I need to do more output practice. But I’m struggling to figure out how to make myself do it? Kind of ahh… acquired Assimil to see if maybe just skipping ahead and/or only doing the Second Wave on it would be helpful, but I’m still kind of undecided. Several times I’ve thought about making myself do some sort of X posts to Twitter or Lang-8 per week thing, though I kind of suck at coming up with anything to say. It’s the worst part of my JOI sessions too, having to make up example sentences, because nothing ever comes to mind to talk about, or if it does, I can’t think of how to say it because I don’t seem to have the vocabulary.

Oh, y’know, I realized I had my inaugural dream of speaking Japanese the other day. I sort of thought it was noteworthy to myself, but kind of just realized it was because I hadn’t ever had a dream where I know I was actually speaking Japanese and not just kind of a universal translator version of my English turned into another language/vice versa. It wasn’t a lot, and it was actually sort of weird as I was speaking Japanese to a friend who really doesn’t actually know Japanese, but in the dream he did, at least on a basic level, so I said a couple things to him. Not that I remember what exactly, but I rarely remember specifics from dreams, so that’s unsurprising.

Started trying to describe/translate my thoughts to Japanese when I remember. It is mostly translation now since I default to English all the time, but I think the more I do consciously the more comes up naturally, too. It’s just that I can’t do it at work much since I’d need to know more tech/programming terms than メール and like. プログラム or コンピューター It probably doesn’t help that tech is generally English-dominated anyway, from what I know.

Tangentially, I notice I actually have the most trouble pronouncing English loan words, because I get caught in this halfway between trying to say it as I would in English and how it should be in Japanese. Has anyone else found that to be a problem? Anyone have a good way to reset your brain to not do that? I think maybe some of it is that I’m used to being around multilingual speakers, who will just use the word they’re more comfortable with in whatever language inserted into other languages, and so I catch myself half-thinking that’s what I should do (especially if I’m talking to someone who knows enough English I know they’ll understand me) rather than Japanese-ify it. But partly it’s also that I get annoyed at how much longer it takes to say コンピューターのプログラマー than it would be to say “computer programmer” which is like, milliseconds in reality, and it ends up taking longer if I pause and say it wrongish and have to fix it. It’s awkward since generally my accent is one of the things I feel most confident about– my pronunciation and intonation are good enough I often get comments about how much like a native-speaker I sound, but then I end up tripping over loan words, which to most English-speakers seemed to be easier.

Started on Step 8 in iKnow and amusingly have found that there are a significant amount of words I know in this step again so I guess it’s sort of hit-or-miss still at this point, and I haven’t really hit the wall.

Ahah, I keep thinking I need to make shorter posts because it seems like shorter ones are better for people to read, but unfortunately I’ve always leaned wordy, and they come out monsters. Sorry to anyone who actually tries to read my log?

iKnow logged me as 5 hours of study this week so far, though I think it’s probably closer to 4, since it seemed longer because I kept getting distracted and letting the lesson time out. Step 7 has quite a few words either I’ve never seen or at least don’t recall having seen, so that’s slowed me down a little too, as well as just being too tired.

My number one priority really needs to be getting proper sleep, since that’s always what ends up hindering me in everything I attempt to do (I’ve been really sluggish at work, too). Just have to remember that, because I tend to want to say “just one more ____” even though probably getting a good night’s sleep would be more beneficial than another twenty words I can hardly recall since I’m too tired.

Anyway, I’m both glad and somewhat upset that I seem to have already hit the wall in my vocabulary. I knew vocabulary was my biggest weakness, though, so it’s kind of confirmation on that score. Which in a way is good since it means I’m starting to add to it now and the more I build the easier I will find it to hold conversations and read and listen, but it’s still disappointing because I’m not even through the Core 1000, which seems a little pathetic for someone who is sort of intermediate-level otherwise and has been studying the language for years.

Sort of forgot that hardbound novels weigh more than manga, so the shipping from tenso is … fairly expensive. I mean it still works out to be significantly cheaper than if I’d tried to buy HP alone from Amazon, so it’s not that it’s a total waste or anything, but it went way over my planned budget for this month because I was a dunce who didn’t think to check the weight on the books first. Thus I’m going to take advantage of the 90 day storage limit on tenso and ship it next month instead of this month, ahah. I wasn’t in a rush to get them anyway so that’s fine.

So I was looking at my stats on iKnow… I’ve been using it off-and-on for a while, but I realized it had taken me nearly a year to complete the first two steps I’d done (3 and 4, I skipped 1 & 2 because they were just far too boring to even be used for sentence-practice) because I really hadn’t been using it like I meant to. Now I’m doing better with 5, 6, and 7, though. Looks like I started 5 in June and I’m nearly through it, and started 6 a week ago and am at 74%. Managed about 4 hours of study last week, and I’m kind of aiming for around that this week. The awkward thing is that is like the max limit of my studying, at the moment.

Usually I get a bit more in during my commute to/from work, but I haven’t really been doing Pimsleur in the car since I’ve been finishing up an audiobook. Should be done with that by the end of the week, so I can go back to Japanese in the car, which will be good. Lately I’ve been feeling my output struggling compared to my input again, which I know Pimlseur helps with to some extent as do my sessions with my tutor, though I think I also need to start doing regular journal entries on Lang-8 or at least a sentence a day on Twitter or something, if I can manage to write regularly (I don’t usually do well at doing anything regularly). I’m going to need to find some sort of replacement for Pimsleur for the drive soon, too, since I’m starting on III– I’ve tried using Japanesepod101.com before, but it’s never been as easy or pleasant to set up some sort of long-term routine with for some reason. I almost think I’d rather find some purely-Japanese podcasts if I can, but we’ll see.

I picked up a Tenso address years ago, and never really tried it, but I just ordered a bunch of books from Book Off Online today and so we’ll see how well this works? I was trying to find Ender’s Game (I always feel awkward mentioning it these days, because I am so disappointed in OSC as a person/IRL/with his recent writing, but I still really love EG as a book) in Japanese, actually, as it’s a book I’ve read so many times in English I know exactly what everything would be talking about, and I actually enjoy the story, unlike Harry Potter, which I’ve always been a little unimpressed with. But EG’s not as easy to find, it seems.

So what I did order was… Harry Potter, ahah. It was pretty cheap to get what I think was the whole set– around 2500 yen for the whole order, and including Songmaster by OSC as well. I don’t know Songmaster quite as well as I do EG, but it will be interesting to see how it translates in Japanese. And whether or not I can even read it. OSC’s writing’s not very flowery or anything, but he does tend to write on kind of complex/abstract topics so I probably won’t recognize a lot of the words. But anyway, I suppose I will update when Tenso ships my package, and I actually receive them. I’d like to find Earthsea in Japanese, too, if possible, but I guess I will try to get through HP first (and then treat myself with books I like, once I find them).

I’m on the end of CCS 6 going on 7, which means I am nearly caught up to where the @langchallenge bot thinks I am on the reading portion, and more than halfway through the set. Not really sure what I’m going to start on after that, though. Possibly just finish the graded reader set I started also. I’m like partway through a (biographical) story on a doctor in Nagasaki during WWII. Or the two bilingual books I have.

Edit to add a note for myself: Earthsea appears to be listed under ゲド戦記.

Did my first JOI lessons today that I had in a couple weeks, and the first lesson, which was the Lower Intermediate group lesson, made me feel a bit awkward and unsure of myself, but I find it’s often just a lack of vocabulary (well, and a lack of imagination for coming up with sample sentences on the spot). Though I also tend to make a lot more weird grammar mistakes in speaking like forgetting to use the proper tense that I really want to work on more. Somehow. But I suppose for now I’ll just try to continue building up my vocabulary and and doing my tutoring sessions– after this week I’m not going to do flex lessons for a while since I’m trying to cut down on costs a bit, but I’m continuing my private lessons once a week.

I’ve been doing nearly an hour a day on iKnow for the past two days, which isn’t going to last, but I’m going to milk my random devotion to it for now as long as possible. I think partly I just want to “catch up” so that where I am in lessons is actually reflective of where I am in general, so I can get a more concrete measurement of how many words I know.

Really like that iKnow lets me mark words as “mastered” now after I do a session with them now, so I don’t have to continue reviewing words like 何 which I very definitely know and even remember how to write (by hand), still, but don’t have to pour over lists beforehand to try to remove words I think fall into that category. My (hand)writing skills have diminished a lot, but I’m not too concerned about that at the moment since I figure if I don’t get around to memorizing kanji writing while learning Japanese, I definitely will when I get more into Mandarin (and I learn traditional characters in Mandarin, so most of them are the same), and meanwhile 99% of the time I only need to type them.

To be honest, I could probably mark a lot of words as ‘mastered’ that I’m not doing, because most of them I get through with zero mistakes even on “first” viewing, but I end up reluctant to do so? I don’t trust myself to have really “mastered” them sometimes, so I figure I should practice more, which might be a little ridiculous, I’m not sure. Kind of debating whether or not I ought to just mark all those I get through on first viewing as mastered, to try to move into words I really don’t know much/at all.

Sort of watched 東京物語 last night, but I only was half paying attention, so I feel like I missed a vast majority of the plot. But that’s fine, I’m thinking I’m going to watch some of these multiple times, so I’ll watch it again later. It’s always a bit interesting as a sort of… litmus test, too, to see how much more I get out of it the second or third time. (Second time I want to actually watch it, so I know what’s going on, and third time I’d like to watch it without subs.)

Yesterday didn’t get much done, but today was pretty much entirely doing laundry and studying Japanese while watching TV (or studying Japanese via watching TV). I’m almost halfway through the CCS manga, and I started rewatching the series, too, without subtitles. I sort of surprise myself with how much I catch. Kind of unsure how much is due to me just already knowing what the episodes are about and thus being able to extrapolate, but I do actually catch the phrases and individual words, and while I had the subs on for the opening theme (which happened to be printing the English instead of romaji), realized I actually could make the connection between the words and the lyrics. Usually songs and song meanings are particularly difficult for me to understand– I often need to look up lyrics in English as well to really figure out what they say, so I almost never catch what the Japanese lyrics are unless I look them up either.

Probably I ought to start working more on production in writing, though at least I’m starting up conversational lessons again this week. I think it’s partly still difficult because I find without looking up vocab to express abstract concepts, I tend not to have a lot to say about the concrete subjects I would have words for (unless someone’s actively asking me about them I guess), and I’m also just mostly non-expressive at the moment, so I draw a blank whenever I think about writing entries/something in English, let alone Japanese.

For a while I was thinking I’d evened out the disparity in where I am at in various skills more, but in reflection I haven’t that much? I guess it’s just an odd sort of frustration at not being able to sum up myself as something simple like “would be able to pass JLPT 3” even though my listening and grammatical command are probably around there, my vocabulary is trailing behind at JLPT 5-4. I wish I could figure out how to have more time for studying without compromising other things I need to get done, but I’m already sort of cramming it into most of my available off-hours and ending up somewhat frustrated that I have little time left over to simply relax and draw or write or hang out with friends. Ahwell.

Okay so I did half-start trying to get into Irish and was quite enjoying it, but the more I think on it
I just don’t actually have the time to add a second language to my routine until I’ve really achieved my goals in Japanese. I think partly I just needed a break in my intensity in Japanese, but I’ve had a couple weeks of doing little-to-nothing, not listening to Pimsleur in the car, not doing lessons with JOI, and only minimally reading (partly because I had company, but partly I was just a bit burnt out and needed a break), and I’m feeling more like I want to jump back in now.

I’m sort of just frustrated at what feels like a lack of progress (even knowing I’ve made considerable
progress since the beginning of the year!) in things like iKnow and RTK, where I’m still working through the very basic levels. It’s mostly review practice for really making the vocabulary accessible to me in speech/writing without even thinking about it, but it’s awkward in my mind that I know I am in some respects a low-intermediate level learner with my grasp on grammar, but in some ways am just a beginner due to my still limited vocabulary.

iKnow gives approximations of how long it will take you to finish each set, and it’s estimating 8-12
weeks for me to finish set 6 at the current pace I have, which would mean I wouldn’t finish Core 1000 in its entirety for another year, which is sort of ridiculous. I did meet my 30 minute goal for this week, but I wonder how realistic I would be if I tried to increase it. I’d love if I managed to get through Core 2000 by the end of December or something, but I don’t know if I’d be able to keep up that kind of pace.



The image above was created from gathering all of the significant named characters from released Marvel Studios movies as documented on the Marvel Movies wikia.

It’s pretty sad. As you can see, only 22% of the characters are women and half of them are love interests. There are over twice as many supporting characters who are men than women (and none of them function as love interests like the women do.) 84% of the characters are white.

  • 60% of the characters are white men, including all the main characters

  • 77%of the characters are men

  • 76% of the men are white

  • 81% of the characters (both genders) are white

  • All of the women are white

  • Allof the characters of color are men

  • None of the characters are women of color

Out of all the films, Thor probably does the best in introducing diverse side characters. Natalie Portman and Kat Denning’s characters pass the Bechdel test within the first five minutes, and some of the Asgardians are played by people of color including Idris Elba’s Heimdall and Tabano Asano’s Hogun. Four white women characters are introduced instead of the other films’ average of one or two. But even then, there’s no question that the main characters of the film are Thor and his brother Loki.

Marvel is working off of decades of existing properties that for years solely focused on white men and a the demographic market of white men. So it makes sense that many of the films would have an abundance of white male characters. Beyond ratios, what doesn’t make sense is that even in the comics there is also an abundance of characters of color, etc. that they are ignoring or underutilizing. There are already five completed films where the titular character is a white man, with more to come. There are no films in the works where the titular character is a person of color or a woman.

Women made up at least 40% of the audience of The Avengers, yet only one out of the six Avengers–Black Widow–was a woman. Women also made up 40% of attendees at this year’s ComicCon. Why, given the scarcity of female heroic leads in the existing Marvel films, did Marvel choose to announce the addition of several more male characters but only one new female character?

Read the full article at Racebending.com: On Marvel, Mandarin, and Marginalization

Can I ask a quastion? I just checked the racial composition of the american population for comparison and that can (if I’m reading the table correctly) be summed up as: 72% white, 16% hispanic, 12% black, 5% asian, 6% somethin else (klingon, I suppose 😛 ) -> I know this sums up to more than 100%, I don’t know why, I’m confused as it is.

So, I don’t entirely see the issue with mainly white characters as most of the population are white people. I am aware of the gender-problem, apart from the fact that as a kid I never ever cared about the gender of my heroes, and I am aware that it sucks that all people of colour are support characters.

And concerning Thor: In the traditional nordic mythology Heimdall has the name of being “the whitest/brightest of all the gods”, so following that description in terms of colour-scheme alone, idris Elba is not the obvious choice. Going with the “bright” in terms of wisdom and cleverness, he’s pretty cool 🙂 (luv’ him!)

apart from that: Explanation please? I’m interested in a discussion on the topic.

(Help, I’m opening a can of worms here XD)

I’m not going to touch the rest of it since I think feministdisney already eloquently explained why statistics shouldn’t matter, and I don’t know much about Norse mythology, but the reason the percentages don’t add up to 100% is because there are people like me who have to check multiple boxes either because they’re mixed or because they are white hispanics. Also the other 6% is probably Native Americans? Who rarely get their own box, olol. Or people like me when we’re not allowed to pick multiple options and there’s an other ticky.

Though even if statistics did matter, the breakdown for, oh say, California where a lot of TV/film media gets produced is (cited from Wikipedia):

According to 2010 US Census California’s population was 39.7% Non-Hispanic White, 6.6% Black or African American, 13.6% Asian, 1.0% American Indian, 0.4% Pacific Islander and 3.6% from two or more races. 38.1% of the total population are Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

So you’d really think they would have more Hispanics at the very least then, since they’re almost equal to the Non-Hispanic Whites in population for the area (and thus should be able to be at casting calls more often compared to where I live). But Hispanics and Latinos are even less often cast for major roles than Black or Asian from what I know, so that kind of throws that idea out.

Hm, the forum rollback ate a post, heh. Well it ate a couple posts, but it ate my last update for sure, even though I can’t remember what I said in it, so I think it doesn’t matter that much.

I keep listening to the Brave OST lately and there’s a song in (Scottish) Gaelic on it, and it keeps making me want to learn Gaelic. I’m thinking of going Irish Gaelic actually, partly just because I think it’s easier to find learning materials for it online, and it would be kind of an excuse to go back to Ireland at some point and see some of the places I missed. So I’m kind of going back and forth on it, because I have somewhat limited time, and have been trying to focus on Japanese to get up to where I think I ought to be in that, and if I add Gaelic to the mix that’s yet another “extracurricular” activity I have to balance that I technically don’t have time for (I also write code/fiction and draw in my off hours and occasionally try to have a social life). But I was poking around Bitesized Irish Gaelic last night, and even after only the first lesson feel like it’s easier to just “pick up” than Japanese ever was despite my supposed “headstart” in Japanese. And even though it’s not particularly useful to me in any way, I’ve always loved the sound/look of (any form of) Gaelic.

Thus I’m considering just doing it because language should be fun, and often Japanese (and Mandarin) is like a job I have to do because of family and less like something I just do because I simply enjoy it. I mean I do still like Japanese, and moreso now that I can start to do things like read short stories, but it’s somehow aside from the pronunciation and the initial grammar always ended up this major uphill struggle because of the vocabulary barrier and my issues with rote memorization learning, so I have pushed myself to learn it because “I want to be able to have a conversation with my grandmother” or “because I’ve already put so much effort into it I have to reach fluency or why have I bothered” and less just because when I sit down to learn Japanese I’m excited by the act of learning Japanese. Which I don’t know, maybe I will get bored if I reach harder materials in Gaelic, too, but I guess I sort of want to find out how it works when I’m learning a language that’s not quite so “backwards” to an English speaker.

As far as Japanese goes, I’d had a friend staying at my place for a couple weeks and slacked off a lot on Japanese studies, but I’m going to be trying to pick up the pace again starting this week. I’m halfway through CCS 5, starting to pause a little to look up some words I can’t make out from context instead of just saying “got the gist, let’s move on” which is both helpful and not, since once I get started looking up words I seem to have a tendency to do it too often. So I need to limit myself somehow to really just key words. Or maybe just write them in a notebook. I would do an SRS, but I’m still working through iKnow and Read the Kanji and fall behind a lot on iKnow (I’m going to try to stick to my 30 minutes a week minimum for real now), and I feel like adding a personal SRS deck at this time would just be something I’d end up feeling guilty over not really utilizing, so I haven’t wanted to bother.