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

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vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
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Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2238 days ago

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

 
 Message 49 of 158
08 March 2014 at 8:54pm | IP Logged 
I'm afraid you flatter me, kraemder. It's hard for me to see myself as an overachiever. If I were one I probably wouldn't have found myself in this mess to begin with :) But still, thanks for the kind words.

Anyway, so far the effects of my radical decision appear to be marginal - my average sleep time seems to have increased only by about half an hour. Either the smaller amount of Anki reviews has made me more susceptible to distractions, or those reviews weren't that much work to begin with. Still, I appreciate any extra minute of sleep I can get, so I'll try to see if I can make my weekday evening studies more efficient.

In other news, I'm done with Pimsleur Greek I, and now I have taken up FSI Greek for modern Greek and Assimil Le Grec ancien for ancient. This has given me the excuse to get back into studying French. I really suck at this "focus on one language at a time" thing, don't I? ;) Thankfully, even though I still can't string two words together in French to save my life, my comprehension of written French is actually pretty decent (Merci beaucoup, Guillaume le Conquérant!), so it isn't too much trouble figuring out the explanations to the lessons.
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vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
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Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2238 days ago

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

 
 Message 50 of 158
15 March 2014 at 11:00am | IP Logged 
Okay, the first lecture turned out to be pretty fun and not scary at all after all! The overall experience was like being in a class in a language school, except with the teacher not just assigning tasks and conducting activities, but also giving meta-explanations of the reasons behind the tasks and activities, as well as tips on how to carry them out better in a class of your own. Since this was the first lecture, the main focus were introductory exercises and "icebreakers".

Out of the twenty participants (not counting the eight people following along via Skype) there were seven or eight Japanese people, both exchange students and expats (one lady spoke such native-like Russian before the class I did a double-take when she introduced herself as Japanese - turned out she moved here more than fourteen years ago). None of the other Russians present revealed themselves as self-learners (neither did I), but, aside from a couple of really fluent people, I didn't notice much of a gap between my conversational skills and theirs, which is something I was afraid would be noticeable. While I did make a couple of weird vocabulary choices (I was very proud of myself for recalling the word 地平線, only to realize the next day that the correct term in a marine context was 水平線) and politeness-level mix-ups, I've managed to get my point across 99% of the time (a Japanese teammate took some time to figure out my pronunciation of 身を守る), which is good for a start. Looking forward to next week's classes!

In other news, last Sunday I took my parents out to see Miyazaki's 風立ちぬ (subtitled, natch) - all three of us ended up being puzzled as to why it didn't win an Oscar (although we've yet to watch Frozen). Well, actually I wasn't, given how seriously the Academy takes the animated nominations and how Disney is responsible for marketing all Ghibli movies stateside. Still, a very impressive film that everyone should see.

This week I've tried to mix up my daily reading routine by a) diversifying the columns I read beyond 天声人語 and 春秋 by reading ones from the regional papers as well, and b) dedicating both my morning and evening commutes to reading in Japanese. Before I finished the Greek Pimsleur course I would listen to it during the evening commute while simultaneously reading fairy tales from the bilingual reader. Since I can't do that with either FSI or Assimil, I decided to do all of my Greek at home. Now I think that this was a mistake, since I get so tired by the time I get home I barely even have the strength to get through the Japanese stuff and Anki. This ends up pushing all my Greek stuff to the weekends, thus making my exposure to the language a lot more infrequent. In order to have something to listen to while reading Greek in the metro I bought a collection of greteast hits by Notis Sfakianakis.

This morning I went to another bookstore and ended up buying two more books from the しごとの日本語 series - the one on writing e-mails and the one on telephone conversations (the fourth book of the series deals specifically with working in the IT industry, so I don't see myself needing it any time soon). The books aren't cheap, but I liked the way things were presented in the business manners book. Besides, I'm almost done with the Business Japanese book and I'm going to need something to keep studying practical work-related Japanese afterwards.

Edited by vonPeterhof on 15 March 2014 at 6:03pm

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vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2238 days ago

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

 
 Message 51 of 158
16 March 2014 at 9:11am | IP Logged 
I guess I forgot to comment on the fact that Ukrainian has slipped onto my "studies" list. My past studies of this language are limited to a Pimsleur course and a couple bilingual texts, but in combination with its close relatedness to Russian this makes for a pretty solid base for passive comprehension well beyond the level of my active skills. Before I decided to minimize exposure to languages other than Japanese I used to occasionally read articles in Ukrainian and Belarusian in order to expand my passive understanding of those languages. With the recent events in Ukraine I've found myself reading Ukrainian sources yet again. I suppose I could do some more active studying activities out of solidarity or something, but I've already let my wanderlust chase away all traces of an "AJATT" approach from my learning, so I'll probably have to limit myself to articles for now.
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vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
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Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2238 days ago

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

 
 Message 52 of 158
27 March 2014 at 9:29pm | IP Logged 
Holy crap, it's been twelve days since I last posted here! Thought I'd drop by to show signs of life or something. The situation at work isn't getting any better, but that wasn't the reason why I couldn't update last weekend. One of the few things I like about my job is that I don't have to take work home (heck, I'd probably have to be promoted two or three levels higher to even be allowed to take it home). It's just that we had a large-ish family celebration last weekend, so I barely even had the time to finish my reviews and no time at all for FSI Greek. My reading has been surprisingly stable though. One of the pluses of a standing commute - it's hard to fall asleep, so you're guaranteed some reading time (unless the train is too cramped up for you to reach into your bag, but this hardly ever happens during my usual commute time slots).

Today has been a particularly nasty day though: physically, mentally and especially emotionally. Depending on how I feel about it tomorrow I might go into more detail when I write a proper update, but for now suffice it to say that you know you're overexerting yourself at work when you're too tired to watch anime, let alone do Anki reviews. I think I'll make this the first time in several years that I go to bed without doing a single review. Thankfully, the card numbers are a lot more manageable now, so it won't be too much of a problem come tomorrow.



vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2238 days ago

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

 
 Message 53 of 158
29 March 2014 at 6:15pm | IP Logged 
Warning: incoming rant/whining that has next to nothing to do with language learning.

I was too tired to update last night, so I'm doing this now. While Friday wasn't nearly as stressful as Thursday, I still ended up staying at work past 8 PM (especially egregious considering that in this company the work day ends at 4:45 PM on Fridays), and the pile of work still left to be done doesn't look like it decreased one bit. At this point I would actually appreciate the opportunity to come to work on a weekend, so that I can calmly sift through the documents without having to divert my attention to "urgent" tasks, but that's apparently only allowed in extraordinary circumstances.

I'm not gonna bore y'all with a detailed explanations of how banking groups, the interbank lending market and the division of responsibilities in my division work, but suffice it to say that due to our bank's recent acquisition by a banking group a massive extra load of work has dropped right into my area of responsibility in the past couple of months, on top of an important deadline set much earlier and lots of day-to-day business. The boss has reassigned some of my tasks to my colleagues who are less busy, but I'm still badly behind on a lot of unfinished tasks, and it appears that the deadline, which is April 1, will be missed pretty badly. That's in spite of the fact that I stay at work for up to seven extra hours each week (basically, every day when I don't have a lecture in the evening).

I could ask the boss for a permanent reallocation of responsibilities, but I doubt that I could make a strong case that my overload with work is due to circumstances beyond my control. I've never exactly been the best employee even before all the extra work, and I do have a bit of a history of screw-ups and brainfarts. The fact that right now I constantly have to switch my attention between a crapload of unrelated tasks has led to them becoming more frequent, which results in both me having to do even more work to clean up after myself and in me looking even worse in the eyes of my boss (and my own eyes as well).

Now the chances of me ending up without a job very soon are pretty damn high. There are three possibilities:
a) I end up making a major screw-up and the boss asks me to resign (this has happened to another employee around this time last year);
b) I lose my job some time this summer due to the downsizing that the group is allegedly planning;
c) my boss gets replaced by someone reassigned from the head bank; since I've been one of their liaisons on a few problematic questions and it's been my job to deliver them bad news on behalf of my bank, they pay me back by sacking me.

Frankly, a part of me would welcome such a development. It was never my intention to work in the Russian financial sector forever (and even if it were, due to the situation on the market right now the chances of me getting hired to do similar work in a different Russian bank are pretty slim). But still, I really have no idea of where else I'd go. With just a bachelor's degree in management and little more than one year of work experience I have very little to offer potential employers. As you can tell, I'm pretty conflicted as to whether or not I should keep exerting myself at this current job.

/whining

Anyway, as I've mentioned in my previous post, I'm behind on some aspects of my studies (as well as anime - the winter season is almost over, and I've only watched one finale so far). I haven't been able to properly start reading the new business Japanese books I bought. I also haven't written much on Lang-8 lately (although I realize now that I forgot to link my latest post on this log - here).

However, my readings, JLPT preparations and lectures have all been going according to plan. I've managed to stick to the "one column" per day rule, even if I had to loosen the definitions a little - if I manage to read a particularly long and detailed news article I consider the daily requirement fulfilled. I've also found an interesting source for news style Japanese for times when I'm too worn out to read actual news - 虚構新聞. Basically, it's the Japanese equivalent to The Onion. Sure, some of the humour requires more awareness of current events and cultural insight than I currently possess, but overall it's a nice distraction.

The lectures are still a lot of fun while being quite informative. Last week was a particularly interesting moment when the topics of discussion were the use of vocabulary items that the students are unfamiliar with and the use of an intermediary language in the classroom. I was preparing to drop some Krashen wisdom in the discussion, but in the last moment I realized that I misunderstood the exact formulation of the discussion questions, so I ended up not saying anything. Then when the student discussion was over and the teacher started stating his point of view, he actually name-dropped Krashen and his i+1 theory. I was like "Damn! He stole my thunder!" :) Other than that, I've noticed that my ability to formulate grammatically correct sentences more or less spontaneously is improving, although accidental lowering of the politeness level is still a problem. I guess I need to practise by talking to others more. I could try to get used to it by switching my Japanese internal monologue to 丁寧語, but that just doesn't feel natural.

Anyway, I guess I'll spend most of the rest of the weekend finishing off the anime season before the next one starts.
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kraemder
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 Message 54 of 158
29 March 2014 at 7:49pm | IP Logged 
I don't know what you do at your bank but I had a data entry job a while ago that was so boring that I was
pretty much on autopilot and I remember that if they mixed in different kinds of forms instead of giving me the
same ones they us usually did then I might not notice and therefore make mistakes. Not sure if that's similar
to what you're describing with them giving you different kinds of stuff to do which makes for more mistakes. I
suppose less day dreaming would help maybe? My job last fall I was genuinely scared I'd get let to for
making mistakes. It worked out though and I'm not at all worried right now. Like you said though, if you had to
get another job it would be annoying but this isn't your dream job anyway.

I need to look up this krashen thing now since I haven't heard of it.



vonPeterhof
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Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2238 days ago

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

 
 Message 55 of 158
04 April 2014 at 9:53pm | IP Logged 
I wish most of my tasks were routine enough for me to be able to do them on autopilot. The kind of confusion I encounter at my work is usually caused by having to coordinate the negotiations of two or more completely different contracts with several banks, while also having to mail documents requested by other banks and order other documents from yet more banks. It's only after the official working day is over that I get the time to sift through those documents received from other banks in order to catalogue their info in our electronic database. As for daydreaming, I'm already in the worst position possible in that regard, seeing as how my workplace (including my computer screen) is the only one in the office that's fully in the line of sight of my boss. Although I do get the time to check Twitter on my phone whenever I have to walk to another part of the building. If I didn't get the occasional opportunity to do that I'm afraid I'd overheat and burn out completely. But there I go, whining and making up excuses for myself again! There's really no need to do that right now, since it's actually been a relatively good day today, and the week has been okay overall. Sure, we did miss the deadline, but at least my boss seems to have understood my situation and doesn't seem to be planning to scapegoat me. Next Monday's probably gonna be tough, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Anyway, the Spring anime season has begun and I've started a new "first impressions" series on Lang-8. Here's the post I submitted last night. Just like I planned at the end of the previous "first impressions" series, I wrote the two reviews in this post as soon as I finished watching the respective episodes. I think my eloquence suffered a bit due to me rushing with the post, not wanting to deviate from my newly normalized sleeping schedule. Well, at least it doesn't seem like that caused me to make many outright errors.

Anyway, I'll write a more detailed post about my learning activities this week at some point during the weekend. Right now I've still got six winter season finales to go through. Time for another binge!

Oh, almost forgot - one of the series I discussed in my post, 僕らはみんな河合荘, already has Japanese subs on kitsunekko. Although I can't exactly give this series my endorsement just yet..



vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2238 days ago

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

 
 Message 56 of 158
06 April 2014 at 10:09pm | IP Logged 
Here are parts two and three of the "first impressions" series. This time around I'm actually trying not to take up as many series as I did the last couple of seasons. Not sure if I'm doing a good job with eight series on my viewing list after four days of the new season.

Anyway, due to the workload on the last day of March I ended up skipping a lecture for the first time. I got its recording and handouts though, so I'll study it at some point. I'm glad that I didn't skip Wednesday's lecture, since we were doing learning games. Other than that I managed to get a bit more studying done this week than the previous one, including all the activities for modern and ancient Greek. Although I still didn't manage to fit in business Japanese - I guess I wont be able to until I'm done with the anime premieres and the "first impressions" series.

Edited by vonPeterhof on 06 April 2014 at 10:13pm




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