This is How to Japanese, a monthly newsletter with something about Japan/Japanese and a dash of いろいろ.
I seem to be surviving in this program, despite a massive jump in our workload this quarter which is starting to wrap up. I don’t have time for anything other than studying these days (and occasional trips to the grocery store), but I have tried to put into practice one recommendation from a sensei: Read 社説 (shasetsu, editorials).
This is for a class meant to polish speaking abilities, so we spend the time discussing/debating major issues (should Japan ban nuclear power, should Japan institute a basic income, etc). 社説 are helpful to learn the language of persuasion and the content of what’s being discussed in the news. Think of them as a textual version of the NHK Radio News I’ve been plugging forever.
Mainichi Shinbun has an easy link to their editorial page that is constantly updated and (at the time of writing) has no paywall. Check out their thoughts on the easing of immigration laws, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (worth noting that this is 1,600+ characters, twice as long as usual), and the response to a court decision awarding damages to victims of forced sterilization. Some editorials have English versions linked at the top, which makes it easy to compare the translation to the original.
The real trick is finding a way to remind yourself to do the reading, and then committing to it over time. Can you read one a day? One a week? Two or three a week? Whatever it is, 継続は力なり (keizoku wa chikara nari, continuity is power), as they say. So set a reminder in iOS or Outlook. Ask your significant other to remind you. Set an alarm at the same time every day. Do whatever works best for you.
That’s all for this month. I’m once again preparing for what may be an imminent departure to Japan. The plan is to be there through July, so content may be light until at least June, while I get situated and finish up class, but I have notes for future material, so hopefully I’ll get around to something here each month.
I’m in Shinpai Deshou with a writeup of what the last six months have been like.I wrote about what it's been like to study remotely...all day, every day. Difficult to imagine fitting in the workload with a commute to and from Minato Mirai 😅
What can I do with a BA in Japanese Studies? @shinpaideshouIUC Series: Distance Learning at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies #IUC #remotelearning #Japanese🗾💻 https://t.co/T9jaYA6e9c
Don’t miss this virtual exhibit of modern print artist Munakata Shikō from the Japan Society.
Came across this excellent conversation with Allen Toussaint and the Library of Congress. Toussaint is so dialed into New Orleans music, and his local accent is great. Fascinating conversation.
On the blog I wrote a follow-up post to last month’s newsletter with a few more thoughts on TV shows (and a few additional show recommendations): “Best Practices for Watching Japanese TV.” Definitely worth a read, and if you haven’t gotten into TVer, what are you even doing?! The latest show I’ve been introduced to is 探偵！ナイトスクープ, which is a variety show taking questions/requests from a panel of comedians. The first episode I watched included a segment with a man from Aichi Prefecture who was passing out a pamphlet/paper he made introducing himself and asking for dates—婚活 by チラシ, more or less. It was endearing, and I don’t think the show exploited him. Worth a watch! And I’ll link the episode here, in case you’re interested in watching. Looks like it’s available online until March 5.
Good thread on translation rates.
To do list: Buy a PS5 sometime.
I’ve made the switch to Apple Music, so my 2022 playlist is there.