Writing Prompt: How did you learn Japanese?

This was actually one that I just came up with myself, but I figured I’d frame this as a prompt anyways since it fits.

I know that many fans of anime mention that they are casually learning the language, so I figured I’d give my own experiences.

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A Trip to Kyoto

Here’s something that I never got around to posting about, which is a trip I took to Kyoto with a few friends over a weekend last fall.

I have 162 pictures from the trip, which only lasted a few days.

Basically, we left on the Friday evening right after work and arrived in Kyoto at around 1am. Spent all of Saturday and Sunday morning sightseeing before undertaking the ~7 hour drive back to Nagano.

The entire weekend was gone, but the memories will remain forever.

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Chuunibyou in the Wild

After living and teaching English to middle schoolers in Japan for two years, I’ve just realized that I haven’t written anything about something that, according to anime, should’ve been fairly common!

And that’s “chuunibyou” (chuuni), known in English as “middle-schooler syndrome”.

While in anime we frequently see the chuuni character in high school, I interacted regularly with the junior high school students where this illness is supposed to originate, at an age where immaturity is still rampant and such behaviour is still accepted…

Naturally, I’m writing this to detail my personal observations of such an affliction, so please read on to learn just how it takes form in reality.

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Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo 2022

I’ve been taking it easy since returning to Canada, and will continue like that for a bit.

Figured I’d just share some of the nice cherry blossoms I saw during my 10 day stint in Tokyo before coming home. Luckily, I had managed to arrive just in time for full bloom, with the blossoms just starting to blow away in the wind. After about three or four days the blossoms were pretty much all done with.

As I had no plans during my initial days in Tokyo, I went out and saw what I could!

nagisa furukawa introduction
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Two Years in Japan Review

With the spring comes the end of another school term in Japan.

And with that came the decision I’d have to make about whether I’d stay on another year or not. While a part of me would love to continue on for another year, the rest of me knows that it’s time to move on.

There were many great things about living here, and the job was fun, but it’s no secret that teaching English in Japan is not a great long-term deal. So while I’d love to stay, I’d also love to go home. I haven’t seen my family in two years, and it’s about time I paid them a visit.

In a week I’ll move out from the apartment I’ve lived in for the last two years, here in a small city in Nagano Prefecture. I’ll spend a little over a week in Tokyo (giving me the opportunity to see all of the cherry blossoms there for the third year in a row) before leaving Japan.

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An Observation on School Clubs in Japan

One thing that I think is fairly apparent, at least through anime, is that school clubs seem like a bigger deal in Japan. And from what I’ve seen, they are. Which also makes sense because anime has to based on some semblance of reality, right?

Well, I don’t have too much to say on this topic, but figured I’d write about one point that I feel like is pretty important when it comes to the popularity of clubs in Japan vs. how they are back home in Canada (and likely in the US also).

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Even More Japan Tidbits

As always, when I’m not writing about my personal experiences here, I like to try and bring up some lesser talked about tidbits about Japan. It feels like pretty much everyone mentions the same basic points like “don’t stick your chopsticks into your food” and “take off your shoes when going inside” in their “Top X Things to Not Do in Japan” videos / posts.

Not that there’s anything wrong with those posts, I mean I read a bunch of them before coming here. So you can bet that I was totally prepared when it comes to what not to do with my chopsticks around food.

But of course there are so many things that I had no idea about before coming here. Which is why I wracked my brain to scrape together some more tidbits. These aren’t Earth-shattering points, just small things that maybe aren’t as known!

I’ll share some pictures from my recent trip to a scenic road in the mountains – we could even see Fuji-san from where we were, which was cool. And high up enough we reached snow, which was also pretty surreal in a way.

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Teasing Master Takagi-san (Eps 4-6)

After all this time, I’ve gotten through to episode 6 of Teasing Master Takagi-san!

Man, Nishikata just makes this anime so difficult to watch. He’s just obtuse to levels I feel like shouldn’t be possible, and his pettiness knows no bounds. The only thing going for him is his ability to get over his constant defeats without too much issue.

Anyways, like last time I’ll try to throw in a little commentary here regarding Japan based on what I saw in these three episodes. And like last time, I watched these with no subtitles, only using my dictionary every once in a while.

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Some More Unexpected Aspects of Living in Japan

I’ve been living here in rural Nagano Prefecture for the last year and a half, so I have to say that I feel like I’ve adapted to quite a bit since I first came to Japan.

When I first arrived to Japan, in Tokyo, just the streets, cars, buildings, etc. were foreign enough to make me want to take pictures of basically everything I laid my eyes on. I’ve definitely gotten past that, at least. The mountains here still catch my eyes all the time though, so I’m glad to say that I haven’t gotten over them.

Like some of my other posts, here are some more things that I didn’t know I’d have to deal with when I moved to Japan.

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