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  • Language Difficulties 2: The Date

    Hi everyone! Thanks for your replies to my earlier post. I really appereciated all the advice I received! Anyway, in case you were interested, this is how the actual date panned out!

    3pm: met at Hachiko entrance, Shibuya station. Conversation went smoothly - that is, I pretended I understood what she said, and replied with a `sou da ne` to everything she said that ended with `ne`. This seemed to do the trick!
    We proceeded to a sushi restaurant for a late lunch. The small talk had finished, and now the conversation started to get difficult. I listened for recognisable words, but ended up being completely boggled by her Shizuoka dialect. I surprised myself by getting the overall picture, and even managed to ask what she did for a job. I almost choked on my sushi when she answered `hostessu`! Oh... no!! But I think I was assured it was just a temporary thing, and I received many soft touches on the shoulder and `gomen ne` s.

    4pm: Went to do purikura. Purikura crosses all language boundaries!! Then went to the Disney store. Not the biggest fan, but you all know the thing about Japanese females and Disney products, right?

    5pm: Proceeded to the nearest, most romantic place I could fathom... in this case Shibuya koen. After walking around the lakes for a while, we sat down and I asked her if she would like to be my girlfriend. Was I being too fast? I received many `ii kedo` s, but she finally settled on a yes, with a smile.

    I feel so lucky, so thanks everyone! And good riddance to bachelorhood! (^-^)

    JAMES


  • #2
    Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

    James

    now its time for you to hit the Japanese study books with a vengeance. Now at least you have a reason to study Japanese.

    Its all very nice having a cute thing hanging off your arm who cant speak English but if you cant make conversation it gets very stale very fast. Not every day will be like your date and both of you will want stimulating conversation and not spend all day flicking through dictionaries and sign language or staring at the walls or each other not saying anything.

    Anyway hope it all goes well for you. The fun is just beginning.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

      Quality- maybe i should switch from the above average looking English speakers to the beautiful non-English speakers....

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

        Yeah, two thumbs up to you...so what`s the plan now-

        Are you going to hit the books solidly?

        -Go hard with the language barrier, it`s rewarding when you can stsrt to understand each other better...


        Peace!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

          Thanks for your replies! Yeah, I really have motivation to speak Japanese a lot more now than I did. But, damn those text books with their desu/masu forms! I want to speak understandable, casual Japanese riddled with colloquialisms, slang, and the occasional swear word. Am I asking too much?!
          Right now, we`re in the dreamy `oh wow, you`re so wonderful!` stage, but I realise there may be a desire for stimulating conversation some day from both of us, so I`ll definately try my best.
          And yes, THEDON, do so... once you do you won`t go back!!
          Thanks again!

          James

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

            James

            Your story is very sugoi. I speak no Japanese, apart from the 2 pages of simple terms my girlfriend taught me. I have some text books, and I know what you mean about the formality. It seems so different from the little I've learned from her. I figure that if you approach a potential lover as you would a potential employer, they just may treat you like an employee.

            However, I've just found this book [but I'm not in Japan]:

            'Making Out In Japanese', by Geers & Geers, Tuttle Publishing
            www.tuttlepublishing.com

            It's concise and colloquial, as far as I can tell, cheap and pocket-sized, and has a good range of small talk to street ____e. Worth a look if you can find it.

            Best of luck

            GG

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

              I've seen some book about making out in Japanese... it's hilarious. The Japanese friend who saw it with me agreed that it was the most ridiculous thing he's ever seen. If your girlfriend agrees to make out with you after using some of this book's quotes, it's only because she thinks you're the funniest guy in the world.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

                I would probably advise that you ask someone about the usage of some of the expressions in that book. Pretty light hearted most of it but some of it can be pretty crass and vulgar if not used properly.

                Comes with English translations but you want to be careful that language is used appropriately when making moves in that direction. You may want to use those expressions but you want to make sure you understand the answers you get as well and you dont offend her at all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

                  Yes, I actually have that and it`s sequel, `More Making Out in Japanese`. While the sequel is quite good as it focuses on romance terminology, the first is only really useful if you want to get into a bar fight.

                  Would it be realistic to suggest that my Japanese might improve just by going out with her? I really don`t know. I picked up a few new words just from that date. The thing is, before I could survive if I got lost in the station or something, and I don`t need to use Japanese at all at work, so I never thought I had to formally study. She is my motivation to speak now. I want to speak the way a boyfriend speaks, not textbook Japanese like at a business meeting with Mr. Tanaka.
                  Any advice?

                  James

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

                    And as most girls appreciate a good sense of humour, I'm sure you'll do alright. Of course there are some hilarious phrases: "May I love you?", for example, even in English, would likely signal a quick end, or torturous beginning, to any love making activity.

                    Frungy
                    I think the lad seems to have the street smarts to pick and choose the kind of phrases that would best suit his situation. As I mentioned before, I speak no Japanese, but have been doing some research, and this is the closest thing I've seen that compares to the type of Japanese that my girlfriend taught me.

                    Maybe the book is ____e, I don't really know. However, when I called said girlfriend in Asakusa the other night, to wish her a happy birthday, I threw a few of the phrases out to her [though nothing from the 'Lover's Language' section] to get her reaction. Her comment was that the book seemed 'very interesting' and that I should bring it with me when I come. That is all I know.

                    Please, if you or anyone else has a better suggestion, James is waiting. The man is on a mission. I say no more.

                    GG

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

                      Wow. I just saw these other posts now. Pardon my redundancy.

                      GG

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

                        James

                        this may not be the place to give you a Japanese lesson but when I want to find out what my students want to learn I will do a needs analysis. What this will mean in essence is:

                        How much do you want to learn? What level of vocabulary and grammar?
                        What do you need the language for? What level of conversation? Just pillow talk or do you actual want to converse with her?
                        How much time do you have to study Japanese?
                        How much time and effort you want to put into it?
                        What skills do you need? listening, speaking or reading? All of them will take a while.

                        Once I know how far you want to go with the study and language its easier then to tell you what you should be doing.

                        You wont learn fluent japanese in a week, even a month and it will take you up to a year to get the basics down. I went from zero to level 2 of the Japanese Proficiency exam in 3 years. Level 4 and Level 3 are the basic levels of JLPT.

                        If you speak little or no Japanese now that is how long its going to take you. Before you can think about what to say to her you are going to have to get the basic grammar down, work on building your vocabulary and improving your listening skills. It will be like learning to walk all over again. All I can suggest is to get hold of some basic Japanese learning texts like Nihongo Kiso and start on the exercises. You will probably need to start learning hiragana and katakana etc as there will come a point where everything is written in Kanji and hiragana and you wont learn vocabulary by just reading romanji.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

                          Thanks Paul. I`ve tried to familiarise myself with the language for about a year now. I`m fairly new here so I haven`t had much of a chance to immerse myself totally. I know hiragana and katakana, but if I was supposed to understand kanji I simply would have been given a bigger brain!

                          To be honest Paul, it`s not my desire to be fluent in Japanese. It`s at that point, I`ve heard, when foreigners become suspicious to the Japanese anyway! I actually enjoy English teaching and probably won`t want a different type of job, so probably wouldn`t need those language skills in my vocational future.

                          As I mentioned beforehand, my girlfriend is the ONLY reason I want to speak Japanese. She`s never travelled outside of Japan and never had anything to do with foreigners until this point. Therefore, the Japanese I would like to speak is the language that regular couples use here. I want to be able to have casual conversations with her without it sounding like a formal discussion between Mr. Sato and Ms. Tanaka. I gave up on textbooks because that`s the only type of language that was ever presented. So I`d rather look for some other materials - music? TV and movie dialogue? I don` t know. Besides, I really don`t want to spend my free time stuck in a book.
                          Any suggestions for my situation, anyone?
                          Thanks.

                          James

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

                            James

                            Obviously the language used in basic textbooks has been sterilised and cleaned up so that the learner can grasp the central grammar points and vocabulary. What you read in a text book and what you hear on the streets are two diffferent beasts. Your girlfriend will understand you if you use the language in the books. think of it as being japanese on training wheels. there are so many other aspects of language that do not get covered in textbooks but you pick up by trial and error e.g. fillers, onomaetopaeia, respect language (I wouldnt go calling her "omae" for 'you' just yet) local slang. Mens and womens language (women put a lot of 'no's' and 'yan's' and 'wa's' on the end of sentences. they may call themselves atashi or watashi. men call themselves 'boku' etc. You have to get a feel for the rhythm of the language, the intonation. For me a good way was to learn to sing karaoke. when i didnt read kanji I just got a freind to put it into romanji and then i would sing along in Japanese even though i didnt understand the words.

                            I can not emphasise this strongly enough but if you want to make progress you cant be half-arse about it, and that means consistent study. that may mean making your a social wallflower and getting away from the other foreigners at worker, the after work drinking parties and other english speaking groupies. I learnt japanese by hitting the local bars and talking to the locals. You learn by doing, by opening your mouth and speaking. You cant do it when you hang around with foreigners after work. Input, my man. You dont get by speaking english in your free time.

                            Im not sure whether she will just want to be seen a vehicle for you to practice japanese, just like we dont like japanese practicing on us. Obviously if she cant speak English theres not much argument but dont just use her to teach you new words and grammar. Shes not a trained teacher and probably doesnt know how to teach you Japanese anyway. Just act natural, let it flow and dont get too hung up about what language you speak. You never know she may be thinking the same and think she should start learning english and speaking some with you. Dont treat her as a japanese teacher but just as a person who doesnt happen to speak English, and you will last longer.

                            Not exactly sure what regular couples use, but to my way of thinking, english or Japanese is just a vehicle, not an end in itself. think about about what you talk about with your girlfriends back home and what your common interests are. Obviously at this stage its getting to know you stage, so its things like her job, interests, taste in music, favorite sport, what restaurants she likes, what she does on weekends her family. pretty run of the mill stuff. This leads into all sorts of other functional language such as likes and dislikes, expressing approval or disapproval, asking personal questions, making invitations, suggestions etc (why dont we.....?)
                            I could probably recommend the nihongo Journal which you can buy at Maruzen etc. comes with tapes and CDs and has drills from beginner to advanced.

                            I might also add that you may not wnat to become fluent in Kanji, but i think the more you study the language you understand how they tick, where they are coming from and how they see the world, especially foreigners. Up to now you have seen them through the prism of your language school, your students, not as regular PEOPLE. Students behave and think differently when they take an english lesson, and sometimes they become like someone else, or put on an act.

                            With your girlfriend you will see the real her, an ordinary Japanese, not a student, not an english groupie, and you will know something about whats going through her head when you speak and understand her language.

                            Just a few ideas for you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Language Difficulties 2: The Date

                              Wow, thank you very much! That is a huge help. I live in a relatively small town in Kanagawa (though only about an hour from Tokyo), so I really don`t see any other foreigners; I guess that may be a plus in this situation, as I don`t get to speak English outside of work (and thus don`t really get to SPEAK, as yet!).

                              You were right, she really does want to make an effort to learn some English as well. So it`s not entirely one-way. And I definately understand that seeing her as a Japanese teacher wouldn`t be very good. Besides, I haven`t fallen in love with Japan or it`s language, I`ve fallen in love with her. So anything I can do to make this process go smoother I will.

                              Anyway, thanks for all your help. がんばるよ!

                              James

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