Welcome to my report of my 12th, and last, Cafetalk Monitor lesson.
I took 楽しく日本語会話 (Fun Japanese Conversation) with Haru-sensei.
She was one of the first teachers I had on Cafetalk, so it was nice catching up with her.
I should have prepared some questions, but it was really fun just chatting.
First, we talked about how we've been recently and about お花見。
I went to one at a zoo -- here's a picture:
I was trying to tell Haru-sensei that I gave up drinking for this month, mostly because I wanted to be a little healthy, and she taught me a useful phrase.
I didn't know the word 控える (hikaeru) before. It means to do something in moderation. So this sentence means, literally, "I think it is not good to not drink moderately."
It can also be used in other contexts. Haru-sensei gave this example:
It means something like, "Today, since I caught a cold, I'm going to try to hold back on going outside."
Haru-sensei said her お花見 party was at 新宿御苑 (Shinjukugyoen). I think I've heard of the location before -- I'd really like to go sometime!
We then talked about pets and she told me about her new puppies. Cute! She will try to find a new home for them or let them stay at her parent's house/childhood home, which, incidentally is called 実家（jikka) -- a new word for me.
The next topic was Golden Week. I said that I'd like to do a "one-day trip," (or a couple!) but I couldn't quite remember what the word was for "day trip." Haru-sensei told me the word for "day trip" in Japanese is "日帰り旅行" (higaeriryokyou), so I've been using that word a lot over the past few days.
We also talked about 静岡県 (Shizuoka prefecture), which is famous for tea and Fuji. I love tea! Maybe I should visit Shizuoka someday. On the topic of tea, I see the word 緑茶 in supermarkets on some tea boxes. I know that the kanji mean "green" and "tea," but I never gave thought as to how to pronounce it. Haru-sensei told me it is pronounced りょくちゃ (ryokucha).
We got on the topic of how in America, green tea can refer to both 緑茶 (ryokucha) and 抹茶 (maccha), but in Japan, these two are different. Ryokucha refers to the more watery type and maccha refers to the tea that is usually made from a powder and is used at tea ceremonies.
I really do like tea, but sometimes I'm too lazy to make it. I know, it's as simple as putting a cup of water in the microwave, but sometimes that seems like a lot of work. I said that maybe I should make one big container (容器・youki) at once. Haru-sensei told me how exactly to express that:
I thought maybe instead of the verb 作る (tsukuru), I should use the verb いれる (ireru), since that is often used for tea, but Haru-sensei told me that いれる (ireru) was used more for one serving, not making a bunch of tea at once.
We then talked about the differences between 保育園 (hoikuen), 幼稚園 (youchien), and 遊園地 (yuuenchi). I knew all these words before, but I often get them mixed up 保育園 (hoikuen) is like a nursery, where 幼稚園 (youchien) is more like a kindergarten. Then, I also get 幼稚園 (youchien) and 遊園地 (yuuenchi) mixed up, because they have similar sounding syllables. 幼稚園 (youchien) is, of course, the before-mentioned kindergarten, while 遊園地 (yuuenchi) is a theme park.
Last, we talked about South Korea. We'd both been to South Korea before, and, even though I was happy to return to Japan (the food was too spicy for me, and I don't know Korean XD Plus, I have many lovely friends in Japan!), I do like talking about my trip, especially with other people who know about Korea.
The reason we came to the topic about South Korea was that I said that, much like 遊園地 (yuuenchi) and 幼稚園 (youchien), I sometimes get 北千住 (kitasenju), a station near Tokyo, and 北朝鮮 (kitachousen), which means North Korea, mixed up. But, I can say that I've been to both!
Well, that's not entirely true -- I don't think the DMZ actually counts as North Korea. She said the DMZ can be called 境界線 (kyoukaisen) in Japanese. However, Haru-sensei had been to the part of the DMZ where you can cross over in the North Korea! Wow!
Haru-sensei told me a bit about Korean food (I honestly don't know much, even though I went there!)
She said that 焼肉 (yakiniku), which is kind of like barbecue, is called サムギョプサル (samugyopusaru) in Korea. 焼肉 (yakiniku) is very popular in Japan, and many people have told me that it comes from Korea. At 焼肉 （yakiniku) restaurants, you can grill the meat yourself! I've had it both in Japan and Korea, and both were really good! Of course, the Korean version was a bit spicier, but still great.
Haru-sensei also told me that ジュセヨ (jyuseyo) in Korean means ～ください (kudasai) in Japanese, which means "please" in English! I thought it was neat learning a tiny bit of Korean through Japanese. If I go back to South Korea, I'll say 「サムギョプサルジュセヨ！」 ("Korean barbecue please!")
It's been wonderful being a Cafetalk monitor, and I do feel I've improved immensely through the help of the Cafetalk teachers. I definitely recommend Cafetalk and hope my reports help you find a teacher who fits your learning style and help you decide what you'd like to study.
いったん for a moment 控える （ひかえる） to restrain oneself
外出 （がいしゅつ） going outside
新宿御苑 (しんじゅくぎょえん) Shinjuku Gyoen (Park)
実家 (じっか） (one's parents') home
日帰り旅行（ひがえりりょこう） day trip
緑茶（りょくちゃ） green tea 保育園（ほいくえん） nursery school 幼稚園（ようちえん） kindergarten 遊園地（ゆうえんち） theme park
境界線(きょうかいせん） border (DMZ)
Long time no post ^^;; Sorry for the wait～ Times have been less-than-nice to me recently, but I'm okay and ready for the next post! This time, in English (and hopefully I can get around to posting a Japanese version soon).
彼らの到着が遅れたのは雨のせいだ。 They arrived late because of the rain.
If せい (sei) is in the middle of the sentence, it is proper to put で (de) right after せい (sei). If せい (sei) is at the end of the sentence, it is proper to end the sentence as normal, with だ (da), です (desu), or any other sentence ending.
Next, we studied おかげ (okage).
おかげ (okage) is much like the opposite of せい (sei). It means:
For this reason （の）おかげで ((no) okage de) this positive result occurred.
帰国【きこく】= return to one's country 優勝 【ゆうしょう】= championship 招待【しょうたい】= invitation 地域 【ちいき】 = area, region 地方 【ちほう】= direction 体調不良 【たいちょうふりょう】 = poor physical health 欠場 【けつじょう】= not taking part 出場 【しゅつじょう】= participation 前置詞 【ぜんちし】= preposition
Since Hinamatsuri was the past weekend, I had asked Chiseko-sensei to please tell me about Hinamatsuri.
Chiseko-sensei wrote a nice article on Cafetalk about Hinamatsuri, so we discussed it. Hinamatsuri is a festival celebrating young girls, and families with young girls often put out a platform with many Japanese dolls on it. Most people put the dolls out around the first day of spring, around February 3rd, which is called "risshun," and then they put away the display soon after Hinamatsuri. It's said that if the dolls aren't put away soon after Hinamatsuri, the daughter in the household can't become a good wife.
The dolls themselves are gorgeous! There is the "obina" doll, which represents the Emperor, and the "mebina," which represents the Empress. Then, there are all of their various attendants below them on the display, such as the "udaijin" (Minister of the Right) and the "sadaijin" (Minister of the Left).
We also chatted a bit about the parts of the house. I had always wondered what that little alcove where flowers, art, and other decorative elements are kept (see picture) is called. Now I know: "tokonoma." I told Chiseko-sensei that sometimes we would stand in the tokonoma at someone's house to take pictures when there wasn't enough room to fit everyone in the picture. She indicated that this wasn't rude, but that, obviously it wasn't a place for standing.
Next, we moved on to FOOD! Yum.
I told her about yakimanjuu, which can be found in a picture at this restaurant's website, and was surprised that she had never heard of it. It goes to show that sometimes food can be very regional. Japan really is big on regional foods. I'm not particularly fond of yakimanjuu. It's okay, but I prefer less bread-like sweets and sweets which are sweeter. For example, traditional manjuu! Chiseko-sensei showed me this site which showed off pictures of delicious-looking manjuu. Manjuu are sweets which are like bread on the outside, but have delicious filling on the inside, like chestnut paste or anko (sweet red bean) paste.
We then talked about food we don't really like. I don't like umeboshi (pickled plum) or pickles (made of cucumbers), since sour things aren't something I like.
I do like natto (fermented soy beans), which might be slightly rare among foreigners, but was surprised to learn that Chiseko-sensei doesn't really like it! She explained that she doesn't like food that has those stretchy strings like natto ("strings that stretch out" is "ito wo hiku" in Japanese). Also, "nebaneba" (sticky) foods and "nechanecha" (also sticky) food are out of the question. This means that "tororo" (grated Japanese yam often put on soba noodles) is also something she can't eat. She explained that food texture ("shokkan") is very important. (I was very happy because I got to use this new word "shokkan" the next day in a conversation!) This reminded me that I also don't like monjayaki much. The taste is fine, and it's not that I can't, but it looks rather unappetizing and the texture is a little strange and gooey.
単語 立春・りっしゅん・first day of spring 男雛・おびな・Emperor doll 女雛・めびな・Empress doll 右大臣・うだいじん・Minister of the Right 左大臣・さだいじん・Minister of the Left 床の間・とこのま・Alcove in a house where art/flowers/etc are placed 糸を引く・いとをひく・to stretch out ねばねば・sticky ねちゃねちゃ・sticky とろろ・grated Japanese yam まぐろの山かけ・tuna sashimi with tororo on top 食感・しょっかん・food texture
First we started off with introductions,
and Kita-sensei corrected any mistakes that I made while speaking. She was very patient and encouraged me to try speaking even if I couldn't quite think how to put the sentence together.
Then, since I had a bit of a cold when I
took the lesson, I asked Kita-sensei to teach me some words that would be
useful when sick.
Unfortunately I do not have one of these:
体温計 （たいおんけい） medical thermometer
But maybe I should get one!
Currently, at work, the flu is running rampant:
インフルエンザがはやっています。 The flu is "flourishing."
At work, they use the word 流行する, but 流行る can also be used.
Many people are absent:
欠席する (けっせきする） to be absent
Kita-sensei and I talked a bit about the Japanese national health insurance. I was surprised how cheap the last doctor's visit I had was. This is the reason:
7割負担するから、個人の負担額は30％（3割）です。The government takes responsibility for 70% of the cost, and the individual pays for 30% of the cost of the doctor's visit.
I didn't know that 割 meant 10%. Thus, 7割 is 70%. Previously, I used to get confused and think that, in this example, it would be 7%. Oops!
At the doctor’s office and on the doctor’s
form, Kita-sensei said these are things I would probably be asked:
年齢 （ねんれい） age
いつから具合が悪いか When did you start feeling sick?
下痢をしていますか （ゲリをしていますか） Do you have diarrhea?
吐き気 (ハキケ） nausea
For example, age, from when I was sick, if I had diarrhea, or nausea.
Kita-sensei was worried about why I hadn't gone to the doctor yet (so thoughtful!)
I explained that it was a habit, since most people don't go to the doctor in the US until their symptoms are really bad:
症状がひどくなるまで病院にいかない。Until their symptoms get bad, they won't go to the doctor.
This is because the medical costs are very high in the US compared to Japan, especially if you can't afford insurance. A little bit sad, in my opinion.
Later, we started talking about the
humidity in Japan. In winter, the
humidity isn’t very high, but in summer, the humidity is absolutely awful.
日本は湿気が多い。 In Japan, the humidity is high.
In addition, MOLD is everywhere!
I even had some mold on my futon during the first
summer here. Ew!
Haru-sensei taught me many useful things while we chatted.
Nai desu and Arimasen I've been studying Japanese since my first year in college, but to me, the difference between "nai desu" and "arimasen" was always a little unclear. Which one is more polite? Which one is more casual? According to Haru-sensei, "arimasen" is a little more polite then "nai desu." I really had no idea! Honestly, I had been thinking that "nai desu" was more polite, but I'm glad Haru-sensei told me what was correct.
My Textbook and "Na Kaa" Then, I consulted Haru-sensei about a vocabulary textbook I've been using. This was the sentence that I wondered about:
"Demo, hitodoori ga oosugite, chotto urusakunai na kaa" (But, there are lots of people going along this road, so I wonder if it will be noisy)
"Huh? 'Na kaa?'" I thought. Of course, I'd heard of "ka na," which means something like, "I wonder," but I'd never seen "na kaa" before, so I asked Haru-sensei about it. She said my book had a typo in it! "Na kaa" isn't even a word. D'oh.
Walking and Eating After that, Haru-sensei told me about "walking and eating," which means going on a trip and walking around, eating at various restaurants. It sounds really fun! She told me about a great restaurant that has the best grated yam (tororo) in Asakusa, Tokyo. Unfortunately, their lunch special is only going on at the time when I'm at work, but I hope to be able to go to the restaurant someday!