Wow, I've been so busy these past couple weeks! My time at the Junior High has been spent helping my students prepare for the Culture Festival that happened this past weekend. It was basically a collection of performances by the students; mostly musical. Some danced, some played an instrument, all of them sang; it was a good time. I was the camera man. At one point, I was recording video using both the school's digital camcorder and my own iPhone. Hah! Hilarious. And kinda difficult.
And this week, both of my elementary schools are throwing a show with singing, dancing, and acting performances, too! I saw the dress rehearsal today; I was impressed by their ability to remember all of those lines! Especially the ones who were doing rapid-fire paragraph-long speeches as comic relief. They were also wearing various types of clothes, from school uniforms to kimono, to farmers' clothing. It was very interesting. Oh, and the fifth graders did a taiko drum performance followed by yosakoi dancing. Rock on!
Ah, Yosakoi. So, there was a yosakoi festival last week in Sendai. It was splendid. I will post a video here so you know what yosakoi is; or better yet, just do a search on google and youtube so you can read info and watch some dances. It's awesome.
This week, I just got my JET Programme Japanese Language Course Textbook and Workbook. Being placed into the advanced level, I have been given text books whose lessons are in Japanese. This will provide good reading practice and introductions to a wealth of new vocabulary. What sucks is that the first few lessons will be super tough, 'cause I'll have to stop every 30 seconds to look up a word I don't know that's in the lesson. >.< The workbook I was given has 504 kanji; most of which I've never learned before, or even seen. This is gonna be a challenge! I need to figure out how to pace myself for this. Let's break it down.
The course is split up into six textbooks, each distributed one month apart, from October 18 to March 17. We are given about a month and a half to complete each book, take a 50-question multiple choice test, and mail the test to the language center. The lessons in the book are designed to be completed on a daily basis over a span of four weeks; each lesson is four pages long, and there are five lessons per week, for a total of 20 lessons per book. So, it's already established that I'll be doing 4 pages of lessons per day. But what's unclear is the kanji workbook.
The kanji workbook was designed for self-study, and it is not included in the test. There are 504 kanji that the book gives. So if I split it up as evenly as possible, that means 84 kanji per month, or 21 kanji per week. Which means 4-5 kanji per lesson. That's not bad. I think.
The thing is, this is the breakdown for the kanji if I want to study them in the traditional fashion. But I've observed that it's much easier to forget kanji when it's learned in this way, and Heisig's method seems to actually work; it works in both remembering the meaning and how to write the kanji. So, I think I'll supplement my JET kanji studies with lessons from Heisig. This ends up doubling the amount of kanji I learn per day, and I'll go through 1000 by next April. But actually...I had this crazy idea in my head that I could get through all 1945 joyo kanji by this time, next year. Which, I guess is possible, if I maintain that pace of 42 kanji/week. Damn, that's 8-9 kanji a day. Back in college, we had 13 kanji a week, or so. Then again, I usually didn't study until the night before for an hour, and I managed to remember them. Alright, it's doable. I just have to bust my ass. :-)
Let me end this post by circling back to the topic I opened with: festivals. There is a massive Jidai Matsuri in Kyoto this weekend. Actually, it's this Friday. And I REALLY WANT TO SEE IT. So that means I'll be calling off work for the first time this week. Neat. I'm also excited to see my girlfriend. She's planning a little get-together/movie night with some friends, so I'll get to meet them and watch a good ol' Disney movie. We'll also check out another temple this weekend. It'll be great!
Side note: please read the comments of my previous post to find out what I learned about the milk here in Japan!
Word of the Day: 忙しい 「いそがしい」 "isogashii," which means "busy."