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    Amnesty11

    Just wanted to say hello. I am a Julie-come-lately to Japanese films. I began studying Nihongo a couple of summers ago, for fun and have fallen in love with the language, the history and the culture(s) of Japan. Oh, and Mifune-sama, mochiron!

    I have become a Kurosawa fan (thanks in part to Toshiro!) and although I’ve only seen about 9 of Kurosawa’s films, I’m looking forward to joining this club and adding to that number. Rashomon was the very first Kurosawa film I saw, about two years ago, so I can’t wait to start my Year of the Dragon watching it again!

    See you in the discussion forums!

    P.S. No matter what picture I try to upload, the profile page won’t accept it. Anyone know how to make the size small enough to accept? Using a mac and iphoto. (Thanks!)

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    Amnesty11

    Ah, it looks like my picture loaded after all….

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    Ugetsu

    Welcome Amnesty!

    And you remind me I should get around to uploading a photo too…

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    cocoskyavitch

    Welcome!

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    Vili Maunula

    Hi Amnesty11! Do you study Japanese in a group or on your own? What materials do you use? Just curious. 🙂

    Glad you managed to upload the picture in the end! Maybe I need to make the instructions clearer.

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    lawless

    Welcome!

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    Amnesty11

    Vili, trying to reply but my reply doesn’t show up. Is there a character limit?

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    Amnesty11

    No Vili, it’s not you, it’s me. Terribly technologically challenged is all.

    As far as Japanese goes, I’ve found that using a variety of study forms helps. I started by learning hiragana and katakana out of practice workbooks when I was going through a rather traumatic time. Writing the kana was like a pure form of meditation for me. Unfortunately the traumatic time ended before I could learn any kanji.

    I continued to self-teach and started with a book called Genki, a standard college text in the States. I have also had good luck wtih Japanese From Zero. I have an adult language class once a week with a sensei who is a native Tokyo-ite. And of course I pop in language tapes while I’m driving and listen to Japanesepod101.com (an excellent podcast for beginner to very advanced) while I brush my teeth.

    The saying in Japanese “chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru (ちりもつもれば山となる)gives me hope: Piled up specks of dust become a mountain.”

    Well, perhaps someday…

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    Vili Maunula

    The over-zealous spam filter somehow picked up your post. I’m terribly sorry about that Amnesty. Nothing wrong with your message. I have now resurrected the latest version.

    At the end of last year, I started the process of trying to brush up my Japanese. I used to speak it on some level ten years ago (I lived in Japan for a year), and was able to read some 700-800 kanji. As I haven’t really used the language since, I have forgotten most of the vocabulary.

    I too was considering Genki, but in the end went with An Introduction to Modern Japanese, which comes in two parts: book 1 and book 2. I chose it because it concentrates on written Japanese, which is what I am most interested in — I would like to read Japanese properly one day. It also assumes familiarity with the kana syllabary from the get-go, which was not a problem for me.

    If you are struggling with kanji, have you tried Remembering the Kanji? A lot of people swear by it, so I have given it a try and have been able to pick up some 500 characters relatively quickly (well in a matter of a few months, but I have taken fairly long breaks between studying). The method it uses is based on mnemonics, so it’s not for everyone, but I use mnemonics for everything anyway, so it work brilliantly for me. The other thing to note is that it only makes you familiar with the characters and one basic meaning for each — it doesn’t help you with actual words, and neither does it tell you how to pronounce the characters. (Later books in the series do that, but fewer people seem to find them useful than the first one.) The thinking is that before you learn words, you should learn the writing system — just like you do with kana. Once you know the characters and their basic meanings, it is much easier to learn actual vocabulary as well.

    For flash cards, I use Anki, which is a brilliant program, once you learn its somewhat quirky interface. It has a ready-made deck for Remembering the Kanji. I have it running on my computers and my Android phone, and the decks are synced through a web server: you can even use your browser to do the revisions. It’s all free. I do all my vocabulary learning with Anki for every language that I am currently learning. Usually, I do a 10-15 minute session just before going to sleep, and just after waking up, usually while brushing my teeth (seems to be a good time for language learning for both of us!).

    For kanji learning, I would also get The Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary, which is based on Jack Halpern’s SKIP system of kanji lookup. It’s the fastest way to look up a character that I know, and is based on character counts.

    And now that I’m recommending things, I would definitely also recommend A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar and A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar. Those are the best grammar books I have seen pretty much for any language. There is also an “Advanced” one, but I don’t have it.

    As you can see, I have stocked up on language learning materials. Now I only need to find the passion to keep going and doing exercises regularly!

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    Fabien

    Welcome!

    Well, it’s not like I was your host, I’m not contributing much, lately, but always reading and pleased to see people around the topics, here.

    I wish you great discoveries with Kurosawa and japanese culture, where you can certainly find loads of mountain-to-be dust.

    (Is there some nonsecret meaning in your eleven?)

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    Amnesty11

    Fabien,

    Non-secret meaning is that for some reason it wouldn’t take Mochi11, Mochi12, Amnesty96, Amenesty12 etc…the numbers represent either the year I am currently in or the year I bought my first computer. So, Amnesty11 (last year) is it. Not current, but there you have it.

    BTW, I discovered the name Amnesty when I was at Snug Harbor in New Orleans. I was enjoying the evening enough, shall we say, t to mis-hear the name of the pianist to be Amnesty, which was just about the coolest name for a jazz accompanist I’d ever heard. Found out later his name was Amasa (Miller) – – so took the name of Amnesty for my own…

    Forgiveness, a unique personal ambition…

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    Fabien

    Thanks for the anecdote!

    Amnesty, indeed, is a nice name.

    And names we choose for ourselves are often more interesting than those chosen for us.

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