For readers in the U.S.: Fathom Events is hosting a Ghibli Festival. Each month from June to December, they will show a Studio Ghibli movie in theaters around the country. Each movie will be shown on two different days, once dubbed and once in Japanese with subtitles. There are a few theaters near me that generally show Fathom Events films, and I am blessed with a wife who, although she has no interest in learning Japanese, is a big fan of Ghibli, so we’ll be going to see several (or all) of them. Now, if I can only talk her into going to see the subtitled versions instead of the dubs…
Yes, we have them on DVD, but it’s different on the big screen.
Conversation Exchange comes through again. 3 days a week I generally manage to meet up with a Japanese speaker on Skype. I generally get at least a half hour conversation in Japanese (and a half hour conversation in English). I also have some penpals, and one of them told me that there is a Japanese festival happening near me! How did I know know about this? It turns out that there is a Japanese cultural association about 70 miles away from me, and they hold several annual events: a new year’s celebration in January, some kind of rice pounding even in the summer and winter and a summer festival.
The 夏祭り (summer festival) features Japanese festival food, music, folk dancing, tea ceremony, taiko drumming, flower arranging, bonsai, calligraphy, karaoke, kendo demonstration and who knows what else. Oh, and it’s indoors in a large air conditioned venue. Oh, and it only costs five bucks. Oh, and the webpage is bilingual, so it’s reading practice!
I am cramming in lots of vocabulary, generally 20-30 new words most days, courtesy of Memrise. I read a discussion about whether or not this is useful. One side says that the more vocabulary you get into your head the better. The other side says that this isn’t useful because you aren’t using the words, so they won’t stick.
Well, in one of my conversations, a few words that I had only come across in the last month or so came up, and I was able to recognize them, so I’m clearly in the first camp. Cram in all the vocabulary your brain can take. That’s my philosophy.
Now, obviously, you need vocabulary and grammar. However, can we debate for a moment which is more useful? With amazing grammar but a scanty vocabulary, how much can you really communicate? With an extensive vocabulary but limited grammar, I think you can get more ideas across.
Learn both. Both matter.
But, still, cram in the vocabulary at whatever rate works for you.
Of course, don’t forget, my advice is worth what you paid for it, and it’s free.