Must Watch Japanese Variety Show: 世界の果てまでイッテQ!

Since my Japanese became a little rusty this year and I had to stop learning Korean also, which I had just started, I tried to watch lots of videos (dramas, shows, interviews…) in both languages so I could practice and learn more vocabulary. I knew some Korean variety shows that I liked, but for some reason after all this time I didn’t really know any Japanese one.
I searched on the Internet and watched some shows but 世界の果てまでイッテQ was my favorite. In this show, some Japanese comedians go to a foreign country but instead of showing the important landmarks or touring the city like a guide, they do the craziest stuff they can. I specially enjoy the episodes with 祭り男 (the festival man) who travels anywhere and participates in crazy festivals like office chair races in Switzerland or human bowling in China.
The show is hilarious and you don’t need a high level of Japanese, because you can enjoy it even if you don’t understand everything they say, so it’s useful for learners of all levels.

世界の果てまでイッテQ in Finland世界の果てまでイッテQ in Estonia

Here is the episode of the human bowling 祭り in China:

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Language Lovers Themistocles and Cleopatra

Some time ago, I bought a book about the history of language called Empires of the World by Nicholas Ostler. It’s an amazing  read, I highly recommend it,  although it’s really dense. It takes me so long to read a single page that I think I’ll never finish the book xD.

I really like the fact that it includes multiple texts in modern and ancient languages, and today I reread a couple of them about the importance of learning languages that I found very interesting.

“(King Xerxes) commanded him to speak freely what he would concerning the affairs of Greece. Themistocles replied, that a man’s discourse was like to a rich Persian carpet, the beautiful figures and patterns of which can only be shown by spreading and extending it out; when it is contracted and folded up, they are obscured and lost; and, therefore, he desired time. The king being pleased with the comparison, and bidding him take what time he would, he desired a year; in which time, having, learnt the Persian language sufficiently, he spoke with the king by himself without the help of an interpreter.” Putarch, Themistocles, 29.5

The second one is about Queen Cleopatra:

ἡδονὴ δὲ καὶ φθεγγομένης ἐπῆν τῷ ἤχῳ· καὶ τὴν γλῶτταν ὥσπερ ὄργανόν τι πολύχορδον εὐπετῶς τρέπουσα καθ’ ἣν βούλοιτο διάλεκτον, ὀλίγοις παντάπασι δι’ ἑρμηνέως ἐνετύγχανε βαρβάροις, τοῖς δὲ πλείστοις αὐτὴ δι’ αὑτῆς ἀπεδίδου τὰς ἀποκρίσεις, οἷον Αἰθίοψι Τρωγλοδύταις Ἑβραίοις Ἄραψι Σύροις Μήδοις Παρθυαίοις. πολλῶν δὲ λέγεται καὶ ἄλλων ἐκμαθεῖν γλώττας, τῶν πρὸ αὐτῆς βασιλέων οὐδὲ τὴν Αἰγυπτίαν ἀνασχομένων παραλαβεῖν διάλεκτον, ἐνίων δὲ καὶ τὸ μακεδονίζειν ἐκλιπόντων.

There was pleasure in the very sound of her voice. Like a many-stringed instrument, she turned her tongue easily to whatever dialect she would, and few indeed were the foreigners with whom she conversed through an interpreter, since she answered most of them in her own words, whether Ethiopian, Trogodyte, Hebrew, Arab, Syriac, Median or Parthian. The kings before her had not even had the patience to acquire Egyptian, and some had even been lacking in their Macedonian. Plutarch, Antony, xxvii.4-5

(The footnote reads:  All these languages must have been heard on the streets of Alexandria in Cleopatra’s day. Ethiopian would be the language of Kush, and Syriac is a form of Aramaic. Trogodyte would have been spoken along the Red Sea coast, and is perhaps the ancestor of modern Beja. The Medjay, supposed to be the same, had been an eastern desert people employed in Egypt as police in the fifteenth to thirteenth centuries (Gardiner 1957 [Egyptian Grammar]: 183, n. 2). There is no mention here of Libyan—or of Latin, although Plutarch adds that Cleopatra is said to have spoken many other languages besides the ones he does mention. Most likely her amours with Caesar, and later Antony, were conducted in Greek.)

I was so happy when I read this, because nor Themistocles nor Cleopatra had the need to learn these languages and they did, because they wanted to communicate without an interpreter, in the interlocutor’s native language. I think that’s the dream of every language lover. I’d like at least to be able to talk to everyone in this world if not in their native language, maybe in another language we both know.  I’d probably need to live 200 years to fulfill this dream but it’s nice to imagine it xD What do you think?

Till the next post~!

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Japanese apps review – “Heartful Stories”, “Funny Stories” and “Famous Crimes in Japan”

These are series of free iPhone apps that I find very useful for people who are learning Japanese and are looking for something short and simple to read. There are stories for all tastes: Heartful Stories Funny stories and even Japanese crime stories from wikipedia.
There is a wide range of topics to choose, each one with a lot of stories and you can read all of them offline so even though it’s obviously not Japanese literature it’s perfect for killing time when you’re on the subway, waiting for someone etc.

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Studying Korean with Bigbang’s “Monster”

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to study Korean with song lyrics, something I hadn’t done for a while and I really missed. This time I’ve decided to change my method a bit, though. Instead of just looking up all the words in the dictionary I’m going to study just the chorus and look up the grammar structures too.

Even though some people say that studying vocabulary and grammar with songs isn’t as useful as learning in other ways, because the vocabulary isn’t as common and the structures are usually poetic and different from spoken Korean, I still think that it’s the easiest way not to forget what you have learnt, because you are going to listen to the songs you like all the time. Learning should be something you enjoy, and even though you shouldn’t study only lyrics if you want to achieve a good level in a language I’m sure this is a great help :)

Today I’ve chosen Bigbang’s “Monster”. For the vocabulary that I didn’t know I’ve used the Naver dictionary and for the grammar Korean wiki project.

I love you baby I’m not a monster
넌 알잖아 예전 내 모습을 시간이 지나면 사라져 버릴 텐데
그땐 알 텐데 baby

I need you baby I’m not a monster
날 알잖아 이렇게 가지마 너마저 버리면 난 죽어버릴 텐데
I’m not a monster

Vocabulary:

  1. 알다: know, learn
  2. 예전: the old days, the old times, the past
  3. 모습: figure, form, image, reflection
  4. 지나다: pass, go by
  5. 사라지다: disappear, vanish
  6. 그때: That time (moment), those times
  7. 이렇게: (From 이랗다) this, like this, (in) this way
  8. 가다: go
  9. 마저: even, also
  10. 바리다: throw away, throw out (This is the meaning of the 바리다 in “너마저 버리면”; in “사라져 버릴 텐데” it means “completely”, as it’s explained below)
  11. 죽다: die

Grammar:

  1. Adjective/verb + -잖아(요): This grammar pattern is used when both the speaker and listener(s) know a mutual fact. This can’t always be translated directly to a particular English phrase or may sound awkward directly translating, since saying the other person already knows something can be known just on the context.
    • 있잖아 / 있잖아요 as a standalone statement is often used when someone is trying to think of something and in the process of trying to figure out what to say.
    • When text messaging or typing on the internet, young people often use ‘자나’ instead of 잖아
  2. Adjective/Verb + (으)면 : This pattern is a non final ending used for conditional statements, equivalent to ‘if’ in English. If there is a time period [i.e. minute(s), day(s) week(s), month(s) etc] 있으면 Noun + 이다 pattern, then the meaning of 있으면 is “in (time period)” or “after (time period).”  Depending on the context, this pattern can also mean “when.”    (In this case, in 시간이 지나면 we have to look to the second meaning of this structure: “As time passes”, “When time passes”, not “if time passes”)
  3. Adjective/Verb + 아/어 버리다 : This pattern is used to indicate the person has done something to completion.  (So here it means “disappear completely”)
  4. Adjective/Verb + (으)ㄹ 텐데 : The expression is used to present the speakers’ intention, guess, or anticipation which serves as the background for the main clause.
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I’m Back!

Hi everyone, it’s been a long long time ^^; This year has been my last year of high school and I hadn’t been so busy in my life. I didn’t just stop blogging, I eventually stopped even studying Japanese and Korean because I really couldn’t study extra things, my head would have exploded.

But anyway, this Summer I’ve taken up both languages again  (^_^)V   and I’m starting university in Barcelona in three weeks (East Asian Studies. I know, I’m an East Asia otaku and I love it) where I’ll have Japanese classes, and optional Chinese and Korean classes after a couple of years. Unfortunately, we are going to start Japanese from scratch, but I’ll just keep self-studying, I’ll talk with the teacher about it and see what I can do. I’m thinking of maybe asking him or her for help or advise for JLPT N2…

As for Korean I don’t think I’ll take classes, because by the time I get to third year I hope I’ll have an intermediate level… Anyway, when I went to that university last year there was a Korean translation course :D Since it’s the Translation faculty I’m sure I’ll find a lot of activities that interest me ^^  On the other hand I’m really excited about Chinese classes. I don’t have that option in first year but I’ll definitely take it when I have the chance. I thought of self-studying it but with Japanese and specially Korean, where I’m still a beginner, it’s too much (for now ;) )

On top of that, I’ll probably have some classes in Catalan, instead of Spanish. Catalan is not spoken in the region where I grew up, but it’s the main language in Cataluña, where Barcelona is, and even though I’m quite familiar with it because I’ve spent most of my holidays in Cataluña and it’s similar to Spanish, it’s going to be an extra challenge. However, Spanish is an oficial language there too, so I can always write my papers or exams in the language that I’m more comfortable with.

Other thing that worries me is forgetting the French I learned in high school if I stop using it. I currently have a B2 level and I’d like to improve it. Obviously I’m not going to have time to take classes, so I’m considering adding some French resources or something to this blog. I have never self-studied it so I don’t really know how to do it, I don’t know any French series that I like, or music… I’ll have to figure something out.

Anyway, this is a perfect oportunity to retake blogging, since I’ll have a lot of interesting material related to Asia that will help me to understand better the culture and the languages that I’m stuyding.

Till the next post, take care!

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U-kiss の「Tick Tack 」で勉強する

Hi! Now that I’ve already taken the JLPT, I can study again at my own pace. Today, my sister asked me to tell her what the song ”Tick Tack” was about so I decided to use it to study vocabulary and look up in the dictionary all the words that I didn’t know. Actually, the lyrics were much shorter than I thought ^^; but I learned these words:

  • 重ねる (かさねる) to pile up; to put something on another; to heap up; to add; to repeat
  • 貫く (つらぬく) to go through
  • 背負う (せおう/しょう) to be burdened with; to carry on back or shoulder
  • 覚悟 (かくご) resolution; resignation; readiness; preparedness
  • 鈍い (にぶい) (adj-i) dull (e.g. a knife); thickheaded; obtuse; slow; stupid
  • 越える (こえる)  to cross over; to cross; to pass through; to pass over (out of);  // to exceed

I’ll try to make the most of Christmas holidays to study Japanese and Korean (excited already :D)

To Lie, I shall be here
君だけを愛している その気持ちは変わらない
僕らには重ねてきた素敵な思い出もあるけれど I must be off right now
今日のように明日は過ごせない ただ大きな嘘をつくために
To Lie
I shall be singing for you through the night
To Lie
I shall be turning on the broken light
To Lie
夜空を貫くように To Lie, To Lie,(Tick Tack Tick Tack・・・)
胸の奥で罪を背負う覚悟したなら Going to lie
鈍くない君のことだから すぐバレてしまうはずだけど We have no choice
このままならば We\’re falling down then you say what?
僕らには越えられない残酷な壁があって We must be separated
下手な嘘を君のためにつく
To Lie
I shall be singing for you through the night
To Lie
I shall be turning on the broken light
To Lie
夜空を貫くように To Lie, To Lie,(Tick Tack Tick Tack・・・)
胸の奥で罪を背負う覚悟したなら Going to lie
今、君の瞳見つめる このひと時
Don\’t cry どのくらいこの嘘で傷つく? You Baby
遠くない、いつの日か・・・ そして、キスをした
To Lie, I\’d never be・・・
言い訳の様な 優しさ分けるのは辛いよ
嘘で終えたい僕のプライド
まだ気づかない 何も知らない君を騙す Liar
To Lie
I shall be singing for you through the night
To Lie
I shall be turning on the broken light
To Lie
夜空を貫くように To Lie, To Lie,(Tick Tack Tick Tack・・・)
胸の奥で罪を背負う覚悟したなら Going to lie

(I got the lyrics from this site)

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Summer benkyou~

Hi! It’s been REALLY long ^^; I apologize for the lack of updates, I stopped blogging during my exams and I was to lazy to retake it after that ^^;;

Summer holidays are almost over in Spain, and since I spent them in a village (without internet connection unless I went to the library in a city which was near) I have spent most of the time studying Korean and Japanese, specialy Japanese since I intend to take the JLPT N2 in December.

Here is what I have used:
Podcasts: I really like podcasts, because whenever I’m feeling lazy I can just lie in bed, close my eyes and listen, and I’m actually learning without any effort. I usualy downloaded a lot of them in the library, and listen to them along the week. These are some podcasts in Japanese that I like:

オーディオドラマ「ほとぼく。」
I liked this one because it’s an entertaining audio drama, very easy to understand. There are more audio drama podcasts in Japanese but I haven’t tried them yet.

ふぁんた時間
This one has a lot of short tales to listen.

Osaka dialect 大阪弁 Japanese lesson in English
I started to listen to this podcast last Summer, because I’m a big fan of Osaka dialect (大阪弁). Although this podcast is no longer updated, it has about 60 or more audio lessons, and I haven’t listened to them yet. The transcripts are in the website, and she says everything in 大阪弁 and English, which is very useful.

I have listened to some Japanese podcasts for Korean learners, but since the transcripts were in Katakana instead of hangeul I wouldn’t recommend them (I can’t understand why they do that, you can’t even write similar sounds with katakana -.-), and other random podcasts that I found, like 熊本弁vs関西弁 with English which teaches you words in Kumamoto dialect, then in Kansai dialect and then in English. I don’t have any particular interest in Kumamoto dialect, more than other dialects, but I thought the idea was funny, although the English translation didn’t always sound very accurate (I might be wrong).

iPod apps:
I used JLPT Study, mainly for the N2 vocabulary, because I don’t like studying kanji with flashcards, I need to write them down; Japanesepod101 advanced audioblog, and I’ve recently downloaded a kanji game called KanjiPop, because I was desperate because of kanji ><
As for Korean I have Elementary and Beginner pocket Korean, Kyongeun’s audiobook, dongsa verb conjugator, Naver webtoon, wordpower, 3人の美少女と学ぶ韓国語単語
 etc etc

I’ve also read a little of 乙一’s GOTH, but not much, and I have studied grammar and vocabulary with the 日本語総まとめ series, and with Japanesepod101, Koreanclass101, and Talk To Me in Korean as always.

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