31 October, 2005

Spiritual Parents!

In my culture teachers are called "spiritual parents". Like a parent, a teacher picks-up the "new-born" soul and with patience and love nurtures it.
Some time ago when I arrived in Japan, my first interactions were with my Japanese language teachers. Like me, a group of foreigners had the same experiences. Each of us coming from a very different culture, was a "new-born" soul in Japan. Like good "spiritual parents", our teachers put up with our peculiarities and taught us how to "walk" in this new world (even though we are still very clumsy and often trip and fall)! Last week I met with one of my favorite Japanese language instructors at the bank. She was very happy to see me trying alone to communicate with a bank worker, in Japanese. Still, I was hopeless but managed to communicate (I think - if there is a problem in my account I will know I didn't)...
At a point the bank worker went to process a form and I got the chance to talk a little with my teacher. She has that amazing talent to communicate with you in Japanese without using English with the exception of an occasional katakana word when necessary. I was happy to learn that she just published a new book called "Useful Book of Verbs".

The book is targeted towards the learners of Japanese that have trouble memorizing verb conjugations and transitive and intransitive verbs (well pretty much all of us!) It lists 1,500 verbs, each labeled with its kanji, verb group, -te form, transitive/intransitive marker and an English definition. The book is small and compact (A5 size), and can be carried around easily. I already own a copy and I believe it will prove very useful in my future learning to "walk" (without falling)!

20 October, 2005


Of all my kids, my eldest son is the most challenging. Those who have met him can verify that. He can be a real pain. Some days he is so persistenly annoying that the only way to deal with him is ...not to deal with him!
Sometimes he is an angel! In those rare occations he can really amaze you with his behavior and his kindness. Last night was one of those days. He helped around the house and took care of his little brother and sister. Just before he went to bed he asked mommy:

- Mommy, was I kicking in your belly a lot?
- In fact, yes you did.
- Do you know why I was doing that?
- No, why?
- Because I wanted to meet mommy quickly!

Then he went to bed.
Raising children is maybe one of the most difficult jobs around, but moments like that worth all the trouble you go through for sure!

15 October, 2005

All look the same!

OK, here is one test for all. Can you spot the difference between Chinese, Japanese and Koreans? You think you do?

I thought I could too but I end up getting a low 7/18 score...
Go HERE and test your self, then post your results in the comments...
The test's main page is at http://www.alllooksame.com/

Update: I changed the link to point directly to the test. You don't have to go through the registration now.
Instructions: You will see 18 photos of Asian people. Choose what do you think they come from (China, Japan or Korea). At the end of the test you will see your score along with the correct answers.

02 October, 2005

Now listening 0

This is an experimental post. Under this title I will post what I'm listening. For the test I chose Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra". Use the applet to listen to the song!