Sunday, November 24, 2013

Japanese Langauge

Wow, where to start. I guess learning anything new takes time, but learning Japanese is going to take us a lifetime. To begin there are three different alphabets that we have to learn. The first is called the hiragana. In Japanese there is a letter for every sound, unlike English where some letters make more than one sound. Actually it's a consonant vowel combination. For foreign words, such as our names, there is an alphabet called the katana that is used. 

Below is Samuel's name:

Ku ku,  Sa mu e ru   Pi li po

They take the sounds they normally use from the hiragana but use the katakana to write them. So when we see the katakana we know it's a foreign word. The third alphabet is kanji. I'm not sure it really qualifies as an alphabet, because it's characters used to describe a thought, idea or picture. However, sometimes a kanji can be just one word. 

Below is the chart of hiragana and katakana from our textbook that we study. We learn the sounds using the romaji.

Romaji uses the Roman letters, it helps us learn the sound that goes with each hiragana or katakana. As you can see the Japanese letters can be difficult for us at first to know and read. When we tell some of our Japanese friends that we can't read Japanese they are confused. We tell them that we haven't seen many of the Japanese letters or studied Japanese until we came to Japan. They are given the option to study Korean, Chinese, and English in school, we tell them our options are usually Spanish, German, French, or Latin. In Japan, many business names or buildings have English as well as the Japanese. So the people here are used to seeing some English words and letters. They can pronounce them mostly and read them even if they don't know what they mean. We on the other hand, couldn't read anything at first and we knew what nothing meant. Now that we have been here a year our ears are becoming tuned to the sounds of the Japanese language. When we see words in the hiragana we can read most, but just don't know what they mean because our vocabulary is still very limited. We have focused our efforts on learning the hiragana, and basic conversational phrases. 

We study the letters in rows. Below is a picture of the vowel row and the 'ka' row.

Also a picture of some of the conversational phrases we have learned. 

We have a few tools like the pictures below to help us study. We also have various applications and games on our phones that help us learn and study as well.

We took a break from Japanese classes when we had Samuel and intended to begin them again after we got used to being a family of three. Then when I got sick we decided to wait until I was better. We decided to wait until our August break was over to begin again and are studying as much as our schedules allow right now. We would appreciate your prayers as we make time to study and as we are currently working on Japanese conversation. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Recent Happenings in Photos

Please don't think we have forgotten about updating our blog. With me teaching at the Pre-School 2 full days a week and an even busier schedule for us, we just haven't had the time to update as often as we would like to. We have a few old blogs posts ready to go but this post will show pictures from mid-September until now. Soon we will add a few more posts. But for now we hope you enjoy the photos!!

Saturday, September 21: International Cafe Mexican Theme

This little girl kept coming over to see Samuel during the breaks.
David spoke and presented the Gospel while Tony Haug translated.

Many Japanese in attendance had never seen a piñata. 

Mr. Shimoda had perfect Japanese form.

However, it was one of the parents of my Pre-School student's who broke the piñata and all of the candy came out!!

It was fun to watch the children run over and gather up the candy.

At the end of September we went down to the boardwalk for lunch and a walk around.

The Kanmon Strait and bridge is behind me. 

It's very beautiful here in Shimonoseki and you can see more of the bridge.

Riding the new Ferris Wheel!!

September 30, Stephanie's Birthday!!

Lunch at a local place called 'Jolly Pasta' the thin-crust pizza is really good and more American style than any other restaurant we'd been to in Shimonoseki!!!

David took me to a bakery place and I chose a few yummy pieces of cake for us. 

Birthday flowers.

David sang happy birthday!!

Marcia Haug watched Samuel for a few hours while we got to go for a drive, supper, and walk on the beach at sunset!!

Not on my birthday, but enjoying a birthday supper and yummy American style brownie sundae dessert.
October 7, 2013-Samuel is 8 months old.

Cruising around the mall in this awesome stroller!!
 We were invited to Baiko University by some friends who attend the university to see a Japanese dance.

Watching the dancing!!

All of the shoes left at the entrance. All homes and many places of business require you to take your shoes off when entering. The gym where we watched the dancing was no different. 

Samuel crawling in-between everything!!

David and Samuel attended the sports day for some of his students.

On a walk through the surrounding neighborhoods:

A shrine

Narrow streets

A really small door

Retaining wall

Retaining wall
Bed-head and sleepy face after a nap. 

Celebrating 9 months on November 7 with homemade colored soap foam!!

I don't think it tastes very good!!

New 18 month size sleeper and it just fits him. He's so long!! 

That's all for now :)