Learning to read Japanese or Chinese

J.C.   Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:46 am GMT
"Es que JC es negro. Los negros pueden hacer de todo."
Maybe me speak in ebonics here dawg :) you feel me?
I guess that learning stuff has to do with effort only and ANYBODY who keeps on trying will eventually learn.
When I started learning Japanese many people said that "gaijins"(I HATE this word) couldn't learn the language and that was a good motivation to me. Then I heard that German was difficult and decided to study it too.
Bueno, yo soy negro pero esa és una definición complicada en Brasil porqué todos somos muy mezclados. Mi mamá és blanca y mi avuela por parte de papá era blanca también...Además, tengo sangre indígena también...Perdonenme por mi portuñol pero es realmente difícil escribir en español aunque pueda leer bien.
I remembered another cool proverb in Japanese:「犬も歩けば棒に当たる」,which means "A flying crow always catches something" and everyone studying "difficult" languages will ultimately catch something if doesn't give up.
I hate spam   Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:51 am GMT

I'm impressed by your ability but mostly by your attitude. A lot of people could learn from you, and not just relating to languages but life in general. Keep up the coolness. By the way, what is your age, if you don't mind me asking?
J.C.   Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:04 am GMT
"I'm impressed by your ability but mostly by your attitude. A lot of people could learn from you, and not just relating to languages but life in general. Keep up the coolness. By the way, what is your age, if you don't mind me asking?"
I hate spam-san: Thanks or the compliment but we're all on the same boat bound for knowledge :) The success will depend on the number on times one paddles. I'm glad I had the opportunity to leave Brazil for a while (11 years in Japan:1 year in Okinawa and 10 years in the mainland-Osaka and Tochigi).
Dude, I'm starting to feel the wall of age since I will be 35 next month and my CPU isn't as fast as a macintosh Macbook Pro no more :) Information is processed like on 386s...
As the proverb says 「老いやすく学成り難し」:Ars longa, vita brevis...(Sorry if this Latin proverb is wrong but I skipped too many classes in college to play billiard!!!)

zatsu   Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:26 am GMT
<<"I should say though, that for a beginner struggling to memorize the first kanjis it may sound quite depressing, lol =P"
Chill out dude!! Even the Japanese can't read the newspaper until they finish high school!! Learn at your own pace and try to HAVE FUN when you do it. >>

Hey J.C., I was just joking there, no harm intended!
I'm not a beginner anymore and yeah, I'm having fun trying to reach high school level. It's like a challenge, and your example is just inspiring^^
I'll keep sitting on and warming the rock, heheh

Everyone struggles in the beginning, perseverance is the key to success.
It sounds good, huh
Shoh   Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:25 am GMT
J.C., あなたは本当に素晴らしい賜物を神様から恵まれました。頑張っていて下さい。(In case you're wondering, I am one of the very few (<1%) of the Japanese Christians.)
Guest   Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:43 am GMT
Why would you want to believe in a false god?
J.C.   Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:20 am GMT
I'm glad you're among the <1% christians!!
Shoh   Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:59 pm GMT
ハレルヤ! J.C. との出会いは主の御手による出会いだと思います。できればもっと個人的な分かち合いをしたいです。

K. T.   Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:06 am GMT
Very interesting. This makes me think we could discuss 深い河 (which I still haven't read) or something by 三浦綾子.
K. T.   Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:28 am GMT
"ANYBODY who keeps on trying will eventually learn."

I think this is pretty close to the truth. Most people who are "bad" at languages probably gave up on them too soon. For most people in Japanese, I think it's the Kanji mountain that gets them. This is why it's helpful to note even minor progress in a language, it shows that one is moving along even if it's a "dry" season in the language.
gaijin   Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:30 am GMT
Thanks for all the advice. I do have another question about learning kanji. Isn't it doubly difficult to learn, since most kanji have two pronunciations--on and kun--which are different? (And often multiple pronunications of each of those.)

With Chinese you have, usually, only one pronunciation for a character. So once you learn a character, you have it's pronunciation in just about every situation. How do you go about learning in Japanese, where there two or more pronunciations for almost every kanji?
K. T.   Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:09 am GMT
Any good book on Kanji or a good dictionary for Kanji will give all the readings. Nelson is a good name to remember. There is also the Kanji Power handbook (for Korean, Chinese and English speakers), but I don't recommend it as highly. The German team Hadamitzky and Spahn have an English version of "Kanji and Kana" and the French book "Memento Des Kanji" by Martin are all very good.

I do not recommend the Heisig books unless you have plenty of time to go through them. Heisig teaches Kanji without the readings at first.

You need endurance to learn how to read in Japanese and maybe a good memory. I'm not a genius and I learned how to read Japanese, so it can be done.
J.C.   Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:36 pm GMT
"This makes me think we could discuss 深い河 (which I still haven't read) or something by 三浦綾子."
K.T-さん:She is one of my favorites writers and her books really touch the heart. I remember watching a movie called 塩狩峠, which was based on a book with the same name. Man, tears wouldn't stop flowing by the end of the movie...Gotta read the book, though...
I also have 「それでも明日は来る」and「道ありき」.
I also had the opportunity to read 「キリストの生涯」by 遠藤周作 and started reading 「沈黙」but didn't finished reading it yet...However, since 遠藤周作 was catholic, his views are a little different sometimes...

We could start a thread about Japanese literature. What do you think?
K. T.   Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:57 pm GMT
"塩狩峠" I read this, but haven't seen the movie. The mere mention of 三浦綾子's work usually draws a strong emotional reaction from Japanese people. They get very excited when she is discussed. I read her extremely interesting short essay 私を変えた愛.

I am not Catholic, but I have many of 遠藤周作's books. How many people had his kind of background? Not many, I guess. He was born in Manchuria or grew up there, then majored in French or French literature and lived in France.

I suppose that I can relate to him in a small way because I used to live in France, then I lived in Japan. I do recognize that his outlook was different than mine is, but I enjoyed his lol sense of humour.

I have never been one to say that Japanese people are "inscrutable", but reading literature or essays in Japanese brings it home how human we are on the inside. That is one of the real rewards of not giving up in Japanese-being able to take a look into how Japanese think by reading what they write for other Japanese.

"We could start a thread about Japanese literature. What do you think?"
It is a very tempting idea, but I wonder if we have enough people. How many people know Japanese at Antimoon? At least four, I think, perhaps five.
Guest   Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:15 pm GMT
There are no Japanese books well known in the West, correct?