私の夢! – My dream

dream yume


Los 3 idiomas que quiero aprender en el momento son: Japonés (como adivinaste), el Español y … el Sueco! Como he dicho antes, he ido a España hace 1 año, y descubrí que no es tan difícil si realmente lo desea. Sí, va a costar mucho tiempo, pero con el método correcto y suficiente pasión, se pueder aprender cualqier lengua que desee. Yo sé que he sido flojo/perezoso (todavía estoy inseguro cuando a usar cual de los dos xD), pero después de mis exámenes finales voy a practicarlo de nuevo, de cierto. En cuanto a Sueco…

Hej! Detta kommer att bli den första gången som jag skriver på svenska. När jag var i Spanien jag träffade några svenska flickor, och blev intresserad av språket. Det låter alltid glad och mycket som mitt modersmål. Också, några av de bästa filmer och böcker är ursprungligen på svenska. Det är därför jag ville lära mig svenska också.

So, from now on, I declare this blog officially multilingual! Not just about Japanese (although it will remain my main focus of study) but also Spanish (which fortunately doesn’t require too much effort for me) and every now and then some Swedish!

Good night, wish me luck ;)!

新しいアニメを見ている – Watching new anime



It’s been ages updating this blog, due to the final exams I wrote about last time and also due to a lot of catching up with friends and relatives. My younger brother finished and passed his highschool finals last week so we had to throw a party 😉 also, holidays are coming up pretty soon and I’ve been making plans with friends and family.

As for today’s conent. I haven’t been adding too much new material to my Kanji Decks but I have been watching a ton of anime and reading some manga. I normally use animefreak.tv but since Im quite the graphics-admirer I started downloading HQ versions. As for Manga, the sites I use for raw downloads are raw1st.org or rawset.com. Unfortunately, getting to the download link is quite a hassle but the database is vast and overall good quality scans. Worth checking out. Last week I added some anime to my collection:

-コードギアス (Code Geass) I already finished this one. It has 2 seasons with a total of 40 episodes if I remember correctly. It’s set in a postmodern world where Britannia (England/Usa?) has taken over most of the world. A Japanese student, our main antagonist, obtains Geass, an ocular power which can be used to control people, which he insists on putting to good use and ending the Britannian reign. It instantly reminded me of Death Note and has similar plot twists, but doesn’t get anywhere close to the level of detail. The story shifts to 1 year later after the cliffhanger final from season 1, but has an amazing end. Definitely worth watching.

-氷菓 (Hyouka = Ice cream) Currently on the 6th or 7th episode. The title doesn’t say anything about the story concerning actual ice cream, but is a play on words since the pronounciation of ‘ice cream’ and ‘I scream’ are practically identical. Interesting take on the perception of English by Japanese. (this all has nothing to do with the content of the anime though haha). It’s about a student who joins high school and generally doesn’t want to waste energy on anything, even though he is a mastermind. Some friends get him involved in little ‘mysteries’ every day which he continous to solve despite thinking it’s all a waste of time. Incredible quality and not too bad of a storyline so far.

-未来日記 (Mirai Nikki = Future Diary) you guessed it, this anime is about a boy’s diary which at one point starts revealing future events. Later, more diary owners get introduced with their own special diaries. Also, the second main character (Yuno) is creepy as hell, borderline psychopath, which makes for an interesting story as well.

– 化物語 (Bakemonogatari = ghost story) Which is a pretty neat play on words in the title. 化物 = bakemono and means monster or ghost, while 物語 means story 😀 so instead of saying Bake mono no monogatari the kanji 物 was used as a portmanteau for both! Anyway, It involves another high school student who happens to be a ‘vampire’. And don’t worry, this is nothing like Twilight or conventional vampires. Also, it doesn’t take a major role in the storyline. The series is mostly focused on dialogue and has some interesting graphical techniques. The language is either really hard to understand or badly translated. Worth watching if you like interesting dialogue and something abstract. I dropped it quite a while back but I’m still intrigued enough to go back and pick it up again.

Phew. I actually managed to write a good bit on something tonight, however useless it may be 🙂 gonna continue Anki practice. I’m using the Japanese Core 2000 decks, which are individual words, each having an examplary phrase, and later on combines words to make new phrases that are more difficult. Hiragana readings are shown and every word has 4 or 5 flashcards, from English to Japanese and the other way around. It also uses pictures and every phrase has recorded speech fragments from native speakers. It is definitely the best deck I have found so far!

Also, I’ve gotten quite active on facebook communities and blogs concerning Japanese Learners. Social media are a good way of being consistent about learning languages and are a great and quick tool if you have questions 😉

That’s it for tonight. I’ll make sure to write some more after my final exam (statistics :O) this thursday.



最終試験 – Final exams


いくつかのコーヒーと良い睡眠の後、私は再び書きたい。私の最終試験はすぐに来ているので、ブログは毎日書き続けることは困難になります。しかし、私はその間に日本語を勉強する時間がある。Psst! 私の文章を補正するために、時々GoogleTranslateを使用しています.


After some coffee and a good night sleep I want to write something again. It will be difficult to continue writing everyday since I have final exams coming up soon. (Psst. for translating my sentences I use Google Translate to get the Kana xD).

EDIT: Aaand I didn’t finish this post apparently. Oh well, what a surprise

怠惰は、私の弱さだ. – Laziness, my weakness.


やれやれ… I haven’t been very productive at all today -.- sure I did my Anki reps, but I didnt listen to any Japanese music/didn’t watch any anime.. In fact, I didn’t even pick up RTK today. And it’s all because of my weakness, namely being lazy. I couldn’t seem to concentrate on 1 thing for longer than half an hour today. That being said there’s still tons to do for me tonight as I have 2 seminars to attend at uni tomorrow, yay 😀 9:00 and 15:30… Maybe I’ll dig up that old japanese dictionary I found on the… 7th floor of our uni library? I have no idea, but I do have loads of time after tomorrow 😀 Also, no posts this weekend. I’m gonna work at a festiva for 2 days.
So, as for useful information. I honestly don’t have any.

sorry for this poor post. Ill make up for it soon.


音訓 – Kanji Readings (On-kun)

I’ve begon to adept the idea of using this blog not only for myself as a way to create some output from my Japanese studies, but also as a format to help people who want to learn Japanese from scratch. In one of the previous posts I mentioned some materials I use, which is what I will put up for future posts as well. However, it is very late now and I’ve had this text sitting in a notepad file for half a day so now I just want to finish this post as I meant it to be;

Today, I came across quite some Kanji which I had presumed to know already. However, after reading a couple of furigana (which are the tiny hiragana characters placed above or aside kanji to illustrate the reading) I remembered something I meant to say in the first place:

Each Kanji has different readings; the original Chinese ON-reading and the adopted Japanese KUN-reading. In Heisig’s Remember the Kanji 1 he chose not to add those because he believed knowing the Meaning of the Kanji is prioritized over knowing how to pronounce them. I completely agree with Heisig on that point, but you won’t be able to make good progress with your writing and listening skills if you don’t know the readings. E.g.:

[ 小 ] さい = [ ちい ] さい means ‘small/little’ in terms of scale/size.
[ 少 ] し = [ すこ ] し means ‘few/little’ in terms of quantity.

As you can see, the meaning of the kanji remains to be ‘small’ but is read differently depending on whether it is a description of physical charactiristics or of quantity/numbers.

The first time I read about this, I deemed my dream of being able to speak Japanese to be unrealistic. However, I could have thought the same about the fact that Japanese uses 3 different ‘alphabets’ (not correct terminology, for the sake of keeping this understandable let’s stick to it anyway), or the fact that BOTH hiragana and katakana have some 46 characters. Or that there are 2000+ Kanji I need to know before I will ever be able to fully understand intermediate books and newspaper articles. But those elements of Japanese didn’t scare me, so why should this? In fact, it only made it more interesting.
[Ranting progress 100/100%] = done.

What I’m trying to get at is. Don’t get scared of how incredibly different and vast the vocabulary of Japanese is. Get your materials together, and start practicing from the beginning. Your brain will implement things like sentence structure and readings in your mechanics if you just practice them enough. Once that’s out of the way, you can move on to the next bit 😉

As Heisig, I suggest doing the following (if you’ve just started learning, do hira/katakana first)

– Learn the meanings of the first ~300 or so kanji and try to find simple sentence structures where these SINGLE kanji are used.

– keep adding kanji and start looking for combinations of kanji and memorize the READING of the kanji! If you find a word like “[話] す” (hanasu= talk) you can’t simply imply that the kanji is read as ‘hana’. In the word “日本 [語]” you can read it’s pronounced ‘go’. And in another occasion, “物 [語]” (monogatari= story) it has to be read as ‘gatari’. In the same way, some kanji have up to 5 different readings. Here’s an image with readings from the Imiwa? application for smartphones:

kuru - come readings

-Next, listen, repeat and write out phrases with new kanji or kanji readings, so you slowly implement them in your vocabulary.

-Last but not least, try to write your own sentences or whole stories! (or even start a blog :P)

Tomorrow I’ll try writing some more Japanese 😉

日本語で最初の物語 – First story in Japanese


私はマックスです。僕は19歳のオランダ人の学生です。 俺の夢は日本語を話すできるのがです。毎日 少しを学ぶことを試みる。しかし、それはとても難しいです、多くの日本語文字がありますので。幸いに、既にひらがなとカタカナを知っている。初挑戦はすべての常用漢字を学習している。

“Hello everybody!
I’m Max. I am a student of Dutch 19-year-old. My dream is to be able to speak Japanese. And try to learn a little bit every day. However, it is very difficult, because there is a lot of Japanese characters. Fortunately, I know the katakana and hiragana already. First challenge is to learn the all the (common-use) kanji.”

I wrote this yesterday night just before going to bed but I couldn’t be bothered to polish it and post it until today. First of all, it gave me a clear impression of how much Japanese I am able to produce so far! That also turned out to be more encouraging than I thought. Lastly, of course, I had to look up and new learn words and structures:
試みる [ こころ▪みる ]  = to try
[ 初 ] 挑戦 = [ はつ ] ちょう▪せん = [first] challenge / attempt

adding – ので at the end of the phrase makes it causal. e.g. 多くをあるので would translate to “because there are a lot” or “since there is a lot”.

Additinionally, for the sake of not repeating myself, I used different words for ‘me,myself,I’ as you can see, respectively 私、僕、俺、which I hope to have used correctly :S


PS. Some kanji may be hard to read with my current font. just zoom in- and out by holding the Ctrl-button and scrolling up and down with the mousewheel 😉

漠然とした方法 – Vague method

SO. I have been reading up some kanji from my regular Anki Japanese core 2000 deck. I wrote another 20 or so sentences down and tried to read some bits n pieces in Japanese. However, after almost an hour of writing and reading kanji and sentences I already felt like I was wasting time. When I began this blog I thought it would be wise to START by learning just kanji. Never have I been so wrong. I already know about 800 Kanji meanings from RTK but the majority cannot be used as a single unit. Moreover, lots of words I encountered in texts are actually written in Hiragana while I don’t know all of the readings. Soooo, to clear up my method I am going to do some oldschool exercises!


With THIS pdf version of Tae Kims full grammar guide to Japanese and the anki deck I will start learning more and more grammar everyday, posting some basic phrases, tables and vocab and hopefully soon enough start writing in japanese myself! I found that to work the most for my Spanish

Now, as much as I agree with Khatzumoto et alii that the ‘learning and applying of grammar’ SUCKS, I still think it can give a lot of confidence. Also, I am so disorganized myself that I’m unable to find sentences or texts to study for my level. So, most probably, I will return to my collection of Naruto Manga’s, the Parallel texts in Japanese and the Anki phrases…

EDIT: Whoever made the Anki Japanese 2000 Core Deck is GENIUS but it can be incredibly annoying to see the same words 10 times before acquiring new vocab. Of course its necessary, but on short term, very ineffective.

日曜日の朝 – Sunday Morning

12 hours later and already I felt the need to post. When I write I normally forget to double-check for spelling errors or typos before I upload. Also, I don’t have good structure in terms of Introduction, body and ending, which I just separate with an extra line.

Of course, I did not tell you my whole background info, but I also withheld some info regarding my Japaneez skills. I started about a year ago, when I met Eika, a girl who was born and raised in Japan, by both English and Japanese parents. The ideal person to know for language immersion! I’d asked her to write all the hiragana and later on katakana for me. It took quite some time to get everything nice and in order, but a day later I had cut out some pieces of paper and started writing flashcards. It took me 4-5 days.


For those who don’t know what hiragana or katakana are, let me explain briefly:

Hiragana (ひらがな) are the original phonetic writings, consisting of 46 characters which can be altered for different pronounciation and writing. For example;
さ = sa.
ざ = za
As you’ve probably noticed, the only difference is the small ” on the top-right of the character. This can be applied to a large part of the characters. Most of them are applied in the same manner, S becomes Z, while H becomes B and K sounds become G’s (note: this is NOT a proper rule, but just for explanation’s sake). There are tons of charts on the interwebs with all characters. I am not going to include them here.
Katakana (カタカナ) are the same sounds, just different (more straight lines and sharp corners) and mostly used for names and words borrowed from other languages.

Finally, there’s Kanji 漢字! These are the more complex characters, originally chinese, that can mean entire words or expressions. They have 2 (on- and kun-)readings/pronounciations or even more(!). These badboys are the beauty of Japanese. They consist of smaller, simpler characters which also eventually are made up of primitives (according to Heisig). This way, every word has roots that you can trace back to in order to understand the character and meaning more easily. for instance:

少 = few/small/little
石 = stone

砂 = Sand!
You can see the character for stone included on the left-hand side and the character for small on the right-hand side. Knowing both will make a lot more sense for understanding the meaning of the kanji for sand!

Maybe tonight I will post again to actually show my progress and findings on the internet.

Hajimemashou! – Let’s get started!

Hello everybody. Max here.

I’m a 19 y/o student from The Netherlands, better known as Holland. 1 year ago, I stayed in Seville, Spain for 3 months to learn Spanish, and half a year later in Costa Rica and Nicaragua to do voluntary work for Raleigh International. During the year, I found out about myself I can go crazy about languages and I try to learn something from another language every day now. After meeting a couple of people from Japan and having watched hundreds of anime (subbed. god, no dubbing please) I decided it was time to start working on JAPANESE. It’s taken me half a year of ups and downs to get started and pick a methodogy so here we go!

My Goals

+ Knowing the ~2000 Jouyou Kanji 常用漢字 in 3 months!
+ Develop speech and writing of JLPT N5+N4 by the end of 2013.

= Being able to read most manga/newspapers/books in Japanese that are limited to 常用漢字 and being able to start blogging in Japanese! Possibly here or on lang-8.com

The blog

In doing so, I will post on a daily or less frequent basis about my experiences and foundings while learning japanese!


  1. Heisig – Remembering the Kanji 1
  2. Anki – Japanese core 2000+6000 decks
  3. Alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog
  4. Parallel Text: Short stories in Japanese by Michael Emmerich