Well, that was no fun. Two weeks worth of work and seven days to do it in. Whew! I’m glad that’s over. This week, however, involves lots of free time, so I am going to really nail down some Japanese.
What I really want to talk about, though, is some new over at Nihongoshark.com, where Niko is officially unveiling two really nice items.
(1) The Bunkai Beast grammar book – full of useful info written in Niko’s usual fun style
(2) Toby in Tokyo
Let me tell you about Toby. It is a video course that is, right now, 12 episodes long. I’m hoping for more videos in the future because this series is すごい！
The basic story is that Toby arrives in Tokyo to meet up with his friend Diego and some other friends of Diego’s for a get-together. For each episode, you get an animated video. Whenever someone speaks, what they say is written out in Kanji. Native speakers, normal speed.
Now, the individual episodes are quite short, with most of them clocking in at around 1 minute or less. For each episode, you can watch the whole thing at once. You can also get the audio broken up line by line, with a script in kanji, kana and romaji.
The gold, though, is in the commentary. For a one minute video, the commentary video might be 10 or 15 minutes long. In the commentary, Niko breaks down the audio word for word, explains the grammar, shows the differences between casual and formal speech, discusses alternative ways of saying the same thing, adds cultural notes and explains common mistake that non-native Japanese speakers make.
Wow! This is absolutely great stuff. Over the weekend, I went through the first three episodes of Toby in Tokyo. These involve:
1) Toby arriving and meeting up with Diego and Miki – the longest episode – clocking in at 2 minutes – but with a total of nearly 40 minutes of commentary and explanation
2) A self-introduction by Toby – very straightforward and plain
3) A self-introduction by Diego, in which, after his intro, he gets asked some questions
This is 3:17 of video and an hour and six minutes of commentary and explanation which is interesting and very informative. This is a really fun series and I am learning a lot from it.
Well, I did manage to struggle through an entire chapter (Chapter 32) of Minna No Nihongo last week, by the skin of my teeth, but, with more free time, I am really looking at digging in this week.