Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another Study Abroad Adventure?

So this might be my last post for this blog. I have officially began my senior year and from the looks of things I am going to be quite busy. Thank you for everyone who has read my blog. It was a lot of work but I'm happy that I was able to show what my time in Japan was like. I hope it was entertaining and maybe a bit inspiring. If you start a blog about your study abroad adventures leave a comment and send me the link. I would be interested in reading it if you need an audience.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

To discover - miidasu - 見出す

I found out that due to scheduling conflicts next semester I am unable to continue my Japanese classes. So I guess it is back to self-study again. Oh well, I have a lot of books. My friend recently introduced me to a site called livemocha.com.

Think of it like facebook but with language learners. I think it is a cool concept if it wasn't for the fact that I think it is creepy for people to ask me to have conversations through a headset to practice English or other languages. I have yet to do that. What I like the best about the site are the written submissions. Native speakers correct it and send it back to you. (I'm cringing on the inside thinking about how bad my Japanese has gotten.)

Check it out. There are lessons on the site but I haven't had the energy or interest to really focus on them yet to give my verdit.

Also, I finished all my Japanese letter writings. That was a lot of work but I'm happy.

Another thing, my favorite Japanese variety show Kenmin Show is now unoffically on Veoh! Yatta!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Diploma - shuuryou shousho - (修了証書)

I got this awhile back...
Since there was no graduation ceremony, Kansai Gaidai mailed my diploma home. I was digging through my Japan stuff and I found it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Easy words - kantan kotoba (簡単言葉)

These are some useful words or phrases you might hear or need to use in Japan. I hope this helps. I'm going to add more words when I think of them.

Namae wa nan desu ka? (名前は何ですか) or the less formal namae wa? (名前は) What is your name?

Genki? (元気) to make this a question you need to rise the intonation (gen) low (ki) high. It means "are you well/energetic?"

Otsukare (お疲れ) It literally means you are tired but it is a common way of saying goodbye when you are leaving. Even if you are not tired, it just a way of excusing yourself from the group to leave.

Mata ne (またね) or Ja ne (じゃね) NEVER SAY SAYONARA in a normal setting. Contrary to popular belief, the contation of the word is like the 'final goodbye.' You only say this to people to are not going to see for a very long time. Saying mata ne or ja ne means see you later.

Omattase お待たせ) "sorry for keeping you" or "sorry for the wait." The politer version is omattese shimashita.

Odaijini (お大事に) when some is sick you should say this. It means "hope you get better" something like that.

Sore wa ikenai ne (それはいけないね) "Sorry, that's bad isn't it."

Itadakimasu (いただきます) every time you eat you have to say this phrase. It is considered rude if you don't. It means "I accept the food"

Gochisosama (ごちそさま) "thanks for the meal"

Ittekimasu (いってきます) "I'm leaving" Homestay students should say this before leaving their homestay house.

Tadaima (ただいま) "I'm home" another must for homestay students when they return home.

Daijoubu (大丈夫) "are you alright?"

Tetsudatte mo ii desu ka? (手伝ってもいいですか) since there is no direct way of asking people if they need help in Japanese I just used this phrase. It is a little awkward because it is direct. It means "may I help?"

Konnichiwa (こんにちは) "Good afternoon"

Ohayo (おはよ) "Good morning"

Konbanwa (こんばんは) "Good evening"

Oyasumi (お休み) "Good night"

Ki o tsukete (気をつけて) "Be careful"

Abunai (危ない) "Dangerous"

Onaka ga ippai (おなかがいっぱい) "I'm full"

Onaka suita (おなかすいた) "I'm hungry"

Ojamashimasu (お邪魔します) You say this every time you enter someone else's home. Basically it means "sorry for the intrusion."

Otsumaranai koto desu ga (お詰まらない事ですが) when you give a gift, it is proper to say this phrase. It basically means "this boring thing."

O saki ni (お先に) when you go ahead of someone you say this. When you want someone to go ahead of you say "O saki ni douzo"

Omedetou (おめでとう) "Congratulations" if you want to say happy birthday its "o-tanjoubi omedetou."

Regretable - zannen na (残念な)

Sorry everyone for the lackluster updates. It's the summer and my brain has been reduced to mush because of all the free time I have on my hands. I can't wait to start school.

So for this post, I want to tell everyone all the things I wished I was I did in Japan and my regrets. Maybe this will be some help to some people going abroad.

I wish that I...
-went clubbing in Osaka
-went to Mount Fuji
-went to Himeji
-wore a kimono
-bought a used kimono in Kyoto
-went to the mixers Prof. Garr Reynolds advertised
-made a Japanese business card (http://www.mojoprint.jp/)
-attended a summer matsuri
-played with my host brother more
-studied Japanese harder
-talked to my host father more
-went to a pachinko parlor
-bought American movies dubbed in Japanese
-had room in my suitcases for more Chu-hi
-stayed in a hostel
-bought a Japanese board game
-took more pictures of Kansai Gaidai and my Japanese friends

Things I never regretted...
-going to Japan
-staying with a host family
-writing a blog about my experiences
-doing video skits with my Japanese research paper on dialects
-my video Japanese skit project complete with subtitles in Japanese and English translation
-being an awkward human being with toddler-like Japanese language abilities
-collected ticket stubs for my Japan scrap book (posting pictures later)
-joining study group for Political Economies of East Asia
-study group karaoke and kaiten sushi
-hanami at arashiyama
-learning how to ski with my host family in Hyogo
-eating raw fish (I miss it!)
-paying $40 to ship apples to apples from America to Japan
-going to Kyoto and buying a Yukata:)
-not caring about money and having a great time in Japan
-spending time at home with my host family watching TV at the kotatsu

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I'm happy that this blog is helping future gaidaisei prepare for their abroad in Japan. So basically I have been procrastinating/busy since my last post. I still feel that longing for Japan every time I sign on facebook when I see people who extended their stay rub in my face with their photo albums and status that they are STILL in Japan. ahem. But anyways,

Study Abroad Student

A sempai of mine told me that mailing stuff back home is very expensive unless you are from Austrailia. So pack the limit of two carry one suitcases and half pack both. Japan is a highly industrialize country so whatever you need you can buy (you just have to figure out the katakana.) If you are going to Kansai Gaidai, they are going to give you a tour of the area. Don't worry. But on the first night you need a towel and travel sized tolietries like toothpaste, shampoo, and soap.

For some reason, many official looking signs in Japan are both in English and Japanese. You can use common sense to figure out many things. When in doubt observe other people. There is a lot more English in the country than you think.

For people who have limited fluency in Japanese, Kansai Gaidai has many Japanese level classes that can help you. I met a lot of people who went to Japan without knowing the basics of the culture or language. They had a great time, survived, and learned a lot.

If you aim to become fluent. Bring some english based games like scrabble or apples to apples. Japanese students can translate the words for you in Japanese and you can explain it to them in English or Japanese. You can buy children's kanji workbooks or manga to gain literacy. Just some ideas....

Saturday, July 4, 2009

to remember - omoidasu (思い出す)

It's really sad. Life has come back to normal and it feels like I was not in Japan at all but sometimes I have sudden longing to go back there.

Thanks to studying abroad. I have the travel bug. I want to visit, travel, and live in a few countries now. Places I know for sure I'm going to in the future are France, Bangladesh, Canada, and Cambodia. So I definitely want to blog all my experiences for my family and friends to see.

I also want to pick up learning a few more languages too. Just to learn a little bit of everything.

Thanks to everyone who read my blog and followed me through my journey in Japan.

Now it is time for me to reflect on my experiences and some words of wisdom I want to share. It may take me awhile to write everything.