Japanese Stuff to Share

Since I’ve only just started this blog, it’s not very impressive yet. I want to mention some things that I plan to share as a way to help better explain what I have to offer other Japanese language-learners. As I mentioned in my opening post, I started studying Japanese around age 11. I was at the library with my Mom one afternoon and I stumbled upon the foreign language section in the grown-up portion of the library. Before then, I had really only stayed in the children’s room so this was like a whole new world to me!

I didn’t know that you could learn other languages. It sounds so stupid now, but at that time I didn’t understand how people learned Spanish or French or Chinese… I thought that if you spoke the language you must be from those countries or because you lived in those countries and magically absorbed the language. Simple, right?

When I saw the foreign language books I was surprised by them. Not just because there were so many, but also because there were so many in languages I never knew you could study! Then I was drawn to this book called “Japanese in 10 Minutes a Day.”  It appealed to me, at 11-years-old, because it was full of colorful drawings and pictures, in a format that resembled a workbook. I asked my Mom if I could borrow it from the library and I took it home that day. I spent hours and hours reading that book! I made labels like the stickers in the back, and I taped them to everything in the house! I picked up the vocabulary and phrases very quickly. And I loved it!

I could only learn “so much” though. Without classes or a tutor, I ran into trouble and couldn’t really progress. So when Japanese became too difficulty, I moved on to other languages… eventually studying 10. But I went back to Japanese. When I was about 25 I started studying again. My husband was overseas with the military and I had a lot of free time so I took out some books and began studying. When we moved to Hawaii in the spring of 2006, I decided to take a Japanese class during the summer and I did so well that I continued. I took 4 years of Japanese…. but I completed the courses in only 2 years at the University of Hawaii. For those who do well in math, YES I did the classes VERY FAST!

I have gathered dozens of materials to study from, including stuff that I found a waste of money. I have hundreds (if not thousands!) of notes from all my studying. I have recordings. I have videos. I have anime and manga, Japanese dramas, movies, and novels.

Binders, Notes, Books, and more -- all Japanese stuff I've used to study.

This picture (above) is only the surface of the stuff I have… a lot of it is on my computer, or storage devices or some sort. I have an entire binder of DVDs in the other room. It’s really quite ridiculous…

I have and maintain a Premium Membership with JapanesePod101.com because I find the site to be the most comprehensive resource available for advanced learners, like me. I LOVE the advanced lessons with audio blog… and for beginners and intermediate students, the lessons at all levels are excellent! I’m an affiliate so if you’re interested in JPod101 and haven’t joined yet, use the link/banner below to give me credit if you wish join now 🙂 Thanks!

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

I am also the National Japanese Culture Examiner and National Japan Headlines Examiner with Examiner.com. Since surgery (in December 2011) I’ve been a bit slow with publishing articles in my Examiner sites. It’s really just because I’ve struggled to think of ideas and the post-surgery anemia really left me in a brain-fog for about 4 months. It’s only just NOW lifting… So, if you have any suggestions, requests or ideas for Culture topics you’d like to see, I’m always open to them! Usually I get my Headlines ideas from watching the news on TV Japan in the morning, but lately I’ve been so SLOW in the morning that I barely have time to eat breakfast before getting to work. But things are getting better.

I want to use this blog to help create more frequent and better topics for my Examiner articles and also to share information and even some basic Japanese tips, info, notes, etc. It helps me as I review, which I do regularly, and it might help others. I will also regularly post vocabulary lists…

When I was in school at UH, one thing that really bothered me was the limited vocabulary in Japanese class. I was older than my peers, married, and I spent time in different environments than my peers so I didn’t have the same benefits from dialogues with host parents (common in textbooks). I wanted to learn vocabulary for medicine, science, psychology… cooking, baking, food…. daily activities as a housewife, although I’ve never really been a housewife. I work for myself now and I’m applying for PhD programs to try to start next year (Fall 2013)… but Japanese will always be a part of my life so I need an outlet and a way to share. Sharing makes it easier for me to remember things so… in a way…. this blog is a study approach for me, and ultimately a free resource for you (“you” being whoever is reading this at the moment).

I use Anki. If you don’t know what it is, I’ll write about it later. I will make and share Anki flashcard lists for those who want them. I have many already but I need to make them smaller for beginners. It will only overwhelm others, I think, if they open my Anki lists and see SO MANY words and phrases and just aren’t ready for it yet. So I may redo them. But, I’ll post some and share them, as well as provide tips for effectively studying with Anki cards and making your own, if you want to try my methods.

Anyway, this post is longer than I expected, but I wanted to provide some more information and a brief glimpse at my Japanese stuff (the picture above). I hope this blog finds you well, and I hope the information and blog posts I share can help even just a few Japanese language-learners so they may be spared the same frustrations I’ve experienced.




Welcome to “Japanese w/ Sasha”!

This blog will gather my reviews of Japanese language-learning resources – books, tapes, CDs, anime, manga, textbooks, websites, etc. – and also provide a platform for sharing my notes throughout 20 years (on and off) of studying Japanese, both independently and in classrooms, tips, advice, suggestions and more.

Am I fluent? On occasion, but rarely. My Japanese skills fluctuate because I rarely get to speak Japanese but I can do things like read websites and watch NHK news without difficulty. I have even done some translation work.

I am a professional writer and I hold three positions with Examiner: National Buddhism Examiner, National Japan Headlines Examiner, and National Japanese Culture Examiner. I will occasionally post links to my articles when they are relevant or particularly interesting.

I am forever learning, and do make mistakes. You don’t have to point out my mistakes, and I would appreciate if you refrain from pointing out the mistakes of any others who choose to post comments on this blog. Thank you!

Mistakes are necessary to improve learning. Occasionally, just like we have typos in English, I will have a typo in Japanese. My fingers don’t always type as fast as my brain works and sometimes they fall behind haha!

That being said, most of the posts will be full of English to make certain my English-speaking Japanese language-learners get the most of my advice and resources!

I welcome questions, requests and recommendations – so please feel free to send them my way or comment with your recommendations, requests and questions among my blog posts.

I hope to share everything I’ve learned, tried and found helpful in the hope that it will help others…