My daughter and I went to “Aso” this month. Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan. It also has one of the largest calderas in the world. We can get to the Aso area in only an hour’s drive from our house. In another 30 minutes we can reach the craters of the volcano. Even though I live nearby, I rarely go to Aso. It was a warm spring day, but the mountains are still brown. There were only a few visitors. However, the mountains will turn a beautiful green in May and many tourists visit.
It’s getting warmer and warmer day by day. Now the cherry trees are in full bloom in Kumamoto. Last Saturday, my family went to see the cherry blossoms in a park which is very close to my house. People were having a picnic lunch under the trees. Children were sliding down the grassy slope, and playing on the grass with a ball or jump rope.
I wrote about a chat on the last post. Here is another story about it. One day, I had a text chat with a man. At first, we were carrying on a normal conversation, but suddenly he asked my age. I said “Don’t ask my age.” Then, he asked me again “ Are you sexy?” I replied “ I have two children.” and he said “Are you around 40? Sooo cooooool!!! Sooo seeeeexy!!!” Whoa, yuck! I answered, “Unfortunately, I’m not sexy at all.” and cut the line. On another time, as soon as I said I have two children, a man cut the line. How rude!!! There exist these kinds of guys in any world. Be careful. It seems that some guys use the language sites for a dating purpose. Some women might enjoy it though. Recently I don’t do text chat much because I feel like it is a waste of time. I prefer voice chat, but there are times where it’s hard to catch what they said. So both chats have merits and demerits.
Aside from a chat, I’ve heard of a spammer. You should be careful when you send an e-mail. Once you reply to a spammer, a bunch of mails will be sent to your mailbox. I can sometimes see the warning on websites too. Therefore I suppose those incidents actually happen.
Today, let me introduce “English Central”. I think English natives don’t need this information, but interviews or speeches of famous persons are interesting to me.
As I mentioned before, I decided to study English on Lang-8 and LingQ. Still, I keep the other accounts active to help Japanese language learners by correcting their sentences and pronunciations, answering questions and so on. Besides, I started to study Chinese on LingQ and LiveMocha.
As for Chinese, I exchange messages with a little Chinese girl these days. She lives in East China, not Beijing or Shanghai. She is very good at English. She is busy with school on weekdays, so she sends me messages on weekends. The other day we talked on Skype too. She spoke briskly and smartly. Don’t you think she is amazing? The face that a girl who is just 13 year-old can communicate overseas with people makes me realize how different times are now. I’m wondering if there are such junior high students in Japan?
Incidentally, my first text chat was with a Kurdish woman living in Turkey. It was very impressive that I was able to talk with Kurdish, who I’m not familiar with. I heard of Kurdish on the news, but I don’t know much about them. Turkey is the home of the belly dance which I am learning. So, I asked her about it, but she didn’t know. She said, “What is it?” While I was thinking how I should explain it for only about 7,8 seconds, she complained my answer was too late. What an impatient Kurdish! She said Japanese has beautiful sounds, especially the word “arigatou” which means “thank you”. I don’t understand the feeling, but it’s interesting.
Furthermore, my first voice chat was with a Bosnian man. I felt his sincerity from his voice. Since he asked me where I live, I answered “Kyushu, south Japan”. Then “Saga?”he asked. Saga is a name of small prefecture in Kyushu. How does he know such a small area??? He said “I know Saga by watchig Oshin”. “Oshin” is a famous Japanese TV drama which was broadcast in the 1980’s. I am surprised that people overseas still watch it even today. He liked Saga dialects. lol It was a shame that my voice was so echoed with time lag that I couldn’t speak a lot. I want to talk with him again, but I can’t find him.
My story will be continued. Here is LiveMocha video. Interaction on LiveMocha is very active.
As you read on the previous post, the founder of LingQ is Steve Kaufmann. He is a Canadian who speaks more than 10 languages. LingQ reflects his learning method that is focused on reading and listening. He shares his experiences and tips for learning languages on his YouTube channel. I recommend language learners watch his videos. They must be beneficial because he, a multilingual himself, proves the effectiveness of the method.
Here is one of his videos. (I uploaded his Japanese video in my Japanese blog. He speaks Japanese fluently)
I wrote about Lang-8 in the previous post. I really like LingQ as much as I like Lang-8. LingQ is a language learning site which deals with 11 Languages. The site has abundant contents that are very useful for listening and reading. It is no wonder because materials can be imported from any other page on the internet. After setting the LingQ button on a bookmark bar, you can easily import any text of interest by pressing it. It is very convenient that the meaning of your unknown word shows up by clicking the word. You can also create your own word list. Since the sound can be downloaded into mp3 player, you can listen to it anytime and anywhere. It is also possible for you to create original material by recording voices and typing texts. I want to try to create a Japanese one in the future. For example, “A conversation of married couple’s fight” would be nice because such a situation isn’t common on most teaching websites . lol If you pay some, you can talk with a native speakers on Skype or have your writing corrected. While I don’t need my writing correction thanks to Lang-8, I have speaking lessons with Americans. By chance, I found two female Americans on the LingQ news feed who live in the suburbs of Chicago where I lived. It is a lot of fun to talk with them. It is also interesting that their teaching methods are different. I wrote things about LingQ, but I still have lots of unknown matters on the site. Here is the promotion video.
Have you noticed something different with my posts recently? To tell the truth, I have published the posts after getting corrections by natives. In February, I was motivated by Yumi’s blog and decided to study English. She is a porcelain artist and studying English on the internet to fulfill her dream. It is boring for me to study English by using a textbook. I thought if there were any social websites for studying English, I might be able to continue learning. Then I searched for language learning sites. After all, I created nearly 10 accounts. Wow!
Out of them all, my most favorite is Lang-8 since it provides specialized services for writing. After submitting your journals in almost any language, some other users kindly correct them for free. (they are not always corrected though) Of course, you can also make friends, leave comments and send messages. As I wanted to do something for my English which has many grammatical mistakes, Lang-8 is just what I needed. The corrections by native speakers help me learn a lot about English grammar. Also, it’s just fun to correct foreigners’ Japanese journals. Please refer to http://lang-8.com/happyuan/correction_logs/sent I feel like I have become a teacher. lol
Surprisingly, a young Japanese man, Ki Yoyo 喜洋洋 started up this site when he was 23 back in 2007. He is amazing. The site he created helps a lot of people all over the world. Please read the article.
Incidentally, 喜羊羊 is a name of famous anime character in China. Both have the same pronunciation”xi yang yang”in Chinese. The sound seems to have a happy and hilarious image in China. Referent: http://bitex-cn.com/teaching_materials/126/show10112301.html
The next posting will be about another favorite site.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon the next year, I had the third accident at the same location as before. My car was once again hit from behind, only this time without a braking sound. The driver was an old woman. She said she was lost in thought and saw my car too late. The damaged part was the rear bumper, the same as before. Unlike the last accident, not only the bumper but the body were damaged. My car was towed to a garage.
I became very panicked. Don’t you think it is weird that this kind of accident happened repeatedly? “Is my car cursed? Since my car’s color is a less noticeable, is it hard for the seniors to recognize it? But the same colored cars are running without an accident. Why do I get in accidents so often?”
I thought I might be killed by my car. So I decided to sell it and buy a new car. I searched for a dealer that buys such damaged cars and found one. I made a deal with him via mail and the phone. It was a good deal. The trade was very easy. The car seemed to be exported abroad after being repaired. Anyway, I never thought it would come to this. I drove that car for only 3 years. Thinking positively, it was lucky I wasn’t badly injured. However, I had to go to a clinic to heal my back for a while. I was really exhausted by various anxieties, and contacts with the insurance company and the car dealers.
Then in January this year, it happened again!!! On a weekday morning, my car was pushed from behind when the traffic was slow. The driver was an old man. He said he took his eyes off the road for a moment. I wasn’t injured thanks to traffic congestion. I just had to have the bumper replaced. That was all. It was superfluous work for me. My car became the one with the history again.
What’s going on my car! Drive safely, everyone.
I got into a car accident in January. Lo and behold, I got involved in four accidents over a few years. In all cases, the accidents were 100% the other side’s fault.
The first accident happened in the spring of 2007, only one week after I bought a new car. When I was in a parking area at a gas station on Sunday morning, a car went into reverse to park and bumped into the rear bumper of my car. The driver was an old man. He said he couldn’t see my car. He was an unpleasant man. He asked for a discount on the repair charge at the garage because he didn’t want to use his insurance. But after all he failed to pay and the insurance company paid everything. I was shocked that my new car got in an accident so soon. The accident decreased the value of my car! However, there was no compensation for it. I just had a bumper replaced. That was all.
Then, on a sunny Sunday morning the next year, another accident happened! The place the accident happened was near my house. While I was waiting for a gap in traffic to turn right,(the left-handed traffic in Japan) I heard loud braking, then a car suddenly hit mine from behind. The person who caused the accident was another old man. He said it was too late to notice my car and couldn’t hit the brake. It seemed he didn’t see my car. But the weather was good and the road had good visibility. The damaged part of my car was the rear bumper, the same as the last time. It was paid for by the old man’s insurance. As for my body, I was almost OK though I went to a clinic to heal my neck several times.
So, I decided to go to a shrine so as to purify my car. A priest purified my car, especially the rear bumper, with salt. Nevertheless, he said “ This rite doesn’t mean you will never have an accident in the future. Drive safely.” As he said, the third accident happened.
To be continued.