One of my New Year's Resolutions was to dive back into my Tobira textbook for a while. While I haven't picked up the textbook, I have finally started reading a book I have owned for a good 4 years or so. I bought the pink book below, when I first started becoming interested in the Japanese music scene. At the time (and arguably until today) one of the most well known artists was AKB48. I had watched some of their television shows and found them interesting, so I decided to buy this book thinking, hey, I know hiragana, katakana and about 200 kanji, I'm sure I can read a good part of this. Yeah, no. I got the book and immediately set it aside for the "future" where I would be "better" at Japanese and recognize more of the kanji.
I definitely recognize more kanji, but I've also forgotten a ton of them. So, despite these drawbacks, I decided to start reading it this week. It has been a very very very slow start. I feel like the second picture says it all....especially taking into account that it took me like 3 hours to get through the prologue. Jeez! Luckily the next page was not that bad and I actually got through it pretty quickly (pretty quickly being in about 1 hour and a 1/2). The third page was the easiest because it has words said by the members themselves. I find it a lot easier to read dialogue so that went by pretty fast. I'm really proud of myself for having at least started this and hope that by March I'll have 2 chapters done (this is my goal. It's kind of a sad goal, but if I reach it I will be super proud of myself. Never mind that each chapter is like 8 pages long >.<)
I have also decided that at the end of each chapter, I will write down new words/kanji that I have come across in a separate notebook. I will devote some time to reviewing these before starting on the next chapter. This will hopefully help me pick up some new kanji and/or help me refresh kanji meanings or readings that I may have forgotten. Once I finish this book, the plan is to finally pick up my Japanese language manga and try to get through them as well. Hopefully this will be a much easier task once I have gotten through the "AKB48 history" book.
Aside from diving back into reading and studying Japanese, I have also been preparing myself for an interview that may lead to a great opportunity for me to not only continue to study Japanese, but also spread my culture to a corner of the world. I was so surprised when I got the email letting me know that I was chosen for an interview! I've been reviewing my application and also went out to buy a suit! It was a bit too big for me, but the skirt has already been fixed, all that is left are some alterations to the jacket and I should be ready to go! Needless to say, I'm extremely nervous and just hope that I don't accidentally say anything impertinent xD Sometimes it can be hard for me to think through what I'm about to say before the words actually come out of my mouth so this is a real problem for me, hehe.* Luckily, I have amazing friends and family members who are encouraging me to do my best and keep assuring me that I'll be fine. I even got a nice surprise
when the mom of one of my friend's sent me a good luck charm from Japan (I should mention - I have friends all over the world: Chile, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Mongolia, England, Lebanon and of course, Japan. This is one of the perks of hanging out with lots of international students during my college years xD). They're called omamori (お守り) and they can be bought at Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples. They are bought for things ranging from good health, to luck in academic exams to a charm for a healthy relationship. I received one that wishes me luck on the application/interview. I was so happy! It's super cute and I'm definitely taking it with me to my interview.*Since writing this blog post I have completed my interview. To sum it up in one quick sentence: not as bad as I was imagining.
Overall, 2015 has been a very busy year so far. Work is also becoming increasingly busy, with lots of events coming up and new projects being brought up for me to work on everyday. But, I'm happy for the new challenges and hope the rest of the year continues to bring new experiences for me!