Friday, July 31, 2009

Keep Your Room in Japan Clutter-Free

We often fail to notice how much (useless) stuff we end up accumulating over the finite months that we stay in Japan. I used to be an exchange student for one year in Osaka, and I am still repelled by the fact that I had collected so much junk during the time. Most of the stuff was useless anyway.

So when it's finally time to leave Japan, reality hits us straight in the face. The dresser is bulging with UNIQLOthes, and the oshi-ire cluttered with books, DVDs, video games, miniature fountains, Buddha statues, toys, a takoyaki cooker, and a replica of Miyamoto Musashi's wooden sword. Are you really going to take everything with you?
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What is a Good Trial English Lesson?

Many foreigners staying in Japan have taken up private language tutoring as their part-time job due to the profits, convenience, and ease that it brings.

In May, I wrote a quick guide on how to start teaching English privately in Japan, but today I'm going to talk about trial lessons. A trial lesson is the very first lesson that you provide for a new student. It is like an introduction that will give your student an idea of what you do, how you carry out your lessons, and what kind of a person you are.

If your new student liked the first lesson she might start taking your lessons regularly, but if not, you might never hear from her again (except for a mannerly "Thank you for today's lesson. See you soon!")

So what makes a good trial lesson?
Sunday, July 26, 2009

How Many Kanji Should We Know?

So how many kanji do we need to know? What is the magic number?

First, let's rephrase the first question: What do we want to read? In the case of English it's simpler because the number of characters is very limited; learn the 26 letters of the English alphabet and you'll have a good start. With Japanese, you can effortlessly read children's picture books if you know hiragana. But if you want to tackle the Civil Code of Japan in the native tongue, you'll need a lot more than that.
Friday, July 24, 2009

How I'm Spending My Day Off in Japan

I have (or had) 24 hours at my disposal, but I'm not feeling very productive at the moment. Sometimes I just want to lay back and listen to the hum of my fridge or feel the breeze of the air-conditioner.

Today is one of those days when I have no plans or appointments whatsoever—just wake up whenever I want, eat when/what I want, do whatever I want (lie inert in bed). Okay, let me break that rule a bit... I'm going to make a plan right now to remain on this futon for the rest of the day. I have next to me a 2-liter bottle of Japanese mineral water, Bram Stoker's Dracula (book), and my cell phone. What else would I need to survive the remaining five hours?
Thursday, July 09, 2009

Top Posts

Here is a collection of my most popular blog posts.
Friday, July 03, 2009

Improve Your Japanese Reading Skills through Instant Messaging

In my previous post, How Long It Took Me to Learn to Read and Write Japanese, I briefly touched the subject of using online chatting as a means to improve your Japanese literacy skills. Today I would like to expand on that idea.
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