Cafetalk Lesson #6

Another Cafetalk lesson with Makisan.

In case you read the last post and are wondering, the answer was に。

7課 (chapter 7) in みんなの日本語 was a rough one with a lot of 宿題 (homework) and Makisan found my mistakes. My assignment for next week begins with doing one of the pages all over again! Yikes! Well, it’s my own fault. There is one topic that I need to study more, because I kept getting it wrong. The end result? Do it again.

The lesson began with a little discussion about the weather where I am and where she is – equally cold both places – and continued with a discussion of the cost of manga in Japanese at Amazon (much cheaper in Japan, but shipping to the US is ruinous). Don’t get the idea, by the way, that this conversation is a waste of time. It is conducted, as much as possible, in Japanese, so it is good practice and an opportunity to learn useful vocabulary.

This was followed by going over the rather voluminous 7課の宿題. This is all about particles, when to use で, に, と, もう (my personal problem, that last one). It is complicated stuff, and I have a feeling that it is only going to get more complicated, which is why it is such a good thing to have someone to help guide you through it.

Here’s one of the great things about these lessons: you can do your homework and get it because it sometimes follows a predictable pattern. Makisan has a tendency to break me out of that pattern, however.

たとえば (for example), this:


The れい (example) says, “What is this called in Japanese?  It is a fax machine.”  You follow that up, obviously, with “What is this called in Japanese?  It is a computer.”

After this exercise, Makisan began holding things up and asking me これは 日本語で  何ですか。  (When I can understand the kanji, I use them instead of kana.)  Then I had to recall the vocabulary I needed to answer her questions.  After a few of those, she said, どうぞ which, in this case, means it’s my turn to select some items and ask her the question.

The great thing about is that, while doing the homework, if I need to I can look stuff up or sit and ponder for a moment, but, suddenly, I’m not doing homework, I’m in the middle of a conversation using the ideas from the homework in a real like situation.  How cool is that?

If I looked hard enough, I could probably find an answer key to the homework out there somewhere.  (I haven’t tried and won’t try, because I want to learn, not just have the answers at hand.)  But, without Cafetalk, I wouldn’t get that real world interaction.

Sometimes she throws out questions from previous chapters, too.  Today she asked me what the date was – month and day.  That was from a lesson a couple of weeks ago.  Then she asked me tomorrow’s date.  Then I listed how you say the days from 1st through 10th.  (In case  you don’t know, there isn’t much of a pattern to it.  You just have to memorize the vocabulary.)  Pop quiz!

I finished off the free lessons that I got from the nice folks at Cafetalk and had to buy points today so that I could sign up for my lesson next week.  I’ll be honest – I would rather not spend the money, but this is definitely money well spent.

I’ve already studied the vocabulary for 8課.  Today I will study もう and redo that page from 7課, review the vocabulary from 8課, and, of course, review my anki cards.

Have I mentioned before that this is work?  I believe I have.  But it’s fun.

P.S.:  Here is another example of why Makisan is a great tutor.  I got a message from her that said it was a “special present”.  It was 5 pages of extra homework for this week.  She knows that I am a serious student who really wants to learn.  I had a weak spot, so she is helping me to make sure that it doesn’t stay a week spot.  Very cool.  すごい!



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