Sunday, May 13, 2007


On Friday, I finished Pimsleur Japanese II lesson 30. So I'm 60 lessons in, 30 to go in the series. I'm at Beginner lesson 40 at, which is great for more cultural, casual, and contemporary vocabulary. The other night, while enjoying a somewhat cheap but pleasant scotch (White Horse - a blend from Lagavulin), I turned to my friend and said: これは わるくない ですね (kore-wa warukunai desu ne!) It means "this isn't bad is it?" which would probably be an unimaginable insult should I say it to a host in Japan... but here it was just fun.

I've also continued my intensive drilling on reading and writing in Japanese - Good old Caesar was in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago (he has meetings there 2-3 times a year, as well as in Finland, North Carolina, California... dude is CONNECTED). Anyway he got me a couple of Japanese schoolkid writing/reading recognition games for my Nintendo DS, which should REALLY push me. I also got a plugin for my browser called "Rikichan", which is like the rosetta stone: You go to any website with japanese writing, and your cursor translates anything you point to... it gets the Kanji too, and offers just about every POSSIBLE meaning too, so you can get the context correctly.

I'm back to my casual rotations on Spanish, French, and German... and am determined to get more comfortable with the PAST tenses in Spanish and German: I mean, how can I talk about my weekend if I can't really remember the past tenses? It can't all be "I want" and "I'm going". On Spanish, I'm still working out if I like what's going on over at or not: I'll blog more on my internal war on that in the next few days. For now, I'm working through a Schaum's Outlines review of Spanish Grammar. If I write it a dozen times, I'll own it... right? ;->

Not to worry, I did do a fair amount on Chinese as well: 3 Pimsleur lessons (up to lesson 16 in Level I, so quite a ways go go), and a few Chinesepods... not very intensive, but I was getting back into the swing of it.

I was reflecting on why French is so natural for me, and why Russian, which I abandoned after just 2 years pops into my head, and I finally figured it out: I WORKED HARD on those languages. I had to do at least a half hour of homework every night and had a full hour class every day. I would bet that if I dedicated that kind of time for 3 months to ANY of my existing languages, I would attain a powerful level of stickiness. Not that I'm exactly being LAZY about my learning... but I could be a bit more directed. I'll think on this.

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