Summer Reading: Enjoying books with the AC on!

Lately I’ve taken up some good advice on reading. The advice is to read more and read at your level. I’ve started doing this, and it’s been very rewarding. Off and on I’ve had spurts of extensive reading in Japanese, and each time, I’ve greatly improved my reading and understanding abilities. But I still have a long way to go. I must read more. It must be extensive!

Last year it took me a few months to read through ‘Sayonara Aruma’. It was a few hundred pages long. I was super happy to finish the book. It was great, but I read it off and on all while starting a new job.

But this August, I went down to the bookstore and bought myself the book ‘Hontou no sora iro’ or ‘The Real Sky color.’ It’s fantastic story by Béla Balázs. This one is about 150 pages long.

The short novel takes place in Hungary. A boy makes paint from magical flowers that shows the real color of the sky. But in the real sky color, real sky elements emerge. The sun shines and burns like the real sun. The thunder storms blast and the rain pours from wherever the paint is used. That’s where the story takes an exciting turn!

Now I’m reading a more modern Japanese Children’s novel called “Ame Furu Honya” (雨ふる本屋) or, “The Raining Bookshop.” By Hinata Rieko. (日当理恵子)

I’ll write more on it when I have read a good chunk. Back to reading! 😀

雨ふる本屋

Reading to achieve fluency.

Reading and reading alone is enough to achieve fluency in a language if you’re living in the environment. But when you read, you must do two things. You must understand what you read. And you must read a lot.

I just read up on this case study about a man who read for at least an hour a day for about 6 months and significantly improved his TOEIC score.  He had a 220 point gain. If you don’t know much about the TOEIC test. That’s actually very significant.

As for myself, I have been reading off and on in small spurts. It’s really just pleasure reading with the added benefit of acquiring Japanese.

Right now, I’m at the last chapter of my first chapter book in Japanese. It’s called “Sayonara Aruma.” It’s about a young boy and his sister who raise a dog to train for the war. Their father is a away at war while the children help their mother and raise the dog.

I’ve read a lot and I’ve learned a lot so far. I’ve also gotten tangled up in some sports mangas too. I normally think that sports channels and sports are generally boring to watch (fun to play, of course.) But I really love these sports manga. It’s so much more interesting with a story attached. Sports Manga and Japanese Chapter Book

So, I’m going to have to track my reading here.

I’ll track tonight’s reading later. I usually get very good results when I track myself.

-Zach

More Awesome books for extensive reading! 韓国に見つけた日本語多読の本だ!

이책은 일본어 많이 읽이의에서 대박!

日本語の多読の本を見つけて買った!

Japanese Extensive Reading books

I found an awesome set of books for extensive reading And guess what? You can use it for Korean extensive reading too! It has graded levels, and It has both the Japanese and Korean.

I found these little guys at the book store next to the other English graded readers. These readers are for beginners (초급) which is perfect. Remember extensive reading works great reading below your level. At your level and a little bit above get a little harder, of course.

Best of all they come with CD’s so I can also listen.

If you’re in Korea, search around in the language department next to the other graded readers. There are also intermediate and advanced levels too!

Extensive Reading Japanese Extensive Reading Japanese Extensive Reading Japanese Extensive Reading Japanese Extensive Reading Japanese Extensive Reading Japanese

多読のコンテストは終わった!The Extensive Reading Contest is Over!

Phew…

I had a goal of 1000 pages of Japanese and Korean!! What happened? I only made it to 610 this month. That’s like getting an F. I failed!

7月の多読コンテストの統計

What has my life come to?

But on the other hand, I think I read more pages of Korean and Japanese than I have in my entire life!

Doing this contest has showed me just how much I don’t know, and how much practice and training it takes to get to a functional, fluent and proficient level of Japanese. I’m gonna call that “FFP.” That’s right I’m coining terms. Deal with it.

The contest also helped me realize how little reading/studying I’ve been doing and I shouldn’t complain that I’m not getting huge results. In fact, I’m surprised I know any Japanese at all. I’m surprised I know any Korean too.

So perhaps I have to pick now. Which one do Improve? I still have mixed feelings about this. But ultimately Japanese will win just because my level in Japanese is much higher than my Korean. Also, I have premium learning materials for Japanese. So many extensive reading materials, and lots of Japanese books.

That’s not to say I will kill my Korean learning all together. I have lots of manga in Korean and a few Anime DVD’s dubbed into Korean. This interests me like crazy. It’s so cool to see the differences in the Korean and the Japanese. Although the languages are very different culturally and politically, there are many technical similarities between the words and grammar.

Example?

to arrive

到着する touchaku suru
도착하다 dochak hada

Of course it’s mostly because of the Chinese roots. If I’m not mistaken 到达 (dàodá) has the same meaning?

So what was I proud of reading?

Well, you know my leve is quite low, so I didn’t read anything too impressive. But the one book I did enjoy was almost 100 pages long! 多読のための本「はらべこ王さまふとりすぎ」

This one is about a fat little king who is put on a diet. It’s pretty cool. I learned a lot of words I feel I should have known. But honestly I suck at food names even in Korean… And I think I forgot them already.

It’s a shame because food is so important in Japanese and Korean culture. Yeah, like whatever. Now I want to eat some bananas…

So that book was my proudest moment. My least proud? Well… I don’t feel terrible about not reading this, because the book is quite above my level of Japanese. I had to use the dictionary a lot which takes FOREVER to read with. Never the less, I bought a bunch of this manga series at Bookoff when I went to Tokyo in May.

屍鬼 1

It’s called 屍鬼 (shiki) which kinda means “Corpse Demon.” Zombie? Anyways It looked really cool, so I bought it. They were having a sale, so I bought 8 volumes for 800 yen! (About 8 USD)

It’s a Jump comic, so I don’t have to fight my way through Kanji that I don’t know. In other words It’s much easier to use a dictionary than with a comic without furigana.

What am I reading now? Yesterday I started to read a manga that I picked up at the Skytree. Jeeze I miss Tokyo. I would sell my soul to work in Tokyo as a salaryman. But… obviously I haven’t done that yet. Hence my half-baked Japanese. 😛

Anyways, the manga is called マンガ:東京スカイツリーのすべて (Manga: Everything about the Tokyo SkyTree.)

マンガ東京スカイツリーのすべて

I really like this one. It’s simple to understand, even though there’s a lot of technical words that I have to look up. All of these words are functional. It’s all about the Skytree. The second chapter was explaining about the height of the Skytree. And even though the whole structure is 634 meters high, the actual tower (not including the antenna and stuff) is actually 470.97 meters high. There are also cute little comical moments in the manga. So it’s not boring or dry.

So what am I doing for Tracking?

Now I’m keeping a manual record of pages of Japanese read and how many meters I’ve ran. I might expand it to how many anki cards I’ve reviewed, cuz I haven’t been keeping up with that. Even though they are extremely easy.

I haven’t made out an exact plan for my Japanese study for this month yet. Well… might as well do that now.

Japanese Extensive Reading 日本語の多読: 孟姜女

孟姜女

Today I read this short story called 孟姜女. It’s a famous Chinese story.

It’s another tragic love story.

I won’t go into too many details. This again is at JGR level 4.

There were only 10 pages of reading for the story, but It was a good read.

Japanese Extensive Reading 日本語の多読: 梁山泊と祝英台

Today I read many pages in both Korean and Japanese. But I want to read more.

It’s the 21st, and I need to read about 600 more pages if I’m going to reach my goal for the Read More Or Die Tadoku contest. My goal is 1000 pages.

Anyways, I read this book:

梁山泊と祝英台 Japanese Graded Reader

This is story is about a beautiful girl in China who dresses up as a boy to attend school and ends up falling in love. It’s a classic.

The book has about 28 pages of reading. It’s a JGR Level 4 book. I bought many level 4 books in Japan, and I can’t wait to read them all.

It does take me a while to read because I get so distracted sometimes. But in the end I just gotta keep on reading. I’m getting faster and faster.

NHK News Web Easy site

So, I read through an article on NHK News Web Easy site.

This site is super awesome!

It has furigana and simplified Japanese for foreigners who are learning Japanese. It’s much better than the news for kids website because I can read it extensively without the use of a dictionary.

After reading and article, I listened to the newscast and I found that I could understand it quite easily.

Also there is a link to the real article on the NHK News Web site.

NHK News Web Easy site