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astridv: (Default)
Friday, January 6th, 2017 12:22 pm
My new year's resolution is to read at least 1000 kanji by the end of the year, and to that purpose I've joined wanikani.com. A few friends have been using their system to drill kanji and the results are rad.

Couple years ago I signed up for N3 of the JLPT to motivate myself to study kanji and vocab, and it did work in that I got just enough of the material stuffed in my short term memory to pass... but most of that fell out of my head right after, so I decided it's pointless to study for tests I don't even need. Wanikani otoh is studying for studying's sake... it's a bit like a computer game, with levels you can reach, and I can do it from my mobile so it seems like a more productive use of my bus rides than just playing Candy Crush.

The beginning is excruciatingly slow especially if you already know some Japanese, but I was assured that soon enough you get more lessons and quizzes than you can handle in a day. I've already unlocked the first kanji. :) Their system of spaced learning looks very sound.
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astridv: (coffeepot hawk)
Friday, January 22nd, 2016 09:10 pm
I just finished meeting with my new Japanese tandem partner and I’m exhausted. She as well. That must mean we did it right. ;) We studied for three hours straight. It was really fun and productive but wow, I'm so wiped. She's only been learning German since October or so, but it's amazing how much she already knows. Shame she’s only gonna stay for a couple more months. Gotta make the best of it.

Next week we're making okonomiyaki. :o)
astridv: (Default)
Thursday, September 15th, 2011 10:53 am
Just got the results from the Japanese Proficiency test I took in July - I passed N3 \o/

My score is *koffmumble*... okay, about as low as I expected but heh, enough to pass. Whooot! Now I'm gonna start studying for N2. It's way, way, way above my capabilities at the moment but I have at least over a year to prepare and I really need a test looming ahead in order to sit down and study. I need a bit of pressure to motivate myself.
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Sunday, July 3rd, 2011 09:15 pm
Rec of the Day is taking a break today because I just came back from Duesseldorf, where I and a friend took the JLPT. Finally! I am SO glad it's done with. In the end there I was getting really sick of studying. It may have paid off though... I mean, it's not easy to tell whether I got the 60% I need, but it definitely went better than I expected. Time was very tight but I managed to fill out all the answers I knew (and wildly guessed the rest). We were told, like, four times that we're not allowed to talk about the test in specifics on the internet... fat chance, as if I'd even remember the actual questions. My brain, it is mush.

All in all, with the train ride and the obligatory speeches and the actual test and then the train ride back, I was out of town for 12 hours. I'm totally beat. But I'm not complaining; some people came from as far as Spain. I hadn't been aware that Duesseldorf is the only city in Western Europe where you can take the summer test. So, yay for convenience. (Heh, at one point the lady in charge asked into the room: "Spricht hier irgendjemand kein Deutsch?" (Anybody here who doesn't speak German?)... in German, mind. That was a nice little tension relief.)
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Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 10:46 am
I just woke up from a dream in which I took the Japanese proficiency test and managed to answer only a fraction of the questions before we had to turn our test papers back in. I think my subconscious is trying to tell me that I haven't studied enough. I know that, Subconscious! But I've reached the stage where for every new word I input, another one falls out. There's just no way to learn all these vocabulary words until Sunday. So I shall take my brother as a shining example and go into this test halfway prepared. Yo. This is gonna be interesting.
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Sunday, May 1st, 2011 06:54 pm
Urgh. Three weeks ago our Japanese teacher sent us all an email, saying that with all the free time during the easter holidays it's a great idea for us to do some homework. (Usually our 'homework' consists of writing two sentences, if that.) The task: watch a Japanese movie, write about the plot and what we think about it. Basically write some rudimentary meta in Japanese.

I decided to cheat a little and write about Princess Tutu, because while that's not strictly speaking a movie, at least I've already seen it not too long ago. And the assignment is due, ah, tomorrow. I gotta finish this baby today. I gotta start this baby today. I had plenty of time during these last three weeks, most free time I ever had in a row. Why didn't I start soooner? *

So, eh, I'm looking for posts on Princess Tutu (... just to refresh my memory and get some inspiration, not to copy!) I think I saw some on my friends list but I don't remember where so if anyone got a link, that'd be great.

*In my defense, at least I've been learning vocab and kanji every day. Thanks to xparrot for linking me to renshuu.org, because that site rocks. It's got self-tests for every level and really works as a study tool, I highly recommend it.
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Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 12:26 pm
Well, I signed up for the Japanese proficiency test at the last minute, just got the confirmation in the mail. N3, there's a pretty good chance I'll flunk it but I just learn better with a bit of pressure. I'm not really concerned about kanji (thank you, FMA) and grammar, but I have to seriously brush up my vocab and the listening part is very hard to gauge... I think there's gonna be some luck involved there. And, from the practise exercise we did this week, it looks like the reading part is gonna be the really tricky part.

If I took it right now I'm pretty sure I'd fail, but I got three months to cram all that stuff into my head. I thought for starters I'd follow [livejournal.com profile] xparrot's rec and watch 12 Kingdoms. I just found a good streaming link and watched the opening... looks very good so far. The art is beautiful for sure!
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Monday, April 26th, 2010 02:42 am
Only one more day to go on Project-where-the-deadline-was-last-week. Today I carried a little table into our front yard and worked outside in the sun all day. It was great. I got four pages colored and I even got to squeeze in a bit of rollerblading and watched the latest ep of FMA with the roommate. (My housemates are into the show. Can't say I saw that coming. One of them has even learned the first OP, to sing to the guitar. In Japanese.:)

I imagine the only thing that's saved my flist from a "here's why you should totally watch Brotherhood" post - complete with screencaps and embedded vids - has been my lack of time combined with the gorgeous spring weather. (You totally should, though.)
related: useful link for those learning the language: Japanese colloquial contractions. A lot of things make more sense to me now.

Okay, fic recs! I wanted to rec these stories the moment I read them:
Another Military Party by [livejournal.com profile] bookelfe (FMA)
gen with Roy/Riza subtext; characters: Mustang, Hawkeye, Olivier Armstrong, King Bradley and family; 6,302 words
Warning: major spoilers through ch83/ep45
Summary: Shockingly, certain traitorous conspirators are finding this year's Central Officer's Ball a little tense.

Roy and Riza, and the dance of political intrigue: this fic is everything I love about the show and the characters. The characterization is amazing all around, and moments of humor are balanced with tension and drama. (And seeing Roy Mustang dance the Drachmenne with Major General Armstrong... I mean, that alone would be worth the price of admission. :)

Somewhere I Have Never Travelled by [livejournal.com profile] bravenewcentury (FMA)
Roy/Hawkeye; PG; spoilers through recent manga chapters; 3,614 words
Summary: Five journeys Roy made with Hawkeye.

Snapshots of Roy and Riza through the years. This story really does their relationship justice; it's beautifully written, and the pacing is just perfect.

Soon as I finished this one I started re-reading.

Never Work with Children or Animals by [livejournal.com profile] argosy (SGA)
Rodney/Teyla and Torren; PG; humor; ~4,400
Summary: Rodney should have known better than to accompany Torren to a coming-of-age ritual.

Rodney and Torren doing the father-son (sort of) bonding thing is both hilarious and adorable.

"Torren and I always speak frankly in the lab."
"Is that so?" Sheppard sounded amused.
"Yes," Torren said. "It's a rule. Science demands absolute integrity."
Women's Revolutionary Law by [livejournal.com profile] merisunshine36 (ST)
gen; G; characters: Gaila & OFC; Rating: G
Summary: When Gaila was four, she and her clan sister escaped to freedom in the Federation. But freedom, like everything else, comes with a cost. This is their story.

Thanks to [personal profile] yvi I learned that DW now has a feature for sticky posts, which is both simpler and more elegant than the crutch one has to use on LJ. How do I make an entry sticky, so it's always at the top of my journal? (Basically you just write a standard post and then click a "make it sticky" option.)

linkage: Ryan Doyle 2009 - I like to Spin (Parkour/Freerunning)
astridv: (Default)
Sunday, March 21st, 2010 12:10 pm
I usually ship Jennifer only with Rodney or sometimes Teyla but after reading this I'm totally ready to board the HMS Cadman/Keller. This story is cute and funny. It's got Jennifer in competent! doctor mode, which I can really never get enough of. And we get to see what's going on in Laura's head (aided by yet another unfortunate incident with Ancient tech).

The Truth Will Get You Laid by [livejournal.com profile] thrace
Cadman/Keller; PG; 3,829 words
Summary: Laura Cadman ends up in the infirmary. A lot.

"Ah, scars are sexy," says Cadman, closing her eyes again. "Do your worst."
"Don't you trust my work?"
"Everyone in this city trusts your work." Jennifer's glad that Cadman can't see her ducking her head in embarrassed gratification. "I'm just saying, if I do happen to end up with a scar, I can make up as many stories as I want about how I got it in the name of national security."
"I won't leave a scar," says Jennifer firmly. "I like your face the way it is."

linkage: How it should have ended: new endings for famous movies. Cool stuff. Really well done.

I need better time management. Ever since [livejournal.com profile] friendshipper introduced me to Fullmetal Alchemist I've been short on time for reading fic and meta, because I'm finding myself actually reading and watching tv in Japanese for the fun of it and it is AWESOME because I'm making progress with the language for the first time in years. japanese & rl stuff )
astridv: (Default)
Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 11:25 pm
I signed up for another month of humor recs at [livejournal.com profile] stargateficrec, because I got way more than one set and I want to spread 'em out a bit. I still have a whole second category this month I haven't started reccing.
ficrecs:
[livejournal.com profile] busaikko wrote a terrific Sheppard/Keller/McKay story: Dulce Domum
G; 2668 words
Summary: Jennifer would be the first to admit that she'd never planned on a life that looked like this, but it worked.

A Sheppard/Keller/McKay fic without Keller bashing... thank you, Santa!
Seriously, this fic is a really wonderful depiction of an unconventional marriage, and I love the character dynamics. It's not just that the life those three chose for themselves works, it's that this is *better*, for every one of them. That they're content.

It really made me think, too... about how fanfic, be it slash or het, so often defaults to the very traditional "and then A and B lived happily ever after" and... thing is, that's not how I live, and it's not something I want for myself. There are other ways of living and some days I count my blessings that we live in a time where we have at least options. But I digress. Just, this story scratched an itch I didn't know I had.

Here's one for the Fullmetal Alchemist fans out there:
Intermission by [personal profile] bob_fish (FMA)
gen with Roy/Riza in a subtexty, really h/c way; spoilers for ch.39/ep.19; PG-13; 2032 words
Summary: It had been something of a long night.

Alright, so I was looking for post-eps for the amazing awesomeness that was ep 19 - I mean, what self-respecting fandom doesn't crank out 300 episode tags after an ep in which the hero [spoiler], [spoiler] and then [spoiler]? But indeed, they're not that easy to find, so I was all the happier when I discovered this wonderful, well-written Riza-POV set right after the episode. It feels totally in character, and has just the right amount of subtexty concern and caring to push my UST-shipper buttons. I really enjoyed reading it.

Hehe. Our teacher in Japanese class suggested that each of us should talk freely for a few minutes to start each lesson, which is a supremely good idea because we talk way too much German there. So, I was volunteered to go first and I'm seriously considering talking about Fullmetal Alchemist. *G* Was first kind of worried about going on about stuff like philosopher's stones and taboos and human transmutation, any of which I didn't know the words for myself a few weeks ago... but I figured I could write the relevant words on the board first, and I could also provide links to the raws and the scanlations, and ask for anime recs from the others. Actually sounds like fun. I mean... I just don't want to talk about the tourist attractions in Münster. ;) I could talk about Stargate Atlantis or fanfic, but manga/anime seems somewhat more target group oriented.

I bought me a new pair of Rollerblades yesterday. Tried them out right after breakfast today. I love them so much, the only thing that stopped me from taking a frikking photo and drawing lots of hearts on it and posting it here is that my camera was out of juice. They are so fast. And comfy right from the start. And did I say fast! Feel twice as fast as my old ones, which were ten years old and so far gone that even brand-new rolls didn't help any more... it was like rolling with the brakes engaged.
astridv: (Default)
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 12:54 am
I ended up with two categories at ficrec again. o.O I have a bunch of humor recs lined up I'm really excited to share. (the flist already knows them, I'm afraid; I'm mostly recycling.) But I'm also signed up for gen, and I seem to remember that I wanted to rec one specific fic, but damn if I remember which one.
Anyway, here's a fresh rec, care of ficrec:
Long Ago (And Far Away) by [livejournal.com profile] everybetty and [livejournal.com profile] kristen999
Gen; PG-15; John, Rodney, Ronon, Teyla plus supporting and OCs; AU; Words: 90,000- with over forty pictures (posted in ten chapters)
Summary: WWII-based AU. The Team as we know it has been transplanted to the South Pacific. Major John Sheppard, his navigator, Lt Rodney McKay, and his gunner, Sgt Ronon Dex, are stationed on the island of New Guinea on the eve of the island nation’s greatest battle. Native friend and sometime spy, Teyla Emmagan, aids the efforts against the Evil Axis powers.

This is a thoroughly researched historical AU that manages the balancing act of transplanting our four core characters into the pacific WWII setting while staying true to them as well as to that time period. This story feels so real, I imagined I could hear the jungle inscect buzzing around my ear. The scenes of the air battles are really gripping but the war isn't glorified, and the violence doesn't feel gratuitous, instead rather hard to read at times. I felt that the way the action/adventure plot takes place in front of the setting of the pacific war is handled very sensitively. All the voices are fantastic, but for some reason I particularly love the way Ronon is written. And there are a number of OCs who are crucial to the plot, but I don't want to spoil anything.

This story is quite long and requires a bit of spare time and it's not exactly happy escapist reading, but oh, it's so worth it!

In other news, I have read through the first two chapters of FMA in Japanese, whoooot! cut, under which I talk about the language rather than the story )