I went by the local Asian Market just for the fun of looking around, and, as I recalled, there was a sign outside the door, but it no longer advertises a Japan Appreciation Society, it now advertises a Japanese language class!
Sadly, I’m thinking it wouldn’t help me very much. The class is called “Let’s Speak Japanese” and you meet once a week for 45 minutes for six weeks. (To be fair, I only meet with my Cafetalk tutor once a week for 50 minutes, but that 50 minutes is mine all mine. I am getting individual instruction.) I also assume that it is a “survival Japanese” course – one that teaches you some basic phrases so that you can “get by” should you ever make it to Japan, because, after all, what else can you do in just six meetings? And those six meetings would be shared with how ever many other students there were.
Not much help for me, but it at least shows that Japanese resources can be found if only you look hard enough.
And now we come to the word ばかり, not because it has anything at all to do with what I was just talking about, but because I was just studying it, and it is…a little difficult.
If you follow the た form of a verb with ばかりてす, it basically means that a subjectively short time has passed since the event occurred.
Sentence like, “Didn’t you just eat breakfast?” or “She has only worked here for a few weeks” or “It seems like I just got here!” could all use ばかりてす this way.
But if you follow the て form of a verb with ばかり or if you follow a noun with ばかり, it sort of puts an emphasis on the noun or verb that we have to use additional words for in English.
たとえば (for example)
赤ちゃんが泣いています – The baby is crying.
(akachan ga naite imasu)
赤ちゃんがないてばかりいます – The baby is always crying or The baby is only crying or The baby does nothing but cry or The baby keeps on crying or something…
I’m still working on it.
My next assignment in this book is to write a 短作文 – a short essay on the topic of 人について (about people). That’s pretty wide open, but the idea is to use the grammatical structures that I learned right before the assignment, which are about wanting a thing or wanting to do something (or not). I thought that I already knew how to say that from studying Minna no Nihongo, but this is a different way of saying those things. A new structure which means the same thing.
Well, it’s lunchtime and 昼ごはんを食べたがります。 There’s my new grammar structure in action. What I learned originally would have been 昼ごはんを食べたいです。 I’ll have to ask my Cafetalk tutor if there is some kind of difference between the two and how they sound to the listener.