Oh, Yeah. That’s Why.

As I was looking at the really quite confusing grammar points that I was trying to jam into my head this week, I had one of those “Why am I doing this to myself?” moments.  They happen from time to time.  When I have them, I just kind of shrug, tell myself “because” and move on.

This morning, I woke up really early.  So early that I found myself all dressed up and nowhere to go (yet).  I was ready for work, but work wouldn’t be ready for me for another hour.  So I sat down, opened up Memrise and starting hitting the vocabulary.

Actually, the Memrise course for みんなの日本語 book 2 is both better and worse than the course for book 1.  It’s worse because it doesn’t have any sound, so I can’t hear the words pronounced, but it’s better  because it includes not only vocabulary but grammar points as well.

And, you know what?  It was fun.

Yep.  I’m that kind of guy.  Learning new vocabulary and reviewing grammar points was fun, even though one of the sentences they used bugs me.

Here it is: そのシャツ、すてきですね。どこでかったんですか。 (That’s a really nice shirt.  Where did you buy it?)

Now, first of all, I have great difficulty imagining myself ever using this sentence.  My wife and I actually have this conversation regularly:

Her:  “You need to throw that shirt out.”

Me:  “Why?  It only has a few holes in it.”

But I digress.  What really bothers me about this sentence is a point of grammar:  Where’s the は?  Shouldn’t it be そのシャツは…?

Okay, so in the real world people don’t always use perfect grammar and maybe someone might actually say the sentence that way in real life, but I’m still learning, darn it!  Make sure that what you show me is grammatically correct.  I might break the rules in real life to sound more natural, but I want to know which rules I’m breaking when I do it!

Annoyingly, I know two different people who each went to Japan sometime during the last three weeks. Alas, I don’t have the money for that sort of thing lying around right now.

Actually, to be honest, I’m not quite ready to go yet, anyway.  I want to have a better grasp of the language.

Last week, I met with my language partner, Takesan, on Skype.  His English is much better than my Japanese, so we often end up speaking a lot of English, but we now have a “Japanese only” time.  Right now it’s only 15 minutes, but, believe me, 15 minutes of conversation is difficult enough.

I can’t wait for my next Cafetalk lesson (which will be Saturday morning) since I decided that, now that I’m in book 2, would be totally English free.

Oh, boy.  That should be hard nuts fun, don’t you think?

But I’ll learn.

When you’re learning a new language, your original language can be a crutch.  It’s too easy to revert to English when Japanese gets difficult.  In the beginning, maybe I needed that crutch, but it’s time to put it away and force myself to use all Japanese all the time when I talk with someone who speaks Japanese.


I have a song stuck in my head, so I’m putting in the video.  This is the Ventures in Japan playing a song by 加山 雄三 called Black Sand Beach.




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