Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Shopping at JP Books!

Hello again! I'm back from my holiday! It's horrible coming back from a sunny holiday to the cold and dreariness of London boooo...but it's nice to be home! Okay so this blog post will be about something I never thought I'd progress in at all: studying Japanese. Now I made a post around this time two years ago about it being a goal of mine and, as you will find out in a few moments, it didn't work out so well! (´Д`。) But for some reason, in the last couple of months I have somehow persevered enough to see an improvement...however I am still a beginner so don't expect me to show off anything I've learnt in this post haha!

How it all started

I first contemplated studying Japanese (properly) around 4 years ago. I felt confident I could do it. Everyone else was, so I would too! I diligently downloaded one of the language apps on my iPod (didn't have a smartphone to download apps lol) and learnt all hiragana in a week. Then I promptly forgot about it and went about my life. Two years after that I decided that I would start studying again, and this time I would not give up! (I actually made it a New Years resolution for 2013 to start studying again.) I downloaded language apps on my iPhone, asked friends for study book recommendations and dropped £55 on 6 study books so that I could start learning hiragana and katakana. I was so excited about it and managed to get halfway through the first book guessed it, I lost motivation and gave up again. Fast forward to November just gone, and my friend's asking me how far I've gotten in my studies. Me *sheepish grin* erm...I kinda gave up?

(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻    (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻    (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻    (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻    (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

And now?

And THAT'S the story that nobody asked for of how I decided to stop being a lazy butt and start my studies again (for the third time). All because I was so embarrassed that I had made zero progress in like two years. Fortunately for me when I restarted the first book (learning hiragana) I found that I had a vague memory of what I had learned before so it wasn't too hard to learn it all again...ok it was, my memory is so bad omg ⊙︿⊙

Anyway I decided to buy a few more books to help me and I found that a great place to shop for these books is JP Books! 

(This isn't the official bag but when I went there in October they gave me my items in this bag ^^)

They're based near Piccadilly Circus, just around the corner from Japan Centre. Not only do they sell books (duh), manga and a ton of magazines but they also have stationary, dvds (including concerts), and character goods such as Rilakkuma! They have really good resources as well for those who want to study Japanese and they give a student discount! too bad I'm not a student anymore... They also have a stamp system: for every 30 stamps (1 stamp per £4 spent) you get a £10 voucher! I have 12 so far, I'm nearly halfway there lol.

So here's what I've purchased from there to help me with my studies (in some shape or form):

1: The 100 Word Exercise Book This is really meant for a teacher to use in class but I think it's still handy to have exercises that are meant to be fun or at least...different from studying straight from a textbook all the time! 

2: Read and Speak Japanese It's nice to hear day to day conversations and just get used to the accents and fluency. I guess you can find like radio stations and films and stuff to get that too lol but I find this book useful in that it covers the speaking part of learning a language. I find that I'm concentrating too much on reading and I forget that reading and speaking goes hand in hand!

3: Shirokuma Cafe This manga is about a polar bear who owns a cafe. I saw someone recommend it as a good beginners tool to translate and I'm finding it really useful! 

4: Hello Kitty x Yubisashi Guidebook It's a phrasebook that you give to other people to read so they can understand what you want to say.

I guess it's not so much for studying but it still serves it's purpose as a general phrasebook so you can learn some interesting things such what the currency looks like and it has a mini English to Japanese dictionary at the back!

Plus it has Hello Kitty in it so it gets 10/10 from me LOL!!

5: Blank Word Cards Exactly what it looks like. Basically portable flash cards lol.

Very handy, although you have to be careful not to learn the words/phrases you write down in a set order but to shuffle the cards every now and then so you can memorise them properly.

6: Visual Language Learning Cards Again, exactly what it looks like! Hiragana and Katakana portable learning cards. And they were on sale, only £1.50 lol!

So that's what I've bought so far from JP Books! As well as Zipper magazine lol

NOTE: So I know that you can find free resources and vocabulary lists so easily online but isn't it nicer to have things in book form? I dunno, that's just me. I learn better from having a physical book. I've got some apps on my ipad but I think it's nice to have books as well, it's like having a personal study library!


Something I've learned

It's really hard to do something, even if it's a really big goal, when you're not motivated. And you can lose your motivation at any time, in the planning stages, before you even start taking steps to reach your goal. It's so easy as well, just a little hint of self doubt, "there's no way I can do this!", can cause you to fail before you've even started. And that's what I used to be like....well, what I'm still like! 

There are days where I don't want to study because I feel like everyone's racing far ahead of me, they've already learned a lot of grammar and vocabulary and I can't even string a sentence together without help from a book. Learning a new language is no easy feat, although there are those who find it easier than others.

But then I think about the fact that I can recognise this word without help from a dictionary or I can read the name of a packet of sweets or that I've now completed two of my study books and that makes me happy. It makes me happy because I've made progress, no matter how small it may be. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter if someone else is doing miles better than me, because I never thought I'd make it this far in the first place! I tend to write down my accomplishments and stick them on my wall so when I wake up, before I go to sleep, when I'm just in my room I can see what I have learnt. Pride is not a completely bad thing: it's good to be proud of your accomplishments!

When you start and you make progress, no matter how small it is, you'll start feeling encouraged and work harder so you can progress even more. It just gives you a good feeling of accomplishment, and that's important! I hope this encourages even just one person to never give up on their goals! 

I will make a future post showing what other resources I use, including online and on my iPad. I really hope you found this post useful!

___φ(・ω・` )

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