Tag Archives: writing

Life in Japan: Learning Kanji

After 10 years in Japan, you’d think I’d know the 2000 main kanji, right? Well, I only know about a quarter of that. But is it really important to know kanji in Japan? How has knowing only 500 kanji affected me? Here’s my answer.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

There are three writing systems in Japan: hiragana (ひらがな), which is the main phonetic set of characters; katakana (カタカナ), which is the phonetic characters used mainly for foreign words; kanji (漢字), which is used throughout Japanese, and is taken from Chinese. It’s this last one that gives a lot of people trouble. It’s extremely important to know how to at least read kanji to be able to read a newspaper or book in Japanese.  This week’s question comes from Ellen Hawley.

I had friends who lived in Japan, and even after years reading Japanese (not the phonetic alphabets but the characters) remained a problem. Have you been able to learn enough to manage well? If not, how does that affect you?

Chinese_characters_logoI’ll begin by saying that I love kanji. It’s fascinating to me, but the biggest problem with it is that I often forget how to write them. But that’s…

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Japan Photo Blogs

When I started this blog in 2009, I intended it to be a way to save my photos online.  I haven’t even done 10% of my photos, and I haven’t been very active recently on this blog.  I have, however, been very active on a couple other photo blogs.  I’ve mentioned them before, but I’d like to mention them again.

On Mainichi Dokodemo Photography, I post photos that I take wherever I am, and usually once a day.  I may do more, or I may miss a day once in a while, but I fairly consistently post a photo every day.  Recently are photos from the coast of Kamakura with some amazing views of Enoshima.  I highly recommend you follow that blog.

On 365 Rotations, I’m conducting an experiment where I take a photo from 3 locations every day and post them.  I also do a weekly photo from 6 other locations.  Now, this is a limited time project, where I’m only posting photos for 1 year.  I’m 2 months away from finishing, but when I finish, I will compile all the photos into galleries, and hopefully as time lapse videos so you can see how each view changes over the year.  I started it in February this year, and then got to see the cherry trees bloom, everything turn green, and now all the leaves are changing colour.  What I’m hoping for this winter are some snow pictures.  But check it out and follow!

As for this blog, I have gotten back into doing Japan by Train, and I will return to doing the Exploring Japan series.  Things have become quite hectic for me, and I’ve been focusing on my book recently.  Please check out I Read Encylopedias for Fun, my main writing blog.  I have been posting there every day this month, and I plan to continue posting up to 7 days a week (or at least 5 days a week) from now on.

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Exploring Japan not on Hiatus

This is just a quick note to those of you who are wondering where Niigata is.  It’s coming.  I’m not on hiatus.  I’ve just been busy in some other areas recently, and it will be coming along.  I’ve decided not to focus on a weekly deadline for this, as sometimes I do get busy.  I have some other blogs that I’m currently working on, especially I Read Encyclopedias for Fun, which I recommend you follow if you like books, and I’m also working on my own book, so go follow my official author page here.

In addition to the Exploring Japan posts, I want to get back to doing more photo posts.  That’s why I started this blog, for my photos.  I need to get back to my roots.  That will all be coming soon.

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The World Spa & Travel Magazine Blog

I’ve got myself a little official writing thing going on!  I am writing for the World Spa & Travel Magazine‘s travel blog, focusing on the area I live in.  It’s a weekly post that I do, and it won’t take away from my regular posting here.

So far, I’ve written two posts, one about the three most popular beaches in the Shonan area, and the other about festivals in Japan, focusing on the Kamakura Festival, Hiratsuka Tanabata, and the much smaller Warabi Festival.

So, I suggest you go and check out the blog and keep watching for my posts.

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An official website for me!

That’s right, everyone.  I’ve done it.  I’ve gone and made a website/blog dedicated to me!  No, actually, it’s a website dedicated to my writing.  It’s important to keep all that information in one place, so I made the website today.  It doesn’t have much yet, but it outlines the books and short stories I plan to publish independently in the future.  So, please go on over and check it out!

Any comments or questions?  Please leave them here.

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Yet another new blog

This idea has been in my mind for a while now.  I’ve wanted a blog I could write about my thoughts and opinions freely.  My current blogs are specialised, Japan photos and experiences, and being a foreign parent in Japan.  My new blog is about reading, writing and anything else I can think of.  I’m no longer restricted by a theme.  This Japan blog will be my main blog, though.  It’s my big project.  My Dad blog is more personal and smaller in scope.  But the new blog is about books, odds and ends.  Go take a look at I Read Encyclopedias for Fun.  Only one post at the moment, but it’ll grow.

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Can bloggers be authors?

Recently, a well known Japan blogger self-published a book.  You’ve probably heard of him if you pay attention to expat bloggers in Japan.  His blog is Loco in Yokohama, and his name is Baye McNeil (more commonly known as Loco to his readers).  I’ve been a reader of his blog for more than 2 years now, and I’ve always found his writing very engaging.  He tells it like it is, no sugar-coating, and is very honest with his opinions about living in Japan.  His blog posts are sometimes controversial, but very thought-provoking.  But what separates him from most bloggers is his ability to tell stories through his blog.  He is a writer.  That’s the impression I get from his blog.  I highly recommend that you read it!

Now, he’s published his first book, “Hi!  My Name is Loco and I am a Racist” at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  It’s an e-book for now, but a print versi0n will be available.  The title stands out, doesn’t it?  I haven’t bought it yet, as I’m waiting for the print version (I wonder if I could make it to his book signing), but if his book is written as well as his blog, it’s definitely a must read!

The whole thought of publishing has been in my mind for years.  Ever since I was in university, I’ve wanted to write a book.  I’m interested mostly in fiction, but I have been considering writing about my experiences in Japan, focusing on the stereotypes and misconceptions of Japan, while comparing its culture to that of North America.  Loco went with self-publishing, which is incredibly easy to do these days.  For example, Amazon supports self-publishers, and there’s pretty much no expense to the author, other than a small cut of the price of the book.  A popular self-publisher can potentially earn far more than an author who goes through a traditional publisher.  It’s very appealing.  The problem with self-publishing, however, is getting word out about the book.  You have to do all of the advertising yourself.  But with a good network of people online, word can spread quickly.

I’m the kind of person who loves paper books.  I’d love to see any book I publish in print.  However, with the increasing popularity of e-books and the diminishing importance of books in print, bookstores and traditional publishers, it seems that e-books are the way to go in the future.  It’s a strange feeling, though.  I’ve never actually bought an e-book, though I do read some public domain classics on my iPhone.  But one of these days, I’m going to have to get Kindle and buy e-books.  My book closet (yes, a closet) is overflowing with books.  E-books take up no space and are easily portable.  Big advantage, isn’t it?  But I like to hold the book and not worry about the battery dying.

So, yes, I am planning to publish a book sometime in the next 2 or 3 years.  I have an entire story in my head just waiting to be put into words.  It’s been in my head for 13 years, but I never got around to writing it.  I have a lot of planning work done on paper, some of it written back when I was in university.  Soon, the time will come for me to start the book itself.

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