It’s been a really really long time since I’ve been this obsessed with an anime series.  Last month I started watching Shingeki no Kyojin on a whim and… well, my life hasn’t been the same since.  Heh.


その日 人類は思い出した、 ヤツらに支配されていた恐怖を。 鳥籠の中に囚われていた屈辱を。
On that day, humanity remembered the terror of being ruled by them, the humiliation of being held captive in cage.

Thus started the first episode of arguably the most epic anime of 2013.

SNK is so hyped these days that even I somehow came to know about it, even though I have been totally out of loop with anime/manga since high school.  I watched it with no prior knowledge of the plot and, let me tell you, that first episode sucked me in so fast that I spent 6 straight hours watching all the episodes that had aired in one day.  I resisted reading the manga for a couple weeks before caving and spending 2 sleepless days catching up on all the chapters.  I now spend a considerable amount of my free time sobbing over fan art, watching interviews with the seiyuuswriting fan fiction, agonizing over cosplay, and listening to every rendition of “Guren no Yumiya” I can find.  This anime has one of the best OSTs I’ve ever heard, in addition to gorgeous animation and a gripping story.

In a line, the plot is about humanity fighting to survive in a world populated by strange, man-eating giants called titans (kyojin).

And it’s so good to hear Japanese again.

Honestly, I never focused my efforts enough in Japanese to progress past the beginning level.  That, and I just find Japanese very difficult.  Mad respect for my fellow language learners who are studying Japanese.

But I am starting to realize that I can recognize more and more grammar patterns and I can pick up more and more nouns/adjectives/verbs quickly.  I can recognize words that sound similar to their Korean counterparts.  Radio dramas are getting slightly easier to understand too.

When I’m watching a show and hear a string of dialogue, I can more often than not figure out the meaning of single words using the subtitles.  Then I’d jot them down and later use a dictionary to make sure I got the definitions right.

This isn’t exactly exciting news except that it occurred to me today that I remember doing this exact same thing with Korean.  I’d make vocabulary lists in the middle of watching a drama and, depending on the drama, the more specialized the vocabulary would be (i.e. a detective drama would teach me words like ‘murder’, ‘detective,’ etc.)

I don’t do this anymore with Korean (though I should) but doing this for Japanese, especially with this anime, makes me feel accomplished.  I think my listening skills have improved a lot!  It also helps that SNK has a number of memorable lines.


I will exterminate them… from this world… every single one!

One thing you miss out on if you use subtitles, is the derisive language Eren uses to talk about the titans, despite how fearsome they are.  Take the line above for example.

  • あいつら is a plural pronoun that has a very informal, almost contemptuous nuance to it.
  • VERB + てやる:  Doing a favor for someone lower than yourself; can sound insulting
  • 一匹「いっぴき」:  counter used for small animals

I think the use of 一匹 is pretty interesting, considering that the titans are gigantic.  You would think 一頭「いっとう」 would be more appropriate… but then again 一匹 is used also for demons and monsters so maybe titans fall under that category too.

There’s more vocab I picked up from SNK under the cut.  These are words that I heard repeated so many times, they just stuck.  Most of them are specific to the story, but still kinda fun to know.  If you’re at all into anime, I HIGHLY recommend this series.

Continue reading “進撃の単語”

ONE OK ROCK – アンサイズニア

A friend and I were talking about how our lives (both personal and academic) are like sine functions and we’re both approaching a local minima.  Just feeling very uninspired about a lot of things.

But I like this song.  It makes me want to get up and do things.

The real title is “Answer is Near” but “Ansaizunia” is so much cooler.  Heh.

Oh the acoustic version is lovely too, but a totally different feeling.

Taka’s voice.  SIGHHHH.  Am I the only one who affectionately thinks of them as One O’Krock?

Hope everyone’s doing well.  Ciao ciao.


So I’ve been home for a couple days now, relaxing, (though I probably shouldn’t be quite as carefree as I currently am), reading 우행시, and marathoning Death Note!

I think this is one of those animes that all fans of anime HAVE to see if they haven’t seen it already.  Scratch that.  It’s an anime that even people who are NOT fans of anime have to see if they haven’t seen it already.  I’d read the original manga too but it’s nice to listen to spoken Japanese and my sister says the anime is pretty faithful to the manga anyway.

The plot centers around a seventeen-year-old boy who finds an otherworldly notebook that gives him the ability to kill anyone whose face he knows and whose name he writes in said notebook.  Needless to say, he gets carried away.

death note meme

That meme cracks me up.

Anyway, I think I joke a lot about how my two semesters of college Japanese went in one ear and straight out the other, but surprisingly I can understand quite a bit of the dialogue in this show!  Entire conversations, even.  It’s interesting that listening and speaking was (is) always pretty challenging for me in Korean but comes much easier to me in Japanese.  (And for obvious reasons, *cough* KANJI *cough* reading and writing in Japanese is 10000000 times harder for me in Japanese than Korean.)

Now, Death Note is VERY dialogue heavy which, from a storytelling point-of-view, is off-putting at times.  There’s a lot of “telling” and not enough “showing.”  Exposition is important but too much detail at once can throw off dramatic pacing – and sometimes this show falls victim to that.  But it’s still one of the best animes I’ve seen to date!

One of the nice things about having so much dialogue is that I pay attention more to what’s being said.  And I’ve come to pick out A LOT of Japanese words that sound similar to their Korean counterparts.  Like the following:

  • 結局 (けっきょく):  결국
  • 滿足 (まんぞく):  만족
  • 延期 (えんき):  연기
  • 意味 (いみ):  의미
  • 理由 (りゆう):  이유

Most of the grammar constructions sound familiar, too, because I learned them in class.  Hearing them being used in dialogue, though, gives me more of a sense of nuance.  For example, it helped me understand when it’s more appropriate to use ~(し)てくれる vs. ~(し)てもらう.  And the fact that ~かもしれません can be shortened to ~かも.

Now I understand what my Japanese 先生 meant when she said we should try to watch at least 30 minutes of  an anime/drama everyday – you learn a lot.  I kind of regret not putting in much effort into my Japanese classes back when I was taking them!  But for now I’m okay with this passive learning process.  It’s fun! :)

Edit:  Thanks to Korean Vitamin for correcting my  lousy Japanese haha.

Reading 桜蘭高校ホスト部

Look at what I have not been reading these days.

2012-12-13 22.51.43*squeals*  桜蘭高校ホスト部 (Ouran High School Host Club) is one of my ALL-TIME favorite animes and mangas ever.  It’s cute, funny, endearing, and not to mention the art is gorgeous.  (It’s also the only anime I’ve ever watched both English-subbed and English-dubbed – and the dubbing is very impressive!)  Now shoujo manga can be pretty ridiculous but one of the charms of OHSHC is that it makes fun of its own genre and tropes and doesn’t take itself too seriously.  You have the typical shoujo setup:  a cross-dressing(or is she?) female from a working-class family enters a private academy for the Incredibly Wealthy & Snooty and gets entangled in rich-kid shenanigans – but our heroine Haruhi is far from the typical Mary Sues of shoujo-verse (lookin’ at you, Honda Tohru).  She’s sharp, resourceful, delightfully glib and her deadpan humor keeps readers laughing and rooting for her.

2012-12-13 22.53.02I’m not going to lie – reading this was (is) a very long and painful process.  I’m amazed at how much Kanji I don’t know (heh), but in turn, I’m surprised at how much I do know.  The grammar is very basic and easy to follow; I hardly need to look up anything, even with the mere year of beginning Japanese that I went through.  And the Kanji really isn’t as awful as I make it out to be.  I use the microscopic furigana over each character to get the pronunciation, and I have my Japanese dictionary app open to help with learning the meaning and stroke order.  It works!  I have a notebook that’s solely full of Kanji from this manga and I find myself getting better and better at remembering them without needing to make flashcards.  Yay.

I’m taking just over a week off for winter break (so short *sob*), but hopefully I’ll get around to studying Japanese a little more very soon.  For now, though, my days are consumed by experiments and labwork; I need to get tons of stuff done before Christmas.  Wish me luck.  Sigh.

니홍고 감바리마쇼!

Oh, this is fun.

I know I’m not the first language blogger to stumble across these videos, but I thought I’d share them anyway.  니홍고 감바리마쇼! (만화로 배우는 일본어) is a YouTube web series that aired from 2010-2011 designed to (you guessed it) help you learn Japanese through Korean.

The videos basically run like a podcast, except with cute little comics depicting the scenario around which each lesson is built.  It would have been cool if the story in each video built on the previous one like an ongoing drama, but it’s still cute that there’s a cast of recurring characters.  There’s the bumbling protagonist Park-san, his girlfriend of sorts Sayaka-san, his younger brother in the army Hyunwoo, and their smart-aleck cat Gongnyangi.  I love how the hosts actually spent time developing their characters.  Speaking of whom, the hosts, Rin and Sho, have great chemistry with each other.  I’m proud to say I can mostly understand both their banter and their explanations!

Each video is centered around one word or phrase but the full dialogue is pretty complicated stuff for a beginner.  That being said, it’s not necessary to completely understand the grammar (nor is that the point) because the hosts do a good job of summarizing each line in Korean and only emphasizing the word or phrase that is the focus of the lesson.  In the later videos, they annotate the key vocabulary words in the dialogue at the bottom of the video and provide a quiz later at the end.  Again, the emphasis is more on learning vocabulary than grammar.

These videos are adorable but I’m not really sure how much Japanese I’m learning…  I seem to be absorbing more Korean, haha.  Be sure to check out these videos if you’re learning Japanese and Korean.  Props to G9 Languages for creating another great service for language learners.  If you make it to the credits, you may catch sight of some very familiar names right at the end!