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VonPeterhof’s log - 旅立ち’14, Yürükler’15+

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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kraemder
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2596 days ago

1497 posts - 147 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Spanish, Japanese

 
 Message 145 of 158
19 June 2015 at 8:18pm | IP Logged 
I'm glad you posted - your entries are always a lot of fun to read because you're well read and have a
fantastic command of English. If you were expected to teach English in the jet program I think they really did
a disservice not testing your ability. I would have hired you. If they hired someone who spoke no Japanese
instead and let them speak Russian in their interview the interviewers did a poor job. I was thinking of
applying for the JET program too and I'm seeing it's anything but a sure thing.



vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2184 days ago

715 posts - 810 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 146 of 158
19 June 2015 at 9:21pm | IP Logged 
I actually specifically applied for the Russian ALT position in Nemuro, Hokkaido (one of only two such
positions available this year, and the only JET position that wasn't tied to a specific region of Russia). Funny
thing, one of the questions they asked me was why I didn't apply for an English ALT position. In hindsight it
was probably better to answer honestly and say that I assumed there would be less completion for the
Russian position. At the very least, that would have been better than what I actually answered. I was trying to
say that my ability to teach English probably can't compare to that of a native speaker, but it ended up coming
out more like "Because my English isn't all that good" :)



kraemder
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2596 days ago

1497 posts - 147 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Spanish, Japanese

 
 Message 147 of 158
19 June 2015 at 10:18pm | IP Logged 
I hate to say it but you might have yourself to blame for the interview. Oh well. You'll do ace your next
interview I'm sure.



vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2184 days ago

715 posts - 810 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 148 of 158
19 June 2015 at 11:23pm | IP Logged 
Yeah, I'm not denying that it's my fault, and hopefully I can do better next time. It's a shame that my next time is very unlikely to be in the JET programme though. Japanese high schools that teach Russian are few and far between, so the ALT vacancies don't come up that often (I think the last time the Nemuro one opened up was three years ago - I found out about it too late to apply back then), while the CIR ones tend to be limited to residents of specific regions of the Russian Far East that have partnership agreements with specific Japanese prefectures. Considering that the maximum possible duration of an ALT's contract is five years, my next opportunity might not come up until I'm 30, and the very idea of a 30 year old ALT seems all sorts of wrong to me :)



vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2184 days ago

715 posts - 810 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 149 of 158
02 July 2015 at 9:27pm | IP Logged 
It's been a bit more hectic and stressful than I expected, but today I finally got my Japanese visa for 90 days! On Saturday afternoon I'm flying to Osaka via Dubai to arrive at the final destination on Sunday evening. For this occasion I actually tried to cram ten units of Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic into ten days, but due to all the things I had to take care of before the flight that didn't work out. Oh well, I'm still gonna be passing through Dubai on my way back, and the stopover will actually be longer that time, so I might still do something with it (plus, I guess I've settled the dilemma of which Arabic dialect to start from - I couldn't decide between Egyptian and Levantine :) ).

Anyway, aside from all that these past two weeks I've been trying to finish up some of the books I'm studying with right now, so that I don't need to take them with me. I only managed to finish two of the books - the Bekturovs' Kazakh textbook and the Japanese business email book. Thankfully the Turkish Nasreddin reader and Syromyatnikov's Classical Japanese grammar are both pretty compact, so the only relatively massive book I'll be taking with me is the introduction to hanmun. Since the Japanese course I'll be attending in Osaka will be a business language course the replacement for my business email writing exercise has been taken care of, but I'm still not sure what I should do for Kazakh - either start making my way through Ilyas Esenberlin's Nomads trilogy (I've read 1.5 of the books back in high school, but in Russian), or just take it easy with news articles until I finish one of the other books I'm reading. It's such a shame that there are no GLOSS lessons for Kazakh!

As for Uzbek, even though I've completely switched over to studying it from Turkmen after I completed the last GLOSS lesson for the latter last Monday, due to all the distractions I'm only about halfway through Baldauf's grammar. I guess I'll be done with it some time next week, after which I'll do the same thing I did with Turkmen - alternating between GLOSS lessons and news articles.

Now I guess I need to start packing my bags. 大阪、ほな行くで!
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vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2184 days ago

715 posts - 810 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 150 of 158
02 August 2015 at 6:51pm | IP Logged 
Since it's already the third over here, I guess it's been a month since I last updated, as well as nearly a month since I arrived in Osaka. I was planning to update two weeks ago or so, but that was when the domain expired. The rest of the time I was just too busy with classroom study, homework and sightseeing. I've once again suspended my studies of Korean, haven't really made any progress with Gulf Arabic and didn't manage to finish a Classical Chinese unit this past week. However, I did manage to finish some things since I got here - the novels The Demons and 傷物語, as well as Baldauf's Uzbek grammar this week (did my first Uzbek GLOSS lesson today).

Now for the actual purpose of my coming here, Japanese study. Every weekday I have two hours of core Japanese course lessons and two hours of elective classes. For each weekday we had to choose one of three classes belonging to three different categories - business, academic and cultural. The only non-business class I'm taking is the class on natural Japanese pronunciation, most of which is about the rules of the pitch accent. There's homework every day with a fair amount of handwriting, and tomorrow we're giving 15-minute long presentations about companies from our respective countries (and no, I don't think I'm procrastinating right now, since I'm pretty much ready for it). It's probably a bit too early to judge my progress, but I think my knowledge and ability to operate business vocabulary has been increasing, and I also seem to be getting more comfortable in producing speech in high politeness levels.

The immersion environment in the school community is pretty good for me, since I'm the only Russian here, and there's only one native English speaker in my course (and, as far as I'm aware, none in my dorm). While the locals can immediately tell that I'm not Japanese, I haven't had people switch to English on me or have trouble understanding my Japanese, even if I do still stumble over longer sentences and often find myself struggling to recall the right word.

While I have neither the time nor the money to explore Japan as thoroughly as I would have liked, I've managed to visit a few famous spots here in Osaka, and yesterday I did a quick and relatively cheap run through Nara and Kyoto, thanks to the Kansai Thru Pass. The week after next will be the Obon holidays, so I'm planning to do a similar trip through Hyogo prefecture, and I've also managed to recruit two fellow students to accompany me in a shoestring pilgrimage to the most important otaku event - the Comic Market (Comiket) in Tokyo. Overall I'm enjoying myself and am looking forward to what else I can learn and experience here.
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kraemder
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2596 days ago

1497 posts - 147 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Spanish, Japanese

 
 Message 151 of 158
03 August 2015 at 3:12am | IP Logged 
Interesting post - just a couple questions for you for my own curiosity/study. How important do you think
tones and being able to fluently write Japanese using Kanji are?



vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2184 days ago

715 posts - 810 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 152 of 158
03 August 2015 at 3:12pm | IP Logged 
Both of these things probably depend on a several factors, most notably on what you plan to do with the language, how much of a perfectionist you are and (in the case of pitch) where in Japan you plan to interact with people. The teacher for the pronunciation class told us that Japanese speakers rely on pitch to hear word boundaries, but this seems like it would be less reliable with speakers of dialects with Kyoto-Osaka type pitch, since the "first and second mora of a word must have different pitch" rule doesn't apply here. So I can't yet speak for people in Tokyo, but I haven't had trouble being understood in the Kansai area, even if my pitch tends to get way off in unrehearsed speech. Aside from the peculiarities of the local dialect, it might also be due to the fact that people from Kansai are more used to hearing a variety of pitch patterns. Some time ago I read a forum thread asking people from Kansai whether or not they were annoyed by Nozomi from the Love Live! franchise speaking in fake Kansai dialect (she uses vocabulary and grammatical patterns from Kansai, but her pronunciation is standard Tokyo Japanese in every way), and nearly all the posters said they weren't bothered, with one saying "People talk about this 'Kansai dialect' like it's all the same, but there's actually so much variation within the region that even I, a native, can't always tell whether someone's faking it or just speaking a particularly obscure sub-dialect I've never heard". Either way, it seems to me that unless you're aiming for a job that requires you to sound like a native it should be enough to be aware that pitch accent exists and to make sure that you don't put unnecessary stress on vowels.

As for handwriting, obviously with the spread of modern technology it's a lot less relevant nowadays. However, if you're planning on applying for any job in Japan that requires some level of Japanese proficiency, chances are that you'll need to fill out forms and/or write your résumé by hand, not to mention writing notes and memos at work. I believe it's perfectly possible to learn to read and type in Japanese without ever writing by hand, but it is a useful skill if you're actually planning to live hire.


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