I am quite happy with my immersion in Japanese this week! I watched the film 『ちょっと今から仕事やめてくる』and several episodes of 『ちびまる子ちゃん』. I also spent a lot of time reading and translating the magazine 『趣味の文具箱』. Finally, I started reading the news again.
This film by Izuru NARUSHIMA 成島 出 (なるしま・いずる) is an adaptation of the novel (same title) by Emi KITAGAWA 北川恵海 (きたがわ・えみ). While I loved the novel I have mixed feelings concerning the film.
As long as the film follows the novel, I found it quite okay. The actors are good, the setting is good, the slight deviations from the novel are good too. I loved the scenes at Takashi’s workplace, that really convey the daily’s nightmare to work there.
The end of the film is however completely different. While the novel mainly focuses on Takashi, the protagonist, the film wants to give more place to Yamamoto, the other character. At some point, it leaves the novel behind to follow its own step and add new scenes to the story. This is where I felt like watching a cheap TV film with too many good sentiments and happy smiles to my taste.
But even if I didn’t like the end, I enjoyed watching the film.
The death of Momoko Sakura made me want to watch the anime adaptation of her most famous work: 『ちびまる子ちゃん』.
I thought I would watch one episode, but I ended up watching a second and a third one and now, I could not tell how many I have watched.
It is a very good listening practice to me. The level is low enough for me to understand most of what is said, so it is not discouraging and still provides some challenging parts and an overall good contact with daily Japanese conversation.
I also find these episodes funny and interesting in themselves. While reminding me of some similar episodes of my own childhood, it gives interesting insights into Japanese school and traditions.
I have been reading and translating some passages of the magazine 趣味の文具箱… a magazine on fountain pens!! I didn’t know there were magazines on fountain pens at all, but finding one in Japanese is really a sign that these two hobbies go on well together.
The magazine is published four times a year and I have the issue 46.
The magazine has 160 pages with different articles and several pages devoted to the “New Stationery Collection”, which is a display of new fountain pens by brand. It is nice to see what exist on the market, even though most pens are far too expensive for me. The articles are interesting. In the issue I have, the dossier is about choosing, using, washing and taking care of your fountain pen. There is also an impressive display of tools used to take care of the nib and an interesting interview with a Japanese designer working at Lamy.
I can really feel the difference between reading something in Japanese to read in Japanese and reading something in Japanese because the contents interest me. In order to try some new study approach and do something I never did before, I took some paragraphs, copied them into a notebook in Japanese and translated them into French (all this is also a pretext to use my fountain pen). It didn’t feel like studying at all, I enjoyed doing it because I am so interested in the contents I translate.
By doing so, I have realised how translating can boost your reading skills. While I am reading only, I satisfy myself with a general comprehension of the sentence. Trying to translate it, however, forces me to analyse more closely what I am reading, and doing this helps to improve my reading ability in general, or at least, I think so.
Military service exemption for Son Heung-min?
The Asian Games are going on and though I am not following it, I will watch the men football finale tomorrow. Not only is the finale Korea-Japan, but if Korea wins, the players will get a military service exemption. Everyone is looking at Korea’s football star Son Heung-min (Tottenham) to see if he can avoid going to the military (the service is 21 months long…). I have no idea how Japanese feel when they play against Korea, but Koreans are generally very happy if they win against Japan. This and that put together, I guess that Korean fans will be on fire tomorrow!
Anyway, this made me open Mainichi again and read an article on this topic. I was very pleased to see that I could read it comfortably and without looking up words (guessing from the kanji the words I didn’t know or never learnt like “兵役免除” that I understand but cannot pronounce).
This passage explains that Korean football players can get a military service exemption if they win a medal at the Olympics or a gold medal at the Asian Games:
- 兵役免除・へいえきめんじょ: exemption from military service
While I still have a hard time opening the Japanese novel I started some days ago and still don’t feel like reading at all, I am glad that I am still in contact with Japanese in other ways.
I feel now, more than ever, how important it is to have various ways to be in contact with your target language. There are times when some doors seem to be shut (for me at the moment, reading novels), and having other paths to explore allows you to stay in touch with the language, to discover new ways to study or new passions, and to improve different skills (listening instead of reading for example). Writing this Friday post (or knowing that I will have to write it), greatly helps me to stay active in looking for Japanese resources or things to do in Japanese.
I highly recommend writing or listing everything you do in your target language in your language study journal or any other support. A weekly basis works well for me, but it can be different!