Cafetalk and Busy Busy Busy

DISCLAIMER: I got one of the Cafetalk monitoring positions. I get five free online lessons over the course of the month of November, and, in return, all I have to do is rate the lessons and post it. I figured I might as well go whole hog and do a serious write up here.

Another great lesson with Makisan. This time we went over Chapter 3 (三課) in Minna no Nihongo. I made a few mistakes here and there, but that’s fine. You learn from your mistakes. You know what I stink at, though? Reading katakana. I studied it a while ago and then didn’t use it and have forgotten most of it. I promised her I would know it again by my next lesson.  That’s one of the brilliant things about organized lessons – they reveal your weak spots so you can strengthen them.

First of all, the lesson: Basically, we had some conversation and she asked me difficult questions, like, “What time did you get up yesterday?” If you don’t think that’s a difficult question, then you’re better at Japanese than I am! I know what time I got up, but getting that to come out properly in Japanese takes a bit of work. (In case you’re wondering, 六時におきました). Then she asked me questions like, “What time is it now?” and “What time do you start work today, and what time do you finish?” Oof! Really good for me, though, and she has a way of correcting my mistakes but making it seem fine that I made the mistake. Nice.

And then there was the math.  What’s 500 + 28 + 31?  Easy enough to do in your head, but now do it in Japanese.  Whew!  That sort of thing was tough.  I don’t know why numbers are an issue.  It was the same when I was learning Spanish.  Numbers are particularly difficult for me when they aren’t in English.

Sadly, I am coming to the end of my free Cafetalk lessons, but, I have to say, they have hooked me. Once my free lessons run out, I will be continuing the lessons anyway. I’m learning way too much and having way too much fun to stop. I am actually having a second lesson this week as well as one next week. I have to take my free lessons by November 30, and I want to make sure that I get them all in! Anyway, we spent today on Chp 3, and I have already studied Chp 4, so I can make good use of a second lesson this week.

A digression:

Seriously, the two best things that I have done in my Japanese language journey (hm…good title for a blog, that) have been to get the Hacking Japanese Supercourse and to get lessons on Cafetalk.

The Supercourse will help you figure out how to learn Japanese.  Cafetalk will give you something essential:  a chance to hear and use the language, and that’s a great thing no matter what your level is, from a total newbie to an advanced speaker who just wants some conversation practice, you can find it there.

And, back to today’s post:

By the way, for “Chapter” we are using the word 課 (か) so 三課を勉強しましたと四課をべにょうします。 Which I hope means, I studied chapter 3 and I will study chapter 4.

And now for katakana. SticktyStudy has a kana app. Memrise has more than one katakana course. Quizlet has plenty of sets of katakana flashcards. Human Japanese has a katakana quiz based on the old game concentration.

In other words, there are a ton of ways to learn kana, many of them ただ (free – our favorite word around here).

So, here’s the plan for the next few days:

Review kanji and vocabulary from the anki decks. (I do try to review every day, but I don’t always add new vocabulary from the deck since I am getting vocabulary from Minna no Nihongo.)

Review chapter 4 from Minna no Nihongo and do the exercises again, this time actually writing down (well, typing out) the answers

Study Minna no Nihongo vocabulary using Memrise (reviewing and also continuing with Chp 5)

Review (and relearn) katakana.

Next Cafetalk lesson: 3 days away and counting.

Oh, and be a husband and father, go to work, sleep, eat, breathe and ride my bicycle, too.  とても忙しいですが楽しいです。 I know that isn’t quite what I want to say:  I am busy but I am having fun.  It is, however, as close as I can get to that with my limited Japanese.

Remember our big phrase over here:  How often should you study?  毎日

By the way, Niko over at has revamped his website some. Head on over and check it out.



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