lost in Tokyo diary
my stay in Japan as a student at Kudan Institute
Konnichiwa! こんにちは!(bonjour/Hello)
はじめまして!
安玉ともうします。二十さいです。私は学生です。私は中国人です。私はフランス語をはなします。
私は日本語と漢字を勉強しています。でも、漢字はむずかしいです!
私の家はベルギーにありま。今日は、天気がとてもいいです。
よろしくお願いします。
(Here's a short Japanese introduction speech, corrected by Japanese native speakers (2 mistakes), thank you so much!! (Japanese speakers, please don't laugh (>。<) )
Nobody will read this entry... Well, I nagged my parents about a new linguistic travel. After visiting Ireland, time for Japan (country of sushi). I chose my school and now I have to find a lodging and manage with other stuffs.I'm studying Japanese and I'm struggling with 漢字//kanji). 

This blog is dedicated to my travel. It is more or less inactive ATM (unless I find some interesting information to share with you) until the departure. I"ll try to keep it updated once arrived in Tôkyô and reply to comments (if possible).

Planning#1
Some questions come to my mind:
  • First of all, which city?
I'd choose 東京//Tôkyô, not only because that's the capital - a big dream for all otaku to be there - but it is the city with most gaijin & tourists, am I right?
  • Which school?
This is the main issue... I'd rather choose a school according to the price, the cheapest the better. I already know that money does not resume to airfare + school + lodging! I have to include daily needs like foods, transports, shopping (yeah, this is a daily need for girls!). Thus if I could spare money on the Japanese lessons, it'd be great for my wallet.
  • Which GuestHouse?
I've heard about 2 guesthouses: Sakura House and Oak House. I read a article on Sakura House in a magazine (Planète Japon) and the review was quite positive...
  • What about Japanese lessons?
Main issue. I'd like to have lessons in the morning and free time in the afternoon. I really don't want to study all the day because I'd like to visit places, hang out/clubbing with (future) friends. I'd like to enjoy my stay in Japan of course.

As far as my Japanese skills are concerned... well, I'm just at beginner level but already learned kana and 200 kanji. I happen to read/watch manga watch anime in Japanese (gosh I need furigana & my precious Japanese dictionary!!

Planning#2
I browse the web in order to find more info about Japanese school and lodging. Btw, here're my main goals:
  • No French speaking!! (communicating in English instead)
  • Rent a keitai, I couldn't survive without mobile phone xD
  • A guesthouse near my school would be great
  • Dye my hair in brown (I'm tired of my black hair)

Planning#3
I chose my school, yeaaaah!! This is Kudan Institute. The school will choose my lodging among their affiliated flats and guesthouses. I also ordered my passport (90€, omg) but my identity card was out-of-date so I had to ordered it (whyyy??).

I found this while browsing: Peach airline

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Peach is the first LCC to be established in Japan. Based at Kansai International Airport, Peach offers low fares and Japanese quality service for the Asian region.
Omg, even Japanese airplanes are cute xD Have you ever seen violet airplanes?? This is really lovely^^

Planning#4
My airfare + lodging + bank card are required then I'm ready for Japan!
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Challenge!!
I made a list with (not so) crazy tasks to do in Japan. I'm sure that I won't be able to complete the whole list but I'll try to finish as many as possible because I have all opportunities this summer.

Check the list at Day zero

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Megumi-sensei's lessons//メグミー先生の日本語のlessons
メグミー先生の日本語のlessons
私の先生はメグミ先生です。
メグミー先生//Megumi-sensei is my online teacher for learning Japanese. He proposes 40 beginner lessons (40€) + 20 intermediate lessons written in English with both options:
  • rômaji lessons
  • kana lessons
I chose the kana lessons of course. Each lesson focuses on one grammar point with dialogues mp3 files + lots of exercices! This is a MUST for learning grammar and written Japanese. Once I've learned a lesson and done exercices, I mail him my homework and wait for corrections ;P He always replies with detailed corrections. He's a great teacher with experience.

More info here: http://megumisan.webs.com/


Hoshi o ou kodomo/星を追う子ども (Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below)
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星を追う子ども/Hoshi o ou kodomo
Asuna lost her father and lives a lonely life listening to mysterious music coming from her father's crystal radio. One day she sets out for a journey to see a boy again. Through the adventure, she experiences a parting and finds the cruelty and the beauty of the world.
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Japan Survival GUIDE // 日本のSurvival GUIDE
 Here's my Japanese survival guide! All tips & tricks come from websites and books. I will often check this entry for sure xD

FOOD
It is not necessary to starve yourself to save money when traveling in Japan, as it is easy to find a wide selection of cheap, quality meals throughout the country. The extremely budget conscious could thrive on as little as 1500 to 2000 yen per day on food without sacrificing much variety or their health. from japan-guide.com
Ha ha, I plan to starve to death because of the cost life in Tôkyô, maybe I had to change my mind ;P (was planning to eat rice everyday xD)
Food survival for student:
  • Restaurants with set menu for around 1000円 during the lunch hours
  • 弁当 // bento (box) for around 500円 or less
  • コンビニエンスストア aka コンビニ // Convenient store open 24/a day
  • Supermarket
Note that many supermarkets begin to mark down their unsold lunch items around 14:00 and their other prepared foods from around 19:00. Discounts start off at a modest 10 to 20 percent, but progressively increase until closing and may end up as high as 50 to 70 percent. Many supermarkets also discount fruits and vegetables that are either blemished, overripe or otherwise not fit for sale at full price.
BEING POLITE

I must learn etiquette otherwise... you know xD

Chopsticks (taken from japan-guide.com)
  • Hold your chopsticks towards their end, not in the middle or the front third.
  • Do not stick chopsticks into your food
  • Do not point with your chopsticks.
  • If you have already eaten with your chopsticks, use the opposite end to take food from a shared plate.
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Learning 漢字 // kanji: methods
  One of the most difficult goal to achieve in Japanese learning is 漢字. Here're my methods for learning 漢字...

200万人の漢検 (Nintendo DS)
IMO, Nintendo DS games are great tools for learning kanji: you can use them anywhere! No need to bring a big book with you when you can store tons of kanji in your pocket ;P I really wanted to be able to review kanji outside. I only own one game ATM but I'd like to buy other games such as  陰山英男先生 // kageyama hideo sensei, japanese dictionary,...

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200万人の漢検 is a Japanese kanji soft for Nintendo DS. Excercises include drills to improve your writing ability, testing your ability to pronunciation, and testing your ability to count a characters strokes. English instruction is not provided so it is recommended for intermediate Japanese langauge learns, but even beginners should enjoy it if you enjoy challenges and are prepared for a bit of trail and error and experimenting.
This Nintendo game is really nice! You have to know your kana (hiragana + katakana) if you want to play this game. I really enjoy the race again time mini-games.

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Speedanki.com
Speedanki is a free online flash card system for memorizing the kanji compounds necessary to pass all levels of the Japanese Language
This free website application is one of my favorite! Why? Because you can organize your kanji and vocabulary words: unread, read, familiar, mastered & review.

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Kanji Alive

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Kanji alive is a free, web-based tool to help beginning and intermediate level Japanese language learners to read and write kanji. It is cross-platform and will run in any browser that supports Adobe Flash and Apple Quicktime.
Sometimes I feel like I don't want to open a kanji book/dictionnary and prefer using technology.

Flashcards, used with mobile phone, mp3 player,...

I like downloading free flashcard and uploading them to my mp3 player. You may use serious or cute flashcards, as you wish^^ Flashcards websites:
 


日本語オ

Great application (I think there's a iPhone version) with quizzes dedicated to kanji. Plus the design is super cute <3
 
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