Japanese, Language, Life Updates

So you want to speak Japanese?

So with COVID-19 and lockdown/quarantine going on, I’ve noticed that quite a lot of people are starting to try new things (such as picking up new languages) as a means to stay sane and keep boredom at bay.

This said, Aidan decided to try his hand at learning Japanese when lockdown started for us here, and it’s nearing about 5 months since then.

I’ve been casually studying Japanese culture for the last decade and have recently been putting more effort into properly learning the language. I’m not fluent by any means, but I’ve learned enough to know where to look when I need something specific. Observing Aidan’s struggles since he started learning, as well as hearing specific complaints and questions from some of my friends, I have decided to share some resources to get you started in case you also want to learn Japanese.

Ok, before I delve into resources, let’s take a look at the JLPT first…or as I like to call it: ‘Japanese difficulty levels’.

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (日本語能力試験; Nihongo Nōryoku Shiken), or JLPT, is a standardised criterion-referenced test to evaluate and certify Japanese language proficiency for non-native speakers, covering language knowledge, reading ability, and listening ability. See the official website for more info on the tests itself

Even if you aren’t interested in taking the tests, it’s a very good way to gauge where you are in terms of skill. Some courses, schools and teachers even use the JLPT levels to indicate the difficulty of a lesson or course.

The JLPT consists of five levels (N1 to N5), with 5 being the lowest and 1 being the highest level of certification. Some companies in Japan require non-native speakers to have taken the test (usually N2 and up) before they’ll even consider hiring them.

More info detailing the JLPT levels can be found here.

RESOURCES


Duolingo

Duolingo is a platform designed with the sole intent of teaching people new languages. It’s a freemium app, meaning it’s free to use, but offers premium options for a fee.

Now, Duolingo is quite lacking in many aspects, but it isn’t terrible. Don’t get me wrong. It can be a really great place to start if you’re trying to tackle a language that is not remotely close to English, such as Japanese. But if becoming fluent is your goal, relying on ONLY Duolingo will not get you very far.


LingQ

LingQ is a learning platform that was created by Steve Kaufmann, who has learned over 16 languages since the age of 17 (he was born in 1945, just for reference). If you want more info on what he does, or study methods he has, check out his blog.

It focuses on immersion to keep learners engaged and motivated. Bear in mind that LingQ costs money to use, although it definitely appears to be worth it if you’re serious about learning a language.


80/20 Japanese

 Site  •  Blog  •  Resources

The author of this site, Richard Webb, is a native English speaker who is fluent in Japanese. He has identified difficulties that most English speaking people face when they try to make sense of the language, and focuses on teaching people the fundamentals of Japanese in a way that makes more sense.


JapaneseClass.jp

is a pretty decent site for learning Japanese in general. For me, the selling point is the ability to test yourself on lessons even after you’ve already completed them over and over with ease, thus an excellent tool for learning and memorising the writing systems and vocabulary.

The site also allows you to get in touch with fellow Japanese learners and native speakers, giving you an opportunity to improve conversation skills.


Team Japanese

Team Japanese is a resource site for learning Japanese. On this site, you’d also be able to find additional sites and resources that are not listed in this article.

Stuff from here I highly recommend are:


Tofugu

Tofugu is a blog that focuses on the Japanese language and culture.

Articles I higly recommend here are:


JTtest4You

JapaneseTest4You is a site primarily focused on testing your Japanese, making use of flash cards, quotes from anime/manga and practice tests


Reddit

Yes, Reddit is fantastic for learning Japanese as well!

r/LearnJapanese/ is a subreddit where you can find other people who are also learning Japanese.

r/translator/ is the Reddit community for any translation requests in pretty much any language (and I do mean ANY LANGUAGE. I’ve even seen translations for made-up languages, also known as ‘conlangs’, from books, films and TV too, such as this note in Cypherian). I’ve used this for Japanese translation help quite a few times and have always been helped swiftly by the amazing people there.


Japanese Ammo with Misa

 YouTube  •  Twitter

Misa is native Japanese YouTuber who is fluent in English. Similar to Richard Webb on 80/20 Japanese, she breaks down Japanese grammatical structures and explains the nitty-gritty workings of the language in great detail. As a native speaker, she often gives insight into the Japanese mindset and culture.

Recommended playlists from Misa-sensei:


JapanesePod101

 YouTube  •  Website

JapanesePod101.com is an online Japanese language learning website. I personally love their videos covering the writing systems, as well as body language and gestures.

Recommended playlists from JapanesePod101:


Dogen

 YouTube  •  Twitter  •  Patreon

Dogen is a Japanese teacher who specialises in phonetics, pitch accents and pronunciation, which he teaches on Patreon. He also does a variety of comedy skits and comedic lessons on his YouTube channel.


Learn Japanese with Yas

 YouTube

Yas is a Japanese vocal coach who makes wonderful videos with examples of pitch accent in words, as well as emphasising which words have different meanings based on the pitch accent:


Abroad in Japan

 YouTube  •  Twitter  •  Website

Chris is a British YouTuber living in Japan, making videos about living in Japan in general. Both his videos on the culture and language are very insightful.

Recommended playlists from Abroad in Japan:


Rachel and Jun

 YouTube  •  Twitter

Rachel and Jun are YouTubers who share their experiences about their life in an international marriage (Rachel is American and Jun is Japanese), and the kinds of things you could expect if you ever decide to move to Japan or get married to a Japanese person.

Recommended playlists from R&J:


There is a lot more other content online (such as Japanese vloggers, social media profiles, reviews and articles, etc.) so don’t hesitate to start exploring more as you progress. Japanese shows (like anime) and movies are also fantastic to help you pick up Japanese listening comprehension.

Of course, the absolute most important thing is to HAVE FUN! The more engaging you make it, the easier it will be for you to learn.

Until next time…

Comic Con Africa, Conventions, Cosplay, Geek Stuff

Comic Con Africa 2019

Yes, I know this post is almost a week late. Aidan and I had to shoot footage for the University of Johannesburg right after Comic Con, so we had almost no time to rest. I’ll see if I’m able share some more info on the work we did there.

Comic Con Africa was absolutely amazing!

My youngest sister, Marli, also joined us for the entire weekend, and it was great to hang out with her again. She’s also on Instagram (although she’s generally inactive, and has appointed me as her social media manager for this very reason.)

Also…note to self for next convention:

TAKE MORE BLOODY PICTURES!!! (╬⁽⁽ ⁰ ⁾⁾ Д ⁽⁽ ⁰ ⁾⁾)


Day 1

On Saturday, I was dresses up as Meloetta, the melody Pokémon.

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Me in my Meloetta cosplay with nifty_smithy as Alexios and psycadillo as Wonder Woman!

Aidan was the Jedi form of Revan, albeit without the armour.

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And another picture nifty_smithy and psycadillo. These two are awesome people to hang out with at conventions!

Marli was a Hufflepuff student for the day. She ditched the cloak about halfway through the convention, and I don’t blame her, I was hot even in my summer dress!

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After arriving, we immediately met up with Jonathan, who showed us the layout of the convention. After the small tour we went back to “Artist Alley” to take a look at all the pretty things our local artist make. [I’m sorry for being a muppet of a blogger and not taking pictures of the pretty artsy things (ꐦ ಠ皿ಠ ) ] 

I bought a small 3D printed Bulbasaur figurine from Fairy Fountains’s, to expand my Bulbasaur colletion, and a Hufflepuff tie from The Raven’s Claw, so I can properly cosplay as my own House in the future.

After that we were off the the gaming section to check out all the new (and not so new) games. Marli and I tried some of the Nintendo Switch games, and she especially loved being able to play Let’s Go Eevee for a bit.

After a bout of trying out some games we found a place to sit…or rather Aidan found a place a sit, while Marli and I simply made ourselves comfortable on the floor!

¯\ _(ಥ‿ಥ)_ /¯

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After resting we went to the Cosplay corner in Artist Alley, where we chatted to many of our fellow cosplayers till it was time to go home.

I’m super proud of the part I made for Jason’s Scorpion cosplay!! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

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Also, I’m convinced that Marli has some sort of Spider-person locating superpowers, because she found at least 10 different versions of Spider-Man/Spider-people…well, the 10 I know of because I took pictures(*〇□〇)……!

 

 

 


Day 2

I went as a my PokémonGO self…and totally forgot to print out my PokémonGO trainer card… (╬ಠ益ಠ)

I managed to create a Frisk sweater for Marli on super short notice, so she was Pacifist Frisk for the day  (ര̀ᴗര́)و ̑̑

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Excuse the blurry image, Aidan seems to have trouble using my phone for photography Σ( ̄ロ ̄lll)

Aidan went as a Jedi Knight (to no-ones’ surprise)

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We spent most of the day going to various panels and talks. We even got to see William Shatner on stage!

Marli yet again used her Spider-person locating powers throughout the day, and besides the ones from the previous day, she found 4 more new Spider-Man cosplays (bringing the total up to at least 14 different Spider-people now!!)

 

 

 


Day 3

And for what my surprise cosplay was: The embodiment of the “Scary Girl” trope commonly found in TV and Film! (If I was staring or smiling at you in a creepy fashion, don’t worry that you suddenly have a stalker or something! I’ve been told that my creepy act is a bit too realistic at times, mostly by Aidan.) ゞ(ↂ ω ↂ)ゞ

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To match my creepy for the day, Marli cosplayed as Frisk for a second time, but as the genocidal version this time.

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We had a lot of fun giving everyone creepy looks everywhere we went. Some people (especially the fans of Undertale and Horror/Thriller genres) found our act quite brilliant!

(⊙﹏⊙✿)

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We visited the Wacom stall, and had a chance to try out some of the drawing tablets (which are very impressive btw, I’ll definitely be saving up for one!)

 

 

After that we went through Artist Alley once again, this time spending a lot of time chatting to some the local artists and cosplayers til the end of the day.

And yes, Marli located more Spider-people…this time a couple dressed as a Spiderman and Gwenom…(that puts it at at least 16 Spider-people by now…)

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Day 4

For the last day we all went as a Star Wars trio.

I was Bastila Shan, Aidan was Revan (Jedi form), and Marli was a smuggler (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧

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Jason also joined us for the Star Wars fan gathering in the Jedi Knight cosplay I made him last year (ノ^ヮ^)ノ*:・゚✧

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Photographer: Lliam Jordan Emmett

After the Star Wars gathering, we spent the rest of the day playing games in the gaming section…

 

Conclusion: It was fun 10/10 will do again!

The only thing I’ll be doing differently for 2020 is to start my Cosplays waaaay earlier. We’re already contacting suppliers and creators for the stuff we can’t make ourselves!

Comic Con Africa, Conventions, Cosplay, Geek Stuff, WIP Cosplay

Upcoming: Comic Con Africa 2019

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

This year, I managed to get a weekend pass, so I’ll be around all 4 days. Not only that, I’m preparing a different cosplay for each of the days!

Day 1: Meloetta

I’ll be cosplaying Meloetta, the Melody Pokémon. As a true embodiment of the character, (and as I’m trained in classical singing and opera) I’ll be performing on and off during the day, and also participating in the karaoke competitions at the karaoke café (yes, there be a karaoke café!!)

……

Day 2: Pokémon GO trainer

I’ll be embodying my own avatar in Pokémon GO (AKA LindiChan92). If you want to geek out about anything Pokémon, come meet me at the Pokémon fan meetup!

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……

Day 3: It’s a secret

Yup, I’m not saying anything about this cosplay, as it’ll ruin the surprise I have in mind.

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……

Day 4: Bastila Shan

Yes, I’m doing the badass Bastila from Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic! Here I’m collaborating with Aidan who’s doing Revan from the same game! You’ll be able to meet us at the Star Wars fan meetup and if you’re daring enough, go challenge Aidan to a lightsaber duel (though if you do be prepared, as is he trained in various forms of sword combat and will fight very seriously)

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Life Updates

An update

So…hey…

Yes, I am indeed still alive.

As for why I’ve seemingly disappeared off the face of the planet: I’m simply just busy.

Just really, really busy.

And apart from being swamped with personal stuff I need to sort out ,because I’m a wreck of a hoarder trying to get her s*** together, we also have a new member in the family!

Say hello to Chewbacca, or Chewie for short.

Calling him ‘Bacca’ gets hilariously cute glares, so we’re convinced that he knows that baka (ばか) means ‘stupid’ or ‘fool’ in Japanese.

Also because literally everyone was hassling us to send them pictures he’s now on Instagram, so if you like pictures of puppies and cuteness in general go and follow him @chewie_but_not_a_wookie