Hello, world. You're looking mighty pretty tonight! ^_~

Ballet rehearsals started last night. 30 minutes after class? HAHAHAHA. I left at 11. Contrary to last year's, this year's piece is much more typically classical, which means I can actually remember the steps; it's much easier to drill "pas-de-chat, développé écarté, tombé passe 2è arabesque" than "left arm up, bend knees, twist sort of left, head down and UP, turn drop shoulders".

"This year's word is 'elegance'," Inui-sensei said, looking pointedly at me. orz

Since there are only two of us, he spent nearly an hour correcting our starting poses and the first twelve counts. I kind of felt like a mannequin at times, like when, after having rearranged me to his satisfaction, he stood back and uttered a pleased little, "いいじゃん!" And later on, I was up on my toes but not high enough for him, so he came up behind me, grabbed my ribcage and lifted it, then walked me around the studio. I had a hard time not bursting out laughing, because it looked pretty funny. I laughed when he finally let me down. XD

Still, it was encouraging to get a "見て、きれいじゃん、これ。" when I finally managed to do the initial preparation pose (about two seconds of the piece, go me! :D) relatively gracefully.

* * *


The new JLPT, which I did on Sunday, is quite different! I did the old 2級 a year and a half ago, and barely made it out alive. With the the new N2, the kanji, reading, grammar and vocab are in one 105-minute block (instead of the same amount of time but split into two parts) and with only 75 questions, that was just a bit more than half as many as last time. No wonder I had time to finish all the questions! I may have read the last couple of texts pretty fast, but I closed my exam booklet with a minute to spare. Also, the listening section seemed pretty easy. Was it really? I'll find out in a couple of months!

* * *


I've been meaning to share this for a while: behold, one of the funniest texts I've ever received!

[Context: Eda and I had tickets for a U-KISS concert that was cancelled.]

I wrote: They should let us exchange the ticket for a couple of hours with the boy of our choice!

Eda: I agree! So for 9500 yen, that should be redeemable for:

- 2hrs with Kevin OR Kiseop
- 45 minutes with Kevin AND Kiseop
- 3.5 hours with Dongho (must show id)
- 4 hours with AJ or Soohyun
- 6 hours with Hoon (comes with free parfait)
- one month with Eli
["Because it would take him two weeks to even notice you; "Durr durr derp, a chick! 8D"]

Free parfait!!! When I read that I lost it and started snorting with laughter in the changing room at the ballet studio. XDDD

* * *


Arguably the best part of teaching the afternoon advanced class, apart from the fact that the kids are bright and sweet and hilarious, is correcting their homework. Comedy gold! A big part of their homework is reading, and we ask them to write a book report for each book they read, as well as choose five words from the story and write down the definitions in their notebooks. Then they have to come up with an example sentence of their own for each word.

This week's batch yielded some great sentences. (These kids are all six or seven; five of them graduated from our preschool program, and the other two are returnees.)

My friend has a Revolutionary War picture so she likes wars.

Raccoons are stinky.

I want give a survive to the daddy.

If someone kills an animal the animal cannot survive.

Animals don't play snow and animals don't make snowboll.
[This was from the "What I learned" section of a book report on hibernation.]

Male: Male is cute?

Things: I like things.

Diesel: My dad diesels so much he buys it every day.

When some bear is going to the forest then I don't go.

Bits & Bobs

Jun. 8th, 2011 10:31 pm
I most likely will never get around to writing about them otherwise, so here are some of the things I got up to recently. Please imagine these brief paragraphs as the elaborately detailed posts I meant for them to be, won't you?

K-Pop Extravaganza!

Last month, Eda got her hot little hands on a pair of tickets to the huge K-pop charity concert to raise funds for earthquake relief. There were a million or so acts and it was pretty much a sausage fest, as Eda described it; apart from two girl groups and IU (who is beautiful and adorable and I can't decide whether I want to do dirty things to her or watch her play with kittens), it was all boy bands. So just imagine us spending the evening bouncing along while mostly interchangeable Korean boys DID NOT RIP THEIR SHIRTS OFF on stage. It was actually a bit disappointing! The only guy who obliged was the one wearing the hideous skin-tight pants that he'd obviously stolen from the WWF. Also notable was that when ToHoShinKi (all two of them! XDDD) came out at the end, the entire Saitama Arena went red as the crowd got out its official penlights. "We're in Mordor! D:" I exclaimed. Best act for me was BEAST, who had lots of energy. And it's trashy dance music, what's not to love? Sadly (?!), "Every night I SHARK" actually did sound like "shock" when heard live. Oh, well. It'll always be shark in my head! ^o^

Moving Eda

Last Saturday, Sarah and I helped Eda move. It was pretty much the reverse of what Jill and I helped her do last year, in that this time she moved from Nippori to Nakano. It took two trips, same as last time, but the weather was gorgeous! We discovered that Pickled Nasu Lady has a buddy, Pickled Daikon Lady, in front of whose house I most rudely parked. Not in front of her door, or anything, but in front of the frosted glass window that wasn't even open! She came out and glared at me, but I ignored her, since she wasn't congratulating me on my superior backing up skills. And later, when we were getting reading to leave, she came and asked us what we were doing -- it was so worth it to hear Eda say, in possibly the bitchiest voice I've ever heard her use, "We're programming the navigation system." We didn't see her on the second run, but Pickled Nasu Lady was sitting by the side of the street, and told us, as we drove by, "There's no exit that way." I suppose my very loud peal of laughter wasn't very polite, but didn't she remember us from last year? XDDD

In between runs we had lunch at Big Boy, because that was the only place we could think of that had parking. I'd never eaten at Big Boy before (I only knew of its existence because of Austin Powers, to be honest), and the menu was pretty much just large chunks of meat, but I am in love with the salad bar! For Y600 you can eat mountains of salad, which I did. Who knew salad could be so filling! And I've done some research and found that there's a branch in Choufu within reasonable biking distance from my place. :D~~~

Game of Thrones

This series is SOOOO GOOOOOOOD! There are only two more episodes left to go for this first season, but that just means I'll be able to marathon them all. Tyrion is still amazing; Arya is great; Jon (and Ghost!) are finally getting to see some action; Tywin is perfect; I'll just stop there, because I'm too tired to go into details. Suffice to say, you should watch this series even if you don't know the books. Watch it!

Work

Kids crack me up. I taught my advanced class today (all kids who either graduated from our preschool or are returnees) and the word "boss" came up. I asked them if they knew what it meant, and who their boss was. They came up with, "Mummy and Daddy. And my teacher." So I asked them if they knew who my boss was. Dead silence. "Your mummy?" one girl tried. "No, it's Ms. Y." I pointed at my boss, who was at her desk on the other side of the room, and the look on their faces was priceless. I guess until that moment, the teachers were all just teachers on the same level. Which makes sense, since we all, my boss included, go by "Ms. FirstName". XDDD

Later on, I was giving them sentences and they had to tell me what kind of verb I'd used. I said, "I believe the moon is made of cheese." Chaos ensued! Well, almost. It was the little kid version of OMGWTFBBQ?!?!?!?, so I had to explain the joke, such as it was. At least they all knew that some kinds of cheese have holes in them.

JLPT

My brain is starting to hate me, and I've really no idea how much of an improvement over my last score I can reasonably expect, but at least I'm studying daily! I'll do one of the practice tests this weekend to get a rough idea of how badly I'll do. I wish I were kidding. -___-;;; At least I'm motivated now! I've got less than a month to go, but I'm more or less where I'd planned to be in my studying. Ideally, I'd have been going through the grammar book again as well, but I don't have the time. I can skim through it easily enough, as grammar is not usually my weak point.

Lady Gaga

I spent most of Sunday with Hannah, eating caaaaaake and shopping wandering through stores and not buying anything. Except for Lady Gaga's latest CD, which is even dancier than I expected. I quite like it, though I'm a bit surprised by how retro it sounds. Sure, everyone was going on about how "Born This Way" is Madonna remixed, but I hear hints of TLC in it too, and more than a bit of late '80s/early '90s Bon Jovi in some other songs. I'm not sure whether it'll grow more on me or whether I'll grow tired of it after a while, as none of the sounds sound as unique to me as "Bad Romance", "Poker Face" or "Telephone".

Caaaaaaake

To get back to the caaaaaake, we hit up the Sweets Paradise in Shibuya at 11:00, expecting it to be full of gyarus, but it was mostly full of ordinary folks, including a birthday party of 8-year-old girls. I guess 11:00 is too early for them -- it takes time to apply those five layers of false lashes, after all!

Misc.

I've finally managed to translate my chronic (when can one begin to describe it as chronic, anyway?) fatigue into getting to bed at a decent hour. Go me! I've been averaging about 11 to 11:15, which is amazing, considering I used to rarely make it to bed before half past midnight. I feel better in the mornings, though I still can't get myself to study then most of the time, leaving it for the evening. On the other hand, I've been lazy with Travelpod. Bloh. At least I've been uploading pictures? XD;

Time for some reading before bed. I'm thoroughly caught up in World of Wonders, so lets see if I can manage another chapter or two before my eyelids shut of their own volition.
If I were an insect, I could type and knit at the same time. Imagine how many socks I could knit in a month!

Whatever's been going on with my brain and my body lately, it's made me fantasize about sleeping. Sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. I just want to curl up in a pile of warm blankets and sleep, then wake up, doze off again, and stay horizontal for as long as possible. The thing is, even though I slept in fairly late (for me) yesterday, and was tired last night, I woke up this morning at 8:30, after under eight hours of sleep, and was wide awake.

Bloh. Anyway, I'll start getting ready for bed now, right after I finish my tea.

Japanese words )

Friends )
I have a 2cm-long incision in the middle of my back, neatly sewn up, courtesy of the lovely Kurata-sensei, who had furry purple balls in her hair. <3

I nearly fell asleep on the operating table, because what else was I going to do? Not like I could tell what was going on (there was a sheet over my head) except for when I felt vague pulling and heard snipping sounds.

When it was done, she asked me if I wanted to see what she'd removed, so I looked. "It's not very pretty, is it!" I exclaimed, and the doctor and the nurse laughed.

Now I've got 4 different types of medication (one is... some sort of anti-infection thing, I guess?, one is a pain killer, and two are ointments) and the whole thing, including the initial consultation, the operation, and the drugs, cost under Y12,000. Of course, I have to go back to get the stitches removed (twice)...

Then on the way home, I saw the cutest thing ever: a produce vending machine in which were lovely large Chinese cabbages. The machine was asking Y200 for them, but stuck into each cabbage was a toothpick on which hung a 50yen coin. Kyaaaaaa~~~! I bought one. :3

And then I got home, and the best joke I'd heard all week had arrived in the mail.

I PASSED THE JLPT2! *rofl* 57/100 in writing/vocabulary, 75/100 in listening, and 122/200 in reading/grammar. That's an overall 63.5%, and I have no clue how I managed that, because today I didn't understand the word for cotton swab (menbou, 綿棒, in case you're wondering) and the doctor didn't know the English, so I whipped out my ipod and we both learned something new. XD

Now I'm off to K's place, because she promised me a dinner of beef stew after my terrible ordeal. ^_~
To get this post off to a cheerful start, an amusing exchange with a student:

Him: Ms. Adele, why is your hair brown?
Me: Uh... it just is. What colour do you think it should be?
Him: Black.
Me: Black? But I'm not Japanese.
Him: Yes, you are.
Me: XD Actually, no.

I believe there is partial confusion here due to the fact that the younger kids take a while understand the difference between Japanese-meaning-nationality and Japanese-meaning-language and which verb to use in which context. I often hear things like "Sakura is Japanese!" when they mean she's speaking Japanese. My response is always, "Yeah, so are you!" which confuses them. And then I laugh.

Anyway, the next day I asked Taiga:

Me: So, why did you say my hair should be black?
Him: *looking at me as though explaining that water is wet* Because hair is black.

This was even funnier because this kid's hair isn't black, it's truly brown. It made me wonder, though, whether any of the kids think that K (who is fairer than I am) and I dye our hair.

* * *


I meant to post something interesting about Okinawa, or at least answer the meme questions I was asked, but I really don't feel up to the task. Still, I forced myself to at least try to catch up with my studying this evening, and got more done than I'd hoped. Funny how I actually kept up in Okinawa, it's in the days since I've been back that I've completely slacked off, for no reason I can discern except that I'm damn tired.

Self-pity goes here )

While I'm really looking forward to the test being over, I also wonder what I'm going to do with my time once it's free. I want to keep studying, so I'll have to think up a way to get myself motivated for that, and I also want to settle on some other goals. Anyone have any suggestions on how to do this? Advice? Want to start a Goal of the Month club with me so we can be slave-drivers to each other? :D [offer valid only after the 6th of December]

Re: 12月6日, Eda and I are going to meet up after the test and we're going to get drunk. Anyone else want to join in? :D

And then she went to bed.

88% Cursed

Jul. 23rd, 2009 12:28 am
To aid in my Japanese studies, I've been using a JLPT level 3 grammar review book, which includes practice tests after each section. I did one tonight, and ONCE AGAIN scored 88%. I've gotten the same result for every one of those practice tests -- save the previous one, which I did on an evening I was very tired and unable to concentrate, and on which I scored a dismal 80% -- and I'm beginning to get very frustrated. Not because it's a bad score, but because I scored higher than that when I did the actual level 3 test, in spite of not having done a proper grammar review beforehand. :P Can't I just ONCE get a perfect score?! This time was doubly frustrating because when I checked my answers, I understood my mistakes straight away, as opposed to a couple of times when there were sentences I didn't quite get (like one from the previous chapter, which even my [Japanese] boss said sounded weird).

This sort of reminds me of when I took an Old English class in university; my friend and I would compete with each other on the weekly quizzes to see who could get a perfect score. Each week one of us would manage 9/10 and the other would get 8/10, but I think we only once each got 10/10. This time I'm just competing against myself -- shouldn't I be coming out on top? .____.;
People who have studied, are studying, or will study Japanese, I seek your counsel!

My goal this year is to pass level 2 of the JLPT, and I'm in the market for a Japanese textbook, intermediate level (I'm floating somewhere between JLPT levels 3 and 2 now, though I know that's rather vague as it's a pretty big gap). I've already got books specifically for kanji, as well as flashcards, but that's not helping my grammar much. And shockingly, it would seem that watching silly prettboy doramas is not the fastest way to learn proper Japanese grammar! D:

Have you any titles to recommend? Any titles to warn me away from? :D

ETA: I should have specified that while I do have a specific goal, test-wise, I also just want to keep learning Japanese in general and this is my attempt at giving myself some structure upon which to build. XD
I've never received fancy eau de toilette from a guy before O_O How was he to know that my preferred scent is Right Guard deodorant for men? XD Still, this stuff smells nice... Then he insisted on buying me manga, because he seems quite amused by my interested in such things (and I haven't even really talked about tenimyu yet! XD), so I came home with the beginnings of both Kuroshitsuji and Death Note. He's an enabler! D:

In theory, karaoke is a great place to make out and take part in groping sessions, but the mood is liable to be spoilt by the loud, heartfelt-yet-painful-sounding WOOOOOAAAAAA!ing of the guy in the room next to yours. @_@

I got my results for the practice Japanese test. Since it was only a practice, there is no official pass or fail grade, only an average. I scored 14 points lower than average on the kanji/grammar section (which I didn't even have time to finish), but 18 points higher and 13 points higher than average on the reading and listening sections, respectively.

If tomorrow is as gorgeous as today was, I'm getting up early-ish and taking my camera out for a bike ride around my neighbourhood. Because it just isn't right that I haven't the foggiest idea what lies to the east and south of me.

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