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How to manage all of it

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Minna-san konnichiwa ! I have about 2 and a half years until I finish high-school and I have my eyes on 2-3 Universities in Japan to which I'd like to go and study. The problem for me is that those universities don't have courses in English, only in Japanese, so if I want to go there I need to know how to write, read and speak Japanese at a high level. Because I don't have anyone who teaches this language around where I live, I was wandering how to get the most out of Rocket Japanese (in just 2 years) so as to be able to study there. The thing is that I'm very passionate about the language and like the culture a lot, but the writing system beats me (especially Kanji) and for the speaking and pronunciation, I don't know anyone with who to exercise it. So, the fact is that I really want to learn the language, but I don't have the means necessary. And btw, as I saw, this course doesn't offer much about kanji writing system so my question is: do the premium plus and platinum courses focus more on kanji ? For now, the courses are going on well, but it's starting to get more and more complicated. So I was wandering if anyone here could give me a piece of advice on how to manage all this :). Arigatou gozaimasu ! (in advance)
Sayaka-Matsuura

Sayaka-Matsuura

Codo-san, Konnichiwa! :P That's exciting that you hope to come to Japan for your university studies. I recommend that you listen to the IAC courses over and over - maybe even just the Japanese dialogues - until you're satisfied and understand it all. Then go over the grammar lessons. Make sure you understand the basic sentence structure, and try the examples out loud along with the Japanese audio. The best way is to listen... listen... and listen... so your ear gets familiar with the Japanese language. Then, once you've got the listening comprehension going - try speaking to yourself in Japanese - try "thinking" in Japanese. The Premium Plus and Platinum courses introduce Kanji and Kanji compounds that are most commonly seen and used in Japanese text. The list of Kanji in these upper levels refers to much of the JLPT Kanji's. Hope that helps! -Sayaka :P
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Well, for now, besides these courses I watch a lot of anime, or listen to Japanese music and I'm trying to understand what they are saying. I'll do what you said and hope it works. I'll let some feedback in a couple of months after I finish about 50%-75% of the course. For now, i have nothing better to do than practice. Thank you for the answer !
Sayaka-Matsuura

Sayaka-Matsuura

Codo-san, Many foreigners in Japan watch Japanese TV (even though at first they may not understand it well) and simply try to listen to as much as Japanese as possible. Soon, their ears get familiar with certain words and they are able to catch phrases in real-conversations they may have. So, watching ANIME is a great way to learn Japanese for sure! - Gambatte kudasai. -Sayaka :P
CatPanda

CatPanda

コドさん、こんにちは! If you work hard enough, and study hard enough, I'm sure being able to attend a Japanese college would be feasible. Although, I do want you to make sure it's the right move in terms of whatever you wish to major in. So please don't forget about colleges in your home country. However, I myself partially want to attend a Japanese college too however, I've been informed that in terms of the IT field American colleges might be my best bet for a variety of reasons. Although that won't stop me from studying abroad again in college. Currently I'm on exchange as a high school student in Japan and Japanese lifestyle is pretty awesome thus far. Before I came to Japan, I've gone through all of the premium content and a majority of the premium plus content. If you really try to match your pronunciation with the audio lessons, your Japanese accent will improve too. The grammar lessons are marvelous as well. As for Kanji, premium plus will get you a pretty basic start on Kanji and platinum covers Kanji a lot more than any of the previous levels. Although the biggest thing you gotta do is practice reading it and writing it somehow. Keeping a hand-written diary in Japanese will help you a lot. Although keep a dictionary close hand as vocabulary may be a challenge at first. If you keep trying and go for it you'll learn kanji in no time... As Sayaka hinted, watching TV in Japan is really good listening practice. About once every 15th sentence I understand what they say and as such I don't really understand the conversation, but I still love their comedy shows because most jokes are more physical than verbal. Anime works as well, but keep in mind that most conversations in Anime aren't always the most appropriate for all situations. A lot of conversations in Anime are rather informal and if not they're insulting each other left and right which is usually not a good idea to do in Japan... Overall, give it your all and you'll be in a Japanese college no time! -Derek
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In my home country ? No way ! I know it's a a bad thing to say about my home country, but I somehow hate it. Everything here is corrupted and the educational system isn't good at all. I don't want to give out anymore details...I just wanted to point out that I barely can wait any longer to get out of here. About the IT universities, yes...I've been thinking of taking the Undergraduate courses (4 years) in the US and then try to do the Graduate courses somewhere in Japan. Anyways, till December, I'm a little more occupied with English, because I want to take the Cambridge (CAE) and TOEFL exams. After that, I'm going hard on Japanese and IT lessons, because I know I'll need them both in the future. I was also thinking of buying books in Japanese, but I thought of this problem: if I find a kanji character that I don't know, I can't write it on the computer to see what it means in a dictionary on the internet. Are there free books, that have a simplified language used in them to be more appropriate for children, that I can find and read on the internet ? As for the Premium Plus and Platinum courses, I'll steadily take them all as I advance more through the language. And yes, I noticed too that the language used in the vast majority of anime is a little harsh and very informal, but I usually check many words and phrases that I hear in them on the internet and find the correct and more formal forms. Derek-san, sorry if I may sound rude to ask, but is there a way that I can contact you (an email or something) ? Because I'd like to talk to you a bit and ask about a few more things. And thank you a lot for the advice and encouragement. I'll do my best to learn the language. ありがとうございました! コッド
Pascal-P

Pascal-P

Sorry to be posting this late, If you're really set on looking into studying in Japan, you could look into the MEXT Japanese Government Scholarship. It requires you to sit some entrance exams, English and Japanese at the very minimum, and others may be necessary, but the scholarship gives you a decent monthly stipend of 125,000 yen I think. They provide you with an intensive 1-year course in Japanese Language. I would recommend just doing the courses, and supplementing them with grammar books. Kodansha has a few books I'd recommend: "All About Particles", "The Handbook of Japanese Adjectives and Adverbs" and "The Handbook of Japanese Verbs". They also have a book "How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese" which has an insane amount of vocab on specialist topics eg. politics, music theory, theatre, sciences etc. Again, I suggest going through the course before looking at these books as with the knowledge from the course, you'll have a basic understanding of the topics already. The handbooks go very in detail with many different sentence structures etc. Shonen manga often has furigana (small hiragana characters) for all the kanji, so that could be a method of reading kanji, however it supposedly isn't good to rely on furigana to read, so study your kanji. A decent place to order from is www.animaxis.com . They have virtually all manga tankobon. Even some really obscure titles. They ship to nearly any country (hey, they ship from Japan to Barbados!), but the shipping is rather expensive. Basically think of the shipping as the price of the products you're ordering. Another place you can try in www.yesasia.com. They offer free shipping on all orders over $50 US. As for language in anime being very informal, you could maybe try....Maid/Butler Anime? Seriously, though, the maids/butlers address their employers in polite Japanese or Keigo, and the Employers address the servants with informal Japanese. Best of both! Some example titles are Hayate no Gotoku!, Kuroshitsuji, Kuroshitsuji II, and Kaichou wa Maid-sama. Keyhole TV is a service provided by the Japanese Government to stream live japanese tv. Check it out here: http://www.v2p.jp/video/english/
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Pascal-san, thanks for the reply. Wow, 125,000 yen is a lot of money so it would be great to get one...I'll look into it a bit more. About the maid/butler anime, I watched all of the ones enumerated, so I'm a bit ahead :). Well, I still have 2 more years before I have to go to university, so it's still a lot of time to get through all the courses here. If I finish them in time, I'm going to give the books a try too. As for the kanji, which way do you think is the best to learn them ? I'm still in a pitfall when it comes to kanji and right know I know only 30 kanji or so (but only 2-3 of their readings and don't know which reading to use in each context). As for what the TV, anime and manga are concerned, my vocab is still narrow so I still use subtitles to help me with understanding, but I'm progressing (slowly but I'm going on) and I'm starting to understand more and more of what they're saying. ありがとうございました! がんばっています。。。
Pascal-P

Pascal-P

I'm sure if you put in the effort you can finish the courses. Make sure to utilize your vacation periods to the max. When Pokemon Black/White were announced in June, I decided to learn enough Japanese to play them in September. I found that by doing 2-3 hours a day I got through the first course in its entirety in about 2 months. As for Kanji, there seem to be few methods to learning them. 1. Learn the Kanji, stroke order and readings. The problem with this is that each kanji can be use in compounds, but you'll still be at a loss regarding the compound's reading. 2. Using mnemonics to remember their writing, doing that for all the kanji, and then learning their readings. James Heisig has written a series of Books called "Remebering the Kanji" which deals with this method, however it deals with all 2042 jouyo kanji and so is a great (and expensive) undertaking. The first book is here: http://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Kanji-Vol-Complete-Characters/dp/0824831659/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294058757&sr=8-1 They also have a free 200 page preview. Google "remembering the kanji free sample" 3. This is what I feel is a natural method. a)First, learn kanji as in #1, but focus more on their English meaning, though still have an idea of their readings. b)Secondly, learn a lot of vocab. Ie. for every english meaning of a kanji you know, you should know the Japanese translation. c)Thirdly, get some children's comics with furigana+kanji. d)Fourthly: read them. The idea behind learning lots of Japanese is so that if you do not recognize the Kanji, you can always get its reading in hiragana. THe furigana are placed specifically over the kanji the represent, so with this method, you would get an idea of readings of compounds, which you should know if you learn lots of Japanese, as well as the ON-yomi of the kanji (identifiable in compounds) and the KUN-yomi (identifiable when the kanji is isolated (between particles, etc.), or with a trailing. Basically, the ON-yomi is used with compounds and the KUN-yomi is used otherwise, usually with a trailing. However, since there are usually multiple readings, you'll only really learn them by exposing yourself to Japanese literature, which is why I suggest some shonen manga. The furigana allows you to see what the compund means, as well as what readings each kanji takes. I would probably recommend looking into the books as you finish Premium Plus. Regarding the anime, I would suggest watching an episode of something set in reality. Yu-Gi-Oh! maybe? Or at least in everyday life. (Thats why I like Hayate no Gotoku, so much everyday vocabulary) IGNORE ALL THE SUBTITLES, and make sure it isn't an episode you have watched recently. Listen to the Japanese audio, and DO NOT try translating it into English on the spot. At the end of the episode, think to yourself a) How much of that did I understand? b) How much of the vocabulary didn't I know? c) How many sentence structures dindn't I understand? You will probably have gotten the gist of what happened in the episode, but will probably not have understood all that much, however, if you recognized the sentence structures, you'll know that you just need to learn more vocab. On the other hand, if you recognize random vocab words, but not the structure of the sentences they are used in, you need to do more work with you Japanese Grammar. After, just watch it with the subtitles, to see how much you "got right".
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will do, thanks a lot for the advice ! The book is indeed expensive, but I'll raise some funds the next 2 months and I'll buy it. I'm still at the premium course as I'm advancing really slowly, but I'll take my time so that I get things right. Thanks again ! コッド
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Hontoni Gomen for the double post, but I need to give some feedback about the book mentioned above ! The book is called: Remembering Kanji by James W. Heising. The book is amasing and it really makes learning kanji fun and easy. I'm really amazed ! As you can see, there is only about a gap of 10 hours since my last post (i started looking into the book right after posting) and I can proudly say that I've learned about 50 Kanji characters. What's true, the only thing I've learned is their meaning without the readings, but that's the job of the second volume written by Heising. I learned them by the methods of the book (eg. writing each character 3-4 times on paper) and relaxed through other activities for about 6 hours or so and for my astonishment, I still know them. I'll try it again tomorrow to see if I still remember them, and if I do then it's more than enough for me. Having this said, I'll surely buy the book ! (I've practiced from the 100 page example given from the book). コッド
Pascal-P

Pascal-P

Thanks for the feedback. He teaches the writing of the kanji, as well as a way to associate them with an English key-word. In his late volumes he deals more with the readings. However the really good thing is that if you know enough Japanese, you'll be able to read Kanji as long as they aren't in compounds! For example: 何を見るの? Nani wo miru no? What are (you) looking at? The first kanji is "what" which in Japanes is "nani" , then you have the object marker "wo/o". Then , by Heisig's book the next kanji means "see", which, in Japanese is "miru". The trailing is the る. Glad I could help. Actually, Kanji is probably the part of Japanese I've neglected the most. I'm still only at 250 or so Kanji in the first volume. It may seem easy at first, but I really is a great undertaking which requires real persistence. Oh, and if you look in the top-right corner of your post, there's a little pencil, click that and you can edit your post!
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Thanks, I know about the edit/delete buttons. I just wanted to make it in a new post so as to be obvious. That's why I apologized...for making a new post instead of editing the last one

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