April was gray and April was pink.
April was gray and April was pink.
Sigh. Was the last time I blogged really 2 months ago? Real life (and work) will do that to you, I suppose. I’ve actually taken quite a few photos over the past 8 weeks, but have been sitting on them since I haven’t had time to process them. But what time better to start than the present? A few weeks ago the lovely Satomi and I decided to get out of the city for a bit and headed over to Oyama-san in neighboring Kanagawa prefecture for some mountain air and a bit of autumn leaf peeping.
Originally I was going to climb a mountainand get some nature, but I’ve had the striking misfortune of being sick all week (this is actually the second time I’ve been sick in less than a month, wtf?!) so I figured that probably wasn’t the wisest idea in the world. And with the temperatures being what they were, I wasn’t sure venturing somewhere outside of Tokyo would be a good idea either, so instead I opted to stop by the Nishi-Roku Tire Park in Kamata.
The actual place itself is obviously not on any maps; even the road which were described as being markers by which to orient yourself had long ago been subsumed into the ground, buried in a landslide after an earthquake decades ago, and replaced by a new, similarly-named road which ran in a different, misleading direction. As a result, it took us a while to actually find the place, involving a lot of driving back and forth through a narrow cliffside highway, and even a brief trepidatious detour down what was seriously the scariest tunnel I have ever been in in my entire life – pitch black, barred with fencing on one end, broken glass and debris everywhere, water (or something) dripping from the ceilings, a cave-in on the other side with only a single wavering shaft of thin fading light illuminating the end…. we half expected zombies or crazed murderers to come flying out of there at any point!
Some photos from a day trip to Kamakura with the lovely Starbucks Girl last year in the autumn. It was perfect weather to visit Kamakura and despite the swelling crowds, we had a really wonderful day.
Stop right now. Listen to me. The kanji section on the JLPT I is hard. Do not sleep on this ish. To paraphrase Ice Cube: “You better check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.” You’re gonna need to study pretty intensely if you want to pass the kanji section of the JLPT I, my friends, so leave yourself plenty of time. So how to study? If you’re here looking for nifty tricks like mnemonic devices or fancy illustrations ostensibly derived from kanji radicals to help you, then I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. There are only two main ways in which I’ve studied kanji: by reading them in context (in novels, newspapers, during the course of daily life or else at work) and also by brute force baby (break out a piece of paper and start writing them beasts out over and over and over (and over) again). I used both ways when studying for the JLPT I kanji section, so that’s what I’ll talk about. If you want to use pretty pictures or mnemonics you’re welcome to, but I don’t have any particular advice for you.
So if the object is not 100% listening and comprehension accuracy, then what is the goal? The answer is simple: your goal is to comprehend just enough to answer the question in front of you correctly. In order to do this, you need to be familiar with the general structure of spoken Japanese, be able to grasp the context of a conversation/situation, have a sufficiently deep vocabulary to enable literal comprehension to occur and most of all, be able to “keep up” with the pace of Japanese as spoken by native speakers.
A while back the lovely Okapi and I ran across some pretty awesome looking Tokyo apartments on the internet. And it being delightful autumn weather recently, we decided last weekend we ought to make the journey out west of Shinjuku to take a look.
Our photowalk took us through what used to be the old Sanya neighborhood in Tokyo, over towards Asakusa and the location of the new Tokyo Sky Tree. It’s about as urban as things get in Tokyo, with lots of wonderfully textured concrete, steel, power cables, shuttered buildings and what not, and the fact that we could see the Sky Tree poking up intermittently through the clouds and gaps in the stormy skyline (as if some foreboding Tower of Mordor or whatever) (I may have screwed that name up, but I’m talking about the bad guy’s tower in The Lord of the Rings) only made it that much better.
Long, long delayed, here then is part II in my Studying for the JLPT 1