Posted in <3, Japan, JLPT, JLPT N4, 日本語

真剣に日本語を勉強する。The Road to Japanese Fluency

I went to Japan a month ago and it rekindled my spark to be fluent in Japanese. My friends in Japan were all taking the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) which rates the English level skill of the person taking it. They are taking it for work and I were asking me if I had any certification in Japanese Language.

Well… I honestly have to say that I haven’t been officially assessed yet. Aside from a few school assessments that I have gone through which both assessed me as an Intermediate Speaker (about N4-lower N3 level) I do not have the official papers to back up my Japanese Language skills. This made me think.

. I deal with Japanese people daily with the work I do. I can speak ok (in fact most Japanese are impressed by my level of understanding) , but I find that expressing ideas to them has become difficult lately with the language barriers especially once we are talking business. Well, of course we do use English and Japanese but there are things which I cannot clearly explain to them and that they cannot clearly understand. And the other way around.

This made me decide something. I have to get off my lazy ass and check one thing off my bucket list.

I HAVE TO DO IT NOW. Continue reading “真剣に日本語を勉強する。The Road to Japanese Fluency”

Posted in 2014, geekery, Japan, JLPT

[日本語勉強] 3: When Babbling becomes Understanding

Fujiwara Yuuki of THIA
Fujiwara Yuuki of THIA

I used to stare at pages like these in magazines I have bought throughout the years.  I would try to make sense out of it and rely on the understandng of Translations from online sources. It was good enough for me. I relied on Google Translate, Babelfish, Excite Translate and a bazillion of other references. And I did pretty well, with my good grasp of the English Language and some knowledge of Japanese, I tried my best to make sense of things on my own.

I thought that was fine.

Until I learned how to read Kanji by myself.  Imagine my joy when I stared at the characters I was staring at for a long time and words and images form in my head. Imagine the feeling of finally being able to grasp the kana and kanji together.  I was more than ecstatic. It was better than an orgasm. (SorryXD) I felt like I have achieved something from hours and hours of drilling which I thought went nowhere. But, my head has finally processed the information and I could actually read about 70% of that page.

The rest, I figured out with Yomiwa app, which defines the kanji for me when I write it on my iPhone.

Now, I am a step into my dream of fluency.

Also, I almost cried the other day when I listened to a song and for the first time understand the full gist of it, along with the emotions and all the nuances. >.> I did what I do to ENGLISH songs and Filipino songs, which was amazing. Its not just blabber and music. I don’t listen to it just because I like how it sounds.

tumblr_n1tz4k0g1D1slurmmo2_1280I listen and understand

This is a videotaped radio show by THIA ( a group that I am into) and I started writing down on evernote what they were saying. I had to play and repeat several times but I really got it this time.

I used to do this before, but I feel that now, with this new grasp I have I could understand better.

I laugh out loud now at things I actually understand from the get go. I dont just stare at Mio’s face (OK, I still do, but yeah… I actually understand what he’s saying). I am so happy!

I know I have a long way to go, but I will do this. This makes me more encouraged to learn and to go forward.

And.. at least I get my fangirl fix. hehe


Posted in 2014, Japan, JLPT

JLPT Adventure: February update

So it’s not so easy. cramming kanji in my head can be addicting as well as exhausting. I have been wondering why I feel so sleepy all the time lately and I think I found the reason why. I can’t stop studying. I feel that if I lose my step now, I will lose all motivation — BUT, on the contrary, I feel so exhausted.

I am averaging 20-35 kanji a day as opposed to planned 50. At least, I find that there’s progress. I still write on Raito (my journal) daily, making him my writing practice as well as kanji learning diary. I learn new words everyday.. I try to read as much kanji daily (ameblo/ twitter) and I am on page 10 of a book called puppy (ko inu) on wakaru. I am learning I think.

My professor also started to let me write on the white board. by which i should really get my whiteboard and study there. ( I have so much paper wasted!) I got most of the kanji, and realized though I can read it, I need to remember how to write it. I began learning radicals – i think breaking it down IS the best way to learn it.

So far, I know at least 300++ kanji. I can recognize their sounds — but reading takes time.

Downloaded a bunch of stuff for Japanese learning too. I hope I can utilize them all.

And I do need to take a breather sometime. TO SLEEP.

I still watch dramas raw. ( I think my listening comprehension tops my reading and writing by miles). I’m into Lost Days, Dr. DMAT and Shitsuren Chocolatier lately. And I still attempt to translate tweets and blogs.

Learning Japanese is a full time thing. I have 298 days to go. ANd I haven’t decided whether to take N4 or N3 yet.  My teacher says to definitely skip N5. But, somehow, I don’t know. I just want to advance.

Though it is exhausting, I think… I am stepping towards my goal.
Now, if only I can be this disciplined with food too. Then, everything will be perfect.



by the way, did I mention it’s my birthday tomorrow?

Posted in <3, 30 Day Happiness Challenge, 52 Day Challenge, Japan, Realty, Revelations

Decluttering my Life.

I hate packing. Its usually frustrating because you really don’t know what to bring with you and what NOT to bring.  If only there’s a way for me to fold up my whole room and pack everything in but no one has invented the shrink and unshrink ray yet.   And for a person like me who is moving away — I am annoyed that I have to fit my life into 2 suitcases and 2 hand carries. This means a lot of tears, pain and sacrifice…

Packing was really stressful to me. I felt like I was shedding off a lot of skin, stripped down to bare minimum and left in the cold. That means a lot of letting go, a lot of hard decision making and a lot of mental debates about things I want to bring but due to weight and space limitations, I cant! ( I HATECHUU OVERWEIGHT CHARGES!!) Things of sentimental value, things I fear that might be lost, things I may need, things I that are a part of me – these are the things I had to think about.These are things I had to worry about.  Especially with a mom who is OC and might chuck or give away things that are important to me.  So,  It has been a battle for me to get to this point that I only brought the bare essentials.

While I was letting go of things, I had to think. Will this make me grow or hold me back? If I hold on to the sentimentality of tings, I will never grow up. I will never move on. So I chose to grow… and I know with that move, it will make me better.

I have decluttered my life.  I have let go of things I deemed important with the knowledge that God will replace them for me with better things. I know that sometimes, it takes a lot of sacrifice to gain something.  No pain no gain.  It might hurt to give up things, but you can’t have room in your life if you don’t give up things in your life.

I guess this trip — this move will be character building with for me. I know I’ll be a better person with an uncluttered life.  I can concentrate and make my life new in this trip. Maybe this will be a good thing for me.

Posted in <3, dear god, hope you got my letter, deep thoughts, Devotional, Japan, Revelations

[J-Countdown 10] Don’t Worry, Maria, GOD LOVES YOU!

10 Days to Japan.

So it begins, in 10 days I will be in Japan and I feel like everything is falling into place. I have been overanxious about things but all my anxiety has been answered by God and I know I am going to be provided for. All I have to do is to trust in him.  In my devotion today he told me that I should not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself (Matt 6:34) I actually liked the way it was written in the MSG

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

What am I getting so worked up for? I am worried about things that has not come. And why am I worried when I know that there is a God that is bigger than me? I know in my heart that He will provide for me. So all I need to do is to keep busy, and do things according to His will.   So, Maria, Stop Worrying! Start smiling and start living the dream that you have had since you were a little girl. This is what
you wanted right? So, God Blessed you with it – so stop being anxious girl. Just relax and let God work his love on you.
I should count my blessings instead of worrying! I am so blessed with people who love me and support me and are excited for me. My mother has been a blessing to me and my Dad too. My family is so wonderful. I have N who totally is behind me and I have friends who totally love me and is happy for me. I  am also blessed with an employer who believes in me, partners who root for me and people who truly believe in me.

God blessed me with talent. God blessed me with love. God blessed me with a job. God blessed me with everything and I should be happy.  I am Lord. Thank you!

So from now on, I’ll be excited not worried because I see that God has more Blessings for me!