at least till that in the near future.

I also did some yabla in Spanish, but I quickly realized that I should get Verb conjugation down before continuing, but after the basic grammar is done I basically plan to just watch videos. I started creating Anki decks with vocabulary, and I think I'll use 3 sided flashcards: Spanish, English and Portuguese . Lets just hope this keeps the Portuguese a bit fresher, and distinct. I organized a language exchange with the Mexican I met for next week.

Other than that not much else, added vocabularies from the last 10-14 days or something from my dictionary logs, and also did University classes and homework. We actually have to learn some etiquette here, so proper ways to write emails, formatting etc.

Also still have some Japanese paperwork left to keep me company.

Re: alaart's log (mainly Japanese/Chinese)

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:23 pm
by alaart
I have bad time management, I'm doing to much at once, and nothing thoroughly. I bought a guitar and started playing daily (has been a while), and I'm starting to go on dates, a part of my life which definitively needs improvement.

I had language exchanges in Spanish and Chinese. The Chinese one was good because it was in a group, I was introduced to like the Club president of the Chinese circle from another university. He invited me to join their student circle, and I plan to go if I find the time.

Also spoke some Portuguese with the exchange students, but not much - mostly when they speak I can only listen.

Otherwise not much. Only homework and Anki.

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN ; Spanish 6WC)

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:21 am
by alaart
I would post more, but language wise not too much has happened.

Sunday I studied Spanish for maybe around 4 hours: I finished the third Chapter of my Spanish coursebook, but my class is now in Chapter 8 - so I'm still miles behind (I started in second semester, so have to catch up the whole first semester). Just learned how to conjugate Verbs :lol: . I still struggle in class, but now I picked up most of the grammar vocabulary in Japanese like 再帰代名詞 :D, so I can follow the lesson better. My Spanish Anki deck just has about 200 Vocabularies, so not much.

Monday after classes I talked a lot of Chinese, first in my University, and then in the Chinese circle, which is in a different University. Talked about 3 hours of Chinese there, maybe more. My Chinese was by far the weakest, so I struggled but everyone was friendly. They talked about local areas in China, and then about Poetry °_° - yes again (!), those Japanese-Chinese exchanges and their Poetry! I really should level up my culture. They made me compose a Haiku about my home area in Germany. I used Japanese rhythm for Chinese, and I have basically no idea, but whatever:


Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN ; Spanish 6WC)

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:52 am
by alaart
We got 2 days off because of the university festival, and that gave me a lot of time. I have started to sleep more now, 7 or 8 hours per day this week, and I feel much more at peace. To achieve this I skipped a day of lessons :D , but that was just what I needed.

The 6WC contest started, and I have to say I'm quite motivated and accumulated some hours already, but it is mostly just university stuff. I studied chapter 4 and 5 of ¡Muy Bien!, so only one chapter till I have finished the material of the first semester. Then I should be on the same level as the rest of the students soon. Spanish is finished for now, but there is another stack of Japanese homework waiting for me, and I'm writing you now in order to postpone doing it for a little while longer °_°

I miss studying on my own agenda, also Spanish is the first language I study without speaking it since English in school, which feels weird. I want to speak! - no language exchange this week except for Chinese last Tuesday.

Also played a lot of guitar this week and socialized a bit.

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN ; Spanish 6WC)

Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:14 am
by alaart
Has already been a week. I'm very busy with university life.

Caught up in Spanish to my class, but I must say the book is lacking in detail, will have to study more Grammar on my own. I did language exchange with a Mexican online, can't believe how difficult it is to speak a language, has it always been that difficult? - I remember just diving in and speaking all the previous languages a couple times a week, and I usually got results quickly. This is not possible, since I lack speakers. And I guess it has been a while, since I experienced the real difficulty of producing some speech as a beginner.

I really had a lot of homework and assignments, or maybe I'm just taking a long time for things in Japanese. I am around done now, so I can focus on other things finally. This week will be busy again too though.

Ah I forgot, there is a language center at my University which started last week. And it is for the Japanese students, and people are sitting and waiting to speak with them, but usually no one comes. So if I have time, I will go there, and if no Japanese student comes (they have priority) I can fill the gap and get precious speaking experience. There is daily Spanish and Chinese, and Portuguese maybe 2-3 times a week or so. There also is Korean which might come in handy next Semester.

The 6WC, I'm amazed how some people manage to pump out like 10 to 20 hours more than me last week, even when my university classes, activities etc. basically all are language related - that's crazy, and highly motivating! I guess I can still do more if I improve organization and be a bit more disciplined.

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN ; Spanish 6WC)

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:14 pm
by alaart
I'll work myself through the grammar of this website now: - will learn the basic grammar and verb patterns, maybe till past tense and subjunctive. And then, since I still have trouble finding speakers, maybe pay for lessons on iTalki in the near future.

Added last weeks Anki vocabulary, also had Chinese language exchange today, had great difficulty speaking, and had to insert quite some Japanese - oh my. :roll:

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN ; Spanish 6WC)

Posted: Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:47 am
by alaart
A lot of speaking in the university language corner, it is a lot of fun.

I have been joining the Chinese exchange students for the last couple days, and just listened to their conversations - and after some time I could speak again, also had Chinese language exchange today. Ah I also spoke some basic Spanish :)

In contrast to that I couldn't produce Portuguese at all today, I spoke some words and finished the rest of the sentence in Japanese every time I tried. I guess Portuguese will need some love again soon. - I was surprised I couldn't speak it, because I sang Portuguese songs in Karaoke without any problems just the day before yesterday, but I learned those songs by heart a long time ago, so maybe it is not the same brain function than speaking, or something like that.

Apart from that not much, lessons and such.

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN ; Spanish 6WC)

Posted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:20 am
by alaart
Less studying and more of getting things done these days. I will speak some Portuguese this week to refresh. Also found a new Mexican language exchange partner online. Next Sunday I will do the Taiwanese language exam, I'm not prepared at all - if I find the time I would like to do at least a little this week.

Also one topic I'm currently thinking about:

The political atmosphere is very heated concerning China right now. How to deal with the political disputes? I usually spent time with all kind of peoples, and the different political opinions just come to the surface everywhere. I usually try to stay vague, I rarely agree to anyone and encourage people to listen to each other.

I got blocked by a Taiwanese girl about a month ago, who made jokes about my Mainland-ish accent, and labeled me as too China-friendly. When I mentioned, that Taiwan and China share cultural heritage her being mad turned to being enraged. Also my friends who I visited in Taiwan are questioning my morals a lot, because I refuse to sign anti-Chinese statements etc.

Likewise some Chinese people are mad at me too. I sometimes get asked directly about my opinion about certain topics, and of course - being Western - I mostly have a Western point of view on most issues. One of my roommates is from Hong Kong, when he talks about politics with me - he makes sure that the other Chinese guy in my flat isn't around. Also he tells me the news he is reading, which are very detailed and graphic.

One Chinese guy I study with studies Japanese history, and talked about the Manchurian invasion. On the same day, I asked my Japanese German students what they are reading, and one of my student is reading a book, about why Japans seconds war in Manchuria 'wasn't an invasion'.

Yesterday my Chinese friend showed some photos from Tiananmen square, to which my Japanese friend replied: "Isn't this the square of the tiananmen protest?"
Another thing I was a bit uncomfortable, was the overpraise talk about the comfort and advantages of all kind of Chinese apps and services, and questioning why those don't exist in the West.

When I'm with Chinese students, they sometimes get nationalistic. In Germany when I hang out with some Chinese students they once had Chinese flags, and Chinese nationalistic singing. While of course I'm reading the western news concerning crimes in China.

So till now, I mostly tried to not get involved in politics, and I always try to separate people from politics. But a lot of people are political nowadays, especially with recent events heating up. And people get mad at me for trying to stay neutral too. My Taiwanese friends frankly tell me, that they don't get me.