Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Noverber lessons!

So for this whole month, my videos on Youtube have been lessons about the basics of verbs. Today I've posted the last video of the series - here's the list if you missed them! Through this series I go over the difference in polite and plain verbs, how to categorize verbs into different classes, and how to conjugate verbs in both the polite and plain form.

This should be a good base in the basics of Japanese verbs, which will allow you to start forming sentences and learn more advanced grammar points further down the line. Enjoy!

1. Formal vs Plain Verbs

2. Switching between Plain and Masu

3. -Masu Form Conjugations

4. Te-form Song

5. Plain Form Conjugations

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


So I just put up a video on Youtube about Bento if you're interested in it or want to see what kind of materials I have! I have lots of different things, from bento boxes to rice molds.

Thanks for watching!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tweet Log 20 (April - End!)

Hey guys! So while I was originally trying to make very structured tweets that had some content of their own, I tend to use Twitter a little more "normally" nowadays, and mainly use it to announce updates and voice my thoughts. So I don't see much of a point in keeping track of them anymore (unless someone out there reeeeeally wants to keep this section alive... let me know!)

So here's the last batch of tweets that I've saved. For anything else, just follow me on Twitter!


Busy busy busy! So much to do for Monday @_@ Hopefully things will calm down a little after that..

Monologue contest is up! There are some awesome submissions! Go vote for me!! (Delphine) XD

Join in on the Ganbare Japan project!! Hosted by Victor (Gimmeabreakman)

Youtube update: Ganbare Japan Project

Another quake? Seriously? I will be on Twitter all day I'm sure

Youtube update: Variety Shows (part 1)

QuirkyLife update: Study Abroad and Shoutouts

Just had one of the best immersion sessions/conversation practices I think I've EVER had. Soo tired but so worth it.

Plus I ate/made takoyaki for the first time! I'm so happy right now :3

Something I noticed: When you're a guest, don't say 'gochisousama' when you're done eating, but when you're actually leaving the ppl's home?

Anyone else having problems with Youtube? I can't even upload a video right now :(

Thank you sooo much to everyone who voted for me for @JapaneseLevelUp 's monologue contest! Couldn't have done it without you!! <3 :D

Sunday, August 28, 2011

QuirkyLife: Part 3

This round of vlogs has to do with the reading contest hosted by ReadMOD through Twitter: Tadoku! I offer a bunch of tips, though, on reading as well as just studying in general.

Tadoku and Yotsubato Review

Tip for Convenient Japanese Reading

Koukou Debut Review

Variety Shows Subtitles

Keeping Track of Pagecount

Using Twitter for Japanese Reading

MEGU Pet App Review

Final Thoughts on Tadoku and Japanese Reading

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fun Interactive Games on Youtube to Learn Japanese

Something I've been trying out lately on my Youtube channels is creating a game that allows one to practice some basic Japanese grammar and/or vocab that I go over in my video lessons. It takes sooo much time to make! Not only is it more complicated to film than most of my other stuff, but I edit the game into several different videos and have to add a bunch of annotations to make the game work.

That being said, I really love the concept and have a lot of fun making these. As a kid I had always wanted to make my own computer games through video like this, and now I'm able to do it through Youtube! And I hope other people are enjoying them and learning from them as well. :)

If you're interested, here's the first episode of what I'm hoping will be a continuous series of this game (as of now, I've made two parts, and even have a little story that will be tying them all together).

Aaaand part 2!

Let me know what you think! And also let me know if you know of anything similar. I haven't seen any other games like these on Youtube for Japanese learning (or any language learning, for that matter), so if you know of any, I'd love to see other people's take on this concept!

Friday, August 19, 2011

QuirkyLife: Part 2

Hey guys! First of all - sorry about basically skipping the month of July there. I've been really focusing on my Youtube stuff instead, not to mention I was out of the country for a little while. First thing I'd like to catch up on is some of my personal vlogs, so here's a QuirkyLife update! Enjoy~ :)

On the Roof

Birthday Stuff (and Portal 2!)

Un peu en Francais

First Days of Summer


Summer Classes begin...

Swim Plan

As always, thanks for watching! :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tweet Log 19 (March)

Continuing my story through tweets... start at the beginning here.

Go back to part 18.


QuirkyLife update: Cardcaptor Sakura

Man, I'm so used to watching Cardcaptor Sakura whenever I have a small chunk of time haha, now I feel kinda lost XD

QuirkyLife update: Stupid Lighting!

Blog Post: Tweet Log 16 (December)

QuirkyLife update: Arashi CD's and Meetup

Blog Post: Lang-8 (Just to repost the video onto my blog ^^)

Soooo much to do >< Video this week will have to be finished tonight and probably uploaded tomorrow ^^

Just noticed I have 50 Youtube subscribers! Woo~ *throws confetti* Thanks for supporting my lil channel guys :D

QuirkyLife update: Adshap8's Japanese Monologue Contest

Eep, quite the delay this week, but I'm determined to still keep this a weekly thing :) Video uploading now~

Finally have a bit of a breather and am watching Durarara ^^

Youtube update: Top 5 Things to Watch for Japanese Learners

My prayers and well wishes go out to all those affected by the earthquakes in Japan. Take care, everyone.

For anyone searching for people:

QuirkyLife update: Japan Earthquakes - quick message of support <3

The emotion is finally hitting me about everything. Can't even imagine how hard it would be for those in Japan. #prayforjapan

Would it be insensitive to post a video like normal that isn't centered around Japan's disasters? Maybe I should wait a couple of days.. :/

Youtube update: Hardships in Japan I'm annotating links to other jvloggers to gather info together in this one

Youtube update: Exercise while Learning

QuirkyLife update: Random Sillyness + Silent Hill 4

QuirkyLife update: So many ways to help Japan!

Blog Post: Hardships in Japan

School starts again today... wooo

Just spent a whole class period discussing the current situation in Japan. Tough to talk about, but very informative.

Blog Post: Tweet Log 17 (January)

Youtube update: How to Help Japan

Youtube update: Paper Crane (鶴の折り紙) Message of Hope Double video update today!

I've REALLY fallen in love with Arashi's Lotus :3

Youtube update: Introduction to Arashi (嵐)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Japanese Lesson: Direction words

The past couple of weeks on my Youtube channel has been focused on Japanese direction words! Starting out with a fun and active way to learn the words themselves...

Then moving on to how to use these words in a sentence...

And finally, I created my first interactive Japanese game through video! This took so much time to make, although it was a lot of fun. Quiz yourself in what I hope will be a fun and effective series!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Japanese Lesson: Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu

I recently uploaded my next Japanese lesson over on Youtube so go check it out! I go over the meaning of the phrase "Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu" and different situations where you can use it. Context is super important when it comes to this phrase, so I hope you can get a better idea of how to use it yourself!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Japanese Lesson: Pronunciation (and beginner's words)

So I finally posted my FIRST actual Japanese lesson! I've been giving a ton of tips on how to go about learning Japanese, and now, I'm actually teaching you the language itself. This first one is very basic with a focus on how to pronounce things in Japanese. I use some beginner's words to illustrate these pronunciation rules, so by the end of it, you know how to say - and correctly pronounce - a basic introduction!

Hope to make more of these (there will be more intermediate lessons in the future as well), and I hope they were helpful. Happy learning!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Arashi: Lotus

I've reviewed Arashi's album Boku no Miteiru Fuukei before, but now I plan to write my thoughts on all of their CD's as they come out. Although it's been a little while since Lotus has come out, since it is their latest CD, that's where I'll pick up!

Here's the video version of this review by the way.

There were 3 songs on this single: Lotus, ever, and Boom Boom.


This was the main song and it was used as the theme song for Aiba’s latest drama, Bartender. It also has its own music video where they group is dressed in all white and they do a lot of dancing. The song itself is really epic and makes you want to dance really dramatically - I loved it! It’s not a happy-go-lucky song, but it’s not super dark or anything either. When I listened to this at first, I felt like I had heard similar stuff from Arashi before, but when I thought about it, I had trouble comparing it to any singles, so it's actually pretty different for them (but in a good way!) It's nice to hear something so epic from them.

This is just a side note concerning the drama Bartender - as much as I enjoy the show, I personally think that Lotus doesn’t really fit with it too well. Something about just doesn't fit with the pacing and the tone of the drama. The show itself, or at least the first couple of episodes that I’ve seen, is a little bit slow. I like it, but it’s not particularly exciting, and then when the song comes in at the end really dramatically it kind of throws me off. It might just be me, and it really doesn't matter, it's just something I thought was a little odd. ^^


This is the second song of the CD. Ever had to grow on me a little bit at first, but I really like it now. It’s a slower, romance-y ballad type of song, but at the same time it’s not too sappy, and it’s still kind of bouncy and happy too. It sort of reminds of One Love or Love Rainbow. Simple, sweet, adorable – Arashi’s really good at that.

Boom Boom 

This is the third and last song on the CD, and while I’m not really sure why, I was obsessed with this song. I want to describe it as kind of... sassy? Rebellious? Something about the tone of it is just really fun. I love the melody and the beat a lot. Also, one way I really decide if a song is good is if it’s fun to sing along with, and this one is definitely a lot of fun to sing. And it also has a bit of Sakurap in there, so yeah, I thought it was different and it ended up being my favorite song of this single.

Alright, so there’s what I think about Arashi’s latest single – overall I loooved it. Let me know what you thought of it! Soon as they come out with another CD I’ll make another one of these.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Arashi Radio Shows

Here's the Youtube video I made about Arashi's radio shows. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tweet Log 18 (February)

Continuing my story through tweets... start at the beginning here.

Go back to part 17.


Wooo it's snowing in Texas! No one knows how to handle it down here XP

Just got Sims 3 to play in Japanese... and I realize my computer's OS is too outdated... sad face -_-

Blog Post: Heisig's Method in a Nutshell

Youtube update: Gantz Movie Review (and event report!)

Man can school really get in the way of stuff O.o I should have a blog post up tonight though~

Blog Post: Movie Review for Gantz Youtube update: New Facebook page!

Blog Post: Facebook Fanpage

Now that I'm starting the job-finding process, I have less and less time to myself ;_;

Still keeping up my blog/vlog ok, but I'm spending less time studying Japanese. I almost speak more than I watch/listen nowadays O.o

Blog post: Tweet Log 15 (November)

Youtube update: Using SRS to Learn Japanese

Sliiightly less busy this week, hope to make a real dent in my SRS reps! (good timing with this week's updates :D)

My lunch today - a sausage and rice dish and vegetable wonton soup :) oishii~~

Just started another Youtube channel as just a personal vlog and non-edited vlog. First vid:

QuirkyLife vlog: Japanese Speaking Practice

The weather right now is AMAZING!!

Just met a bunch of Japanese foreign exchange students at Kaiwa. I'm on a Japanese high :D

QuirkyLife update: Global Fair

Blog post: Using SRS to Learn Japanese

Youtube update: Lang-8 (日本語) I'm speaking Japanese in this one~

Lang-8 Video! | Lang-8 #lang8

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

QuirkyLife: Part 1

So for those who don't follow it, along with my main CultureQuirk channel, I also have a second channel where I do more casual vlogs. I still talk about a lot of the same things, but I go more into stuff going on into my private life. They're less structured, and unlike my main channel, which I update once a week, there are no regular updates as of now. If you're interested in getting to know me a little better, please go take a look at my QuirkyLifeBlog channel. :)

Instead of making a blog post every time I make a video for QuirkyLife, I'll just make a post every 1-2 months and compile all the videos then (kinda like what I do with my tweet log). Here they are!


Japanese Speaking Practice

Global Fair

Cardcaptor Sakura

Stupid Lighting!

Arashi CD's and Meetup

Adshap8's Japanese Monologue Contest

iPhone Vlog Test

Japan Earthquakes

Random Sillyness + Silent Hill 4

So many ways to help Japan!

Study Abroad and Shoutouts

Monologue Contest Entry

Staring Sheep

Getting back to normal


Thanks for watching! :D

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Japanese Monologue Contest

So I recently sent in a video to participate in adshap8's Japanese monologue contest and here's the final video with all of the contestants! Head over to Japanese Level Up to vote on the one you liked best! (*cough* vote for me! *cough*)

EDIT: I ended up winning the contest! Thank you sooo much to everyone who voted for me! :D

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to Help Japan

It's been a couple of weeks now since the great Tohoku earthquake and all the hardships that followed. While I strongly believe Japan will recover from this, there is still so much that needs to be done. I've donated what I could, but I would like to continue to do as much as I can for the relief effort. I'd also like to let you know of some ways that YOU can help.

I've created a new email address where you can reach me about these efforts in helping Japan: If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please send me an email about it!

1. Donate

The first big way you can help is the rather obvious option of donating money. Do your research to find the charity you’re most comfortable with, or maybe send smaller amounts to multiple charities to "cover your bases."

I personally donated to the Red Cross. You can donate at, or you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation that will automatically be added to your phone bill.

This website also has a list of charities with ratings if you want to do some more research:

2. Buy stuff

If you don't want to just give money away, there are a lot of ways for you to buy things with the proceeds being donated to Japan. You may see this kind of thing all over the place, but I’ll be giving you two different resources over at Livejournal. If you don’t have an account there, the site is normally used for blogging but also has some great communities.


At this community, people are auctioning off a ton of different stuff - anything from food, to jewelry, to books, to clothes, to art… There is SO much stuff over there. Bid for something that interests you in the next few days, and at the end of this month, if you win, you pay for it by making a donation to Japan (I believe you can make it to the charity of your choice as long as you provide proof).


This community is usually all about the boy band Arashi, and a lot of the fundraising going on there is fan-related. The "Garage Sale" part of the fundraising is very similar to what Help_Japan is doing: people are offering things such as CDs, magazines, pamphlets. However, this time it's no an auction, so it’s basically first-come, first-serve. Also, instead of having to donate the money yourself to a charity, you simply have to send it to the Paypal of the Arashi_On community and they will take care of it for you. They had a poll to decide which organization they would send the money too, and the charity for this month is Direct Relief International, but I think the charity will change each month (and you have a voice in deciding this.)

Aside from the Garage Sale, what people are also offering are things like fanart, fanfiction, graphics, icons, little hand-made goods, etc. While a lot of these fan-made things are centered around Arashi, this is not a requirement. Many people are offering to make stuff from different fandoms, original characters, etc., and it’s all mostly on a request basis.

I myself have made a post to this community and am offering art. I'm taking requests on any kind of fanart or original characters, I'm pretty flexible. No nudity or anything though, please :) These will be pencil drawings that I will scan and send to you digitally, but nothing colored and no digital art, since that is definitely not my forte.

Aside from simple drawings, I could also do short comics or something, and this leads to another idea. If you’re using Heisig’s method to remember kanji, you might have trouble coming up with little stories for some of them and maybe some visuals would help you. Let me know which kanji is giving you trouble and I can draw out a little comic for you to illustrate that kanji and help you to remember it.

This can extend beyond kanji. If you want any kind of lesson, I could help you with your English, Japanese, and French... (let me know if there's anything else I could help you with). I can type up a lesson for you, or maybe make some kind of illustration to help you learn. I'm considering setting something up on Edufire and teach something there, probably in one-on-one tutoring form. Let me know if that would interest you as well.

Finally, if you watch my Youtube channel and would like to see me make a video on a particular language or culture topic, let me know, and you could "sponsor" that video. I could do a lesson-type video, a review of something, etc. So request the video, sponsor it through a donation, and I would give you credit for sponsoring that video.

While all of this extends way past Arashi I'll stick to doing it through the Arashi_on Livejournal community for now. This will keep things simpler, especially since I don't know whether anyone will be interested in any of this. If you don’t have a Livejournal account but are still interested in this, do let me know, and I'll see about making other arrangements through my own Paypal account.

Go check out my LJ post for more specific information on the artwork, and take a look at my DeviantArt account as well - I haven't posted anything there in forever, but if gives you a good idea of what my art looks like. Pricing will range depending on what you’d like, from about $1~$10, or whatever you're willing to give. Send me an email at for requests or any questions.

3. Sell stuff

Aside from spending money through donations or buying things, you can also sell your own stuff on the above websites (or through any other fashion). So if you’re really strapped for money, why not donate your stuff or your talents? Let me know if you’re doing anything like that – I might be interested, and I could help spread the word.

4. Support

Finally, there are plenty of ways to help without giving anything up at all in the form of support. Here a few shoutouts to other Youtubers who are doing their part and letting you know of other ways to help.

One thing that’s huge is a new channel, partners4japan. Youtube granted this partner channel specifically for the relief fund, and you’ll see videos from all of your favorite j-vloggers over there and other guests. All of the money that is raised through that Youtube partnership will be sent to the relief fund, and the more subscribers, views, favorites, likes, etc. they have, the more money they will make. It doesn’t cost you anything and there’s a lot of interesting content, so go support them!

Other Youtubers have been really great as well. Nigahiga posted a video in which he donated $600, Michelle Phan made a makeup tutorial, and if it gets a million views, she’ll donate $1000, and plenty of other Youtubers have been doing similar drives. It's awesome to see the Youtube community being so great in supporting this cause, so please go support those kinds of efforts yourself. Keep your eyes open and spread the word about that kind of stuff; there are plenty of ways to help out with very little effort.

While monetary benefits are the most important way to help right now, general support to those victims in Japan is still wonderful. Messages of support can give hope and lift peoples' spirits, so stay positive and keep Japan in your well-wishes. Victor at the Gimmeabreakman channel called out for us to make paper cranes and send pictures or video responses as messages of hope, which he will eventually compile. Here is my submission - go make your own crane to spread a message of hope and encouragement.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Tweet Log 17 (January)

Continuing my story through tweets... start at the beginning here.

Go back to part 16.
Go forward to part 18.



Here's a cool, super detailed little model of Osaka-jo

Blog Post: CultureQuirk - Looking Back and to the Future!

A nice view of Osaka from the top of Osaka-jo.

白いクリスマス | Lang-8 #lang8

Another great view from the top of Osaka-jo~

Blog Post: Tweet Log 13 (September)

Made pasta carbonara according to @runnyrunny999 's recipe! 美味しかった!

Randomly started to watch Cardcaptor Sakura! So nostalgic...

懐かしいアニメ | Lang-8 #lang8

This was my lunch today! I love sushi...

I feel like studying kanji has spoiled me XD I'm so used to making little stories, and I'm not sure how to do that when studying vocab...

Remembering the *kanji* of each vocab is okay, it's just remembering the pronunciation that I'm struggling with...

I'm randomly watching bits of Nodame Cantabile. Forgot how much I love it <3 so impressed with how the actors did all the music stuff O.o

Made a small update to the blog - now you can easily move forwards and backwards through the tweet logs.

Blog Post: Motivation Ideas - Song Puzzle Learn Japanese *while* motivating yourself to learn Japanese XD

Back in town and started school... Need to get back in the groove, another rough semester ahead!

In other news, I should have my first Youtube vids up starting tomorrow! :D

Just got like eight different Arashi CD's! Soooo happy!! Thank you so much @maru887 for getting them to me :D

First YOUTUBE vid~! Introduction vlog :D

Just got back from watching Gantz! Loved it but did NOT love the dubs, can't wait to see it in Japanese!!

Being able to see the live interview with Nino and Kenichi though made me sooo happy~

GANTZ | Lang-8 #lang8

Youtube update: Introduction in Japanese! 自己紹介 (日本語)

Youtubeの自己紹介! | Lang-8 #lang8

Youtube update: Introduction (French/Francais) My last intro vid, this time in my native tongue :)

Blog Post: Youtube!

Golden crane on the wall. This was taken from the balcony at the top of Osaka-jo~

Youtube update: Basics of Reading Japanese

Wrapping up the Osako-jo pics with a nice picture of the entire castle.

Blog Post: Basics of Reading Japanese

So I go to practice some vocab on And hear they're closing down... That reeeally sucks :(

Just finished rewatching Zettai Kareshi... I just can't help but tear up at the ending ><

Just filmed my next video - I had to draw some stuff for this one XD wheeee~ Still need to edit, hope to upload it by Monday :)

Will be posting up a new video tomorrow! I would like it to keep it a weekly thing, hopefully wont get too busy to do that *crosses fingers*

Blog Post: Tweet Log 14 (October)

Youtube update: Heisig's Method for Learning Japanese Includes illustrated examples!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hardships in Japan

The past week has been difficult. It's been hard simply hearing and watching what's been going on in Japan, trying to reach friends and constantly reading tweets and watching the news. I've been lucky - I've heard back from virtually everyone that I know in Japan, and they and there families are safe. I can't even imagine how scary and devastating it must be for those who are living there and are affected by the hardships.

I've taken some time to worry, to mourn, to pray. And while I won't stop thinking about Japan, it's also time to take action. Like I've mentioned in the video, I've donated money and can only continue to help with the relief fund and reestablish a level of normalcy.

One thing I want to keep doing is continue to create content. If you check my Youtube channels, I've been updating those, and I plan to really catch up with my blog over the next several days. I feel it is our responsibility to press on with our daily lives, and if I can keep helping to entertain and even educate people, then I feel I'm doing my job.

In addition to that, I do plan on putting forth more efforts towards the relief fund. If you follow my QuirkyLife channel you'll have a preview of that, but my main channel update for the coming week will be all about that :) So stay tuned!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Here's a video I made in Japanese (with English subs) about the awesome language-learning resource, Lang-8. Enjoy!

By the way, a huuuge thank you to Lang-8 for putting this vid on their Facebook fanpage!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tweet Log 16 (December)

Continuing my story through tweets... start at the beginning here.

Go back to part 15.


I now realize how good my jpn friends are at enunciating - I met a girl from Osaka yesterday who spoke to me naturally and I was lost o.o

Blog Post: Motivation ideas - Jigsaw puzzles!

A few more days until finals are over, then I do plan to get back in the groove of things :3

Wow, how long has it been since I tweeted? Final exams went fine, but I'm going to Belgium today! Busy busy!

Blog Post: Tweet Log 12 (August)

At the airport! Happy to have a bit of internet ^^ Here's hoping I'll be able to blog from Belgium~ If nothing else, I'll be back on the 1st

Made it to Belgium! Exhausted and not enjoying the weather, but at least the snow's pretty :)

Ahhh the snow is such a hassle! But I can't wait to put up these pictures of our White Christmas :D

I'm stuffed! Can't wait to put up pictures of Christmas dinner as well... part 2 tomorrow! Happy Holidays~ :D

Yeesh! While I planned to do lots of kanji SRS whlie in Belgium, the little time I have I've been spending on jigsaw puzzles... >.>

BUT at least I can listen to Japanese music while I do puzzles right? Better than nothing :P

A suit of armor in Osaka-jo! Pardon the glare of the flash XD

Blog Post: Winter Wonderland~ Come see pics of snow and food! Sending this from Belgium :D

Made it back home from Belgium! Just in time for the New Years~ Except it feels like 1AM for me and I have to stay up another 6 hours ;_;

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Using SRS to Learn Japanese

I've mentioned applications like Anki before, but I actually made a video explaining what an SRS is and how you can apply it to your Japanese study (and anything else you're studying!) Check it out~

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tweet Log 15 (November)

Continuing my story through tweets... start at the beginning here.

Go back to part 14.


Working on an essay for Tanizaki Junichiro's 'Some Prefer Nettles.' Interesting stuff actually :3

Man, I've only been managing 3 blog posts per month this semester. So much schoolwork.. I am trying to stay consistent with that though!

Just spent almost three hours helping translate for this poor older Japanese woman who barely speaks a word of english. Good practice~!

Just started watching Freeter, Ie wo Kau! Also recently started Juui Dolittle. So much to watch XD

Blog Post: Japanese Core 2000 And a discussion of my Japanese study habits!

As I mentioned in my blog, I'm getting back into and the change is refreshing. Need to go to bed but I can't stop doing flashcards!

School's getting crazy busy! I'm filming a video for Japanese class tomorrow, though, so that will hopefully be fun ^^;

I'll be seeing Akanishi Jin tomorrow! So excited XD

Just look at that headgear! In Osaka-jo~

I've been doing my epic chores and just leveled-up. I'm a Level 6 Maiden of Juggled Priorities now! #EpicWinApp

Back home for the Thanksgiving break! Been sooo absent when it comes to online stuff lately, plan to change that very soon :)

Blog Post: Tweet Log 11 (July)

More headgear in Osaka-jo. I like the one with the antlers :p

So while we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Belgium, that doesn't stop my remote family from celebrating it in the US :) Happy Thanksgiving!

サンクスギビングとフットボール | Lang-8 #lang8

I do believe this last week of classes will be my toughest of the semester. Almost done with a blog post, so I plan to post it tomorrow :)

Blog Post: Drama Review for Tokyo Dogs!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Facebook Fanpage

Quick update! I've just started up a Facebook fanpage for this blog, so if you're interested on having access to updates through Facebook please check it out! Just click the "Like" button at the top of the page and you're set :)

While I plan to just use it to post updates to blog entries and videos for now, I do plan to have more Facebook-exclusive content in the future. I already posted a welcome video, for example, and will probably post pictures, links, etc.

Here's the corresponding Youtube video to this blog post.

Like I mentioned in the video, I really want to thank you guys for the support! Even though this is just a small blog and I'm so new to Youtube and whatnot, I'm so happy with the feedback I have been getting - I really appreciate it!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Movie review: Gantz

Yaaaay Nino on the big screen! Hehe, yeeeah, not gonna lie, that was the main reason I wanted to see this. For a Japanese film to come out in theaters was exciting enough though. I think a lot of fans of the original Gantz manga and anime would be interested in this, but as someone who has never read the manga nor watched the anime, I still think this is a movie worth checking out. Just a warning, I haven’t seen it in Japanese (yet!) since it was dubbed in English at the theater.

The plot of this was pretty dark and actually begins with the death of two friends, Kurono Kei (Ninomiya Kazunari) and Kato Masaru (Matsuyama Ken'ichi) as they are hit by a train. They come to in what looks like a room of some office building, along with several other people who claim to have been killed, and everyone is confused and distraught. A giant, mysterious black sphere in the room seems to be the key to the strange happenings, and through it they are equipped with special suits and weapons, and then teleported out of the room as they are sent on missions to destroy various targets. Throughout the movie the characters learn more and more as to what’s going on and form close relations as they are stuck in these crazy circumstances together, with small glimpses of their old lives but no apparent way out of their situation. The film ends at a cliffhanger, as there will be a sequel to follow.

I was surprised by how much I liked this movie. I’m not usually into action for the sake of action, and I didn’t think this film would be much more than that. But the whole movie was very character-driven, and the story was much deeper than I had expected. I’m not sure how well the movie followed the original story (so if it doesn’t that might bother people), but seeing the movie on its own, I enjoyed it for what it was. I also really enjoyed the acting – both Matsuyama and Nino impressed me, and I thought everyone else did a decent job too, so I didn’t really have any complaints there. The aspect that really pushed this to the next level were the visuals – this movie was so high budget compared to what I’m used to seeing from Japan. Not to say that Japanese movies usually have terrible effects per say, but the special effects in Gantz were especially good, which just made the whole experience a lot more fun. So while initially I did just see this for Nino, the movie offered a lot more, which made me happy and excited for the sequel.

There were still aspects I didn’t like, however, although the biggest thing didn’t really have anything to do with the movie itself: the English dubs. They were terrible. I generally always prefer to watch something in its original form anyway, with subtitles if I need them, but these dubs were especially bad and unfortunately made a big difference. So that fact made it hard to fairly judge this movie. For example, while I do think the acting was good from what I could tell and due to my familiarity with the actors, I think their performance was virtually ruined by their English voices. It really was that bad. Something else that I didn’t like about some parts of the movie was the pacing, and it was also hard to tell whether it was due to the dubs or just a flaw of the movie. Some scenes were just a little too drawn out, or perhaps needed some extra music or something, and they came off as rather slow and unnatural. Aside from that, a personal pet peeve from the movie was the fact that the characters never used their weapons when they were supposed to (and for little apparent reason…). That reeeally frustrated me as it just got to the point that it wasn’t believable. You have a gun that makes things explode and a giant, slow-moving target… just freaking shoot it! But that was just a detail. The last complaint I have may just be a personal thing – while I understand it is an action movie, I think the violence went a little bit overboard at times. I’m just thinking of a particular scene at the beginning (if you’ve seen the movie, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about) where I was really getting sick of the blood and guts. Most of the movie was fine, though, but just take that as a warning to maybe skip that scene if you really hate gore.

Ultimately, this was a difficult movie to review, since I only had access to see it in English dubs, not to mention I know little to nothing about the original story and thus do not know if the movie did it justice. But I was intrigued and entertained enough to want to buy this movie as soon as it comes out so that I can watch it in Japanese – so I do think that says something. I also can’t wait for the sequel to come out; I heard that this time they might just subtitle it for the US theatrical realease! So there you have it - great actors, interesting story, awesome visuals and fun action; if that stuff appeals to you, I’d urge you to give it a shot and watch the Gantz movie (in Japanese!)

By the way, here's a video version of this review:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Heisig's Method in a Nutshell

Earlier this week I posted a video explaining how Heisig works:

This was a lot of fun to make! I haven't been drawing anything in a while, so I enjoyed making those sketches. I'm perhaps considering making more of these, teaching a kanji in a short video with my own stories and pictures. It's pretty time-consuming though, so we'll see. Anyone interested in seeing more of this kind of content? Let me know in a comment here or on Youtube :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tweet Log 14 (October)

Continuing my story through tweets... start at the beginning here.

Go back to part 13.


Blog Post: Epic Journey of Summer 2010! Part 5 (Germany)

Anyone see the movies "Shabake" with Tegoshi Yuuya? I've been watching the second one, "UsoUso." Soooo weird XD

I've been doing my epic chores and just leveled-up. I'm a Level 3 Wench of Undesirable Tasks now! #EpicWinApp

Okay. Probably a stupid question. Anyone know how to find a news article or something IN Japanese?

I click on a Japanese headline in the Japan Time Online website, and the article's in english... O.o;

HOLY CRAP, while I didn't bring magazines, I do have my Hana Yori Dango Final booklet with a ton of text! There is hope for this assignment!

A random statue we saw in Osaka. I think it was of a scientist or something..

Hmmm... anyone know how to end a news broadcast in Japanese? Like 'that's all the time we have, thank you for watching..."

I can't find a full news broadcast in Japanese anywhere! XD

Hmm.. I had a little more trouble than usual speaking Japanese today. Kept reverting to English.. hope it's just because I'm so tired @_@

The NHK building in Osaka. I was actually super excited when I saw this and had to go inside haha

Blog Post: Review of the Arashi album, Boku no Miteiru Fuukei!

Starting a series of pics from Osaka castle. Here's a shot of the moat. It was soooo hot outside!

Have a little extra time... Tonight is the Great Mouse Detective in Japanese XD

ちょっと時間があります! | Lang-8 #lang8

I've been doing my epic chores and just leveled-up. I'm a Level 4 Wench of Gainful Employment now! #EpicWinApp

A shot of Osaka-jo from the outside looking in o.-

Blog Post: Tweet Log 10 (June)

A cool little structure next to Osaka-jo. It says... something about education?? Can't read that third kanji XD

Crossing the bridge.... about to enter Osaka-jo!

Went to karaoke last night for the first time in a while! カラオケ最高〜!

The outer walls of Osaka-jo. Is there usually supposed to be water?... In any case, all of the green was pretty ^^

Blog Post: Cooking Adventures - Katsu!

There it is! Osaka castle! So pretty~ ^^

A golden tiger that's in the museum inside of Osaka-jo.

I've been doing my epic chores and just leveled-up. I'm a Level 5 Maiden of Well Made Plans now! #EpicWinApp
Pretty gold flower design! Inside of Osaka-jo~

Taking some much-needed relaxing time. Every once in a while, I have to tell homework, "you can wait." :P

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Basics of Reading Japanese

So here's my first little Japanese-centered lesson! This is just a very basic look at how the writing system works in Japan. While many of you are probably aware of most of this stuff, I wanted to go over the basics before moving on to some more intermediate materials and actual study methods.

By the way, here's a video version of this lesson :)

Many people I know who are just starting to learn Japanese aren't too worried about reading or writing - I was like that too, at first. I loved listening to the language and what excited me was the idea of understanding and speaking it, while reading and writing did not appeal to me very much. There are several reasons for this...

1. Too hard.
If I didn't know any Japanese and I looked at a block of text, it would be overwhelming. All those foreign symbols are pretty scary - how can anyone read this stuff?? There's way too much to learn, the way it all works together is way too confusing, and even if it is technically possible to learn it, the sheer amount of work you need to put into it would just not be worth the effort.

2. Boring.
Not only would learning all those symbols be incredibly difficult, the idea of memorizing character after character with no end in sight does not sound very exciting. Sure, they might be pretty to look at, but learning them by writing them over and over again? Boooring...

3. Unnecessary.
Who says I need to read or write in Japanese anyway? My goal is just learning how to understand what people are saying and know how to answer back. That's sounds like a lot more fun anyway. Why should I go through the trouble of learning a whole new syllabary? I don't need to be literate in order to learn how to speak right?

Wrong. Sometimes you may not realize just how important reading or writing can be when learning a language. Not only is being literate very useful in its own right, it's also incredibly useful in learning how to speak as well. And I'm here to convince you that it's not only necessary, there are ways to make is easy and fun too!

First, let's go over the basic elements of the Japanese writing system. There are actually three (four?) different alphabets.

1. Hiragana (ひらがな)
These are the basic building blocks of sound in Japanese. They can be used to write general Japanese words or parts of words. There are 46 of them in a set, encompassing sounds like a, i, u , e, o, ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, sa, shi, su, se, so... etc. What's nice in Japanese is that there are only 5 different vowels and thus a limited number of different sounds you can make, so pronunciation is pretty straightforward. Hiragana are generally pretty round and curvy.

I would start learning the hiragana first. There aren't too many of them and I find them easier to learn, probably because they all look so different from each other. This way you'll start to get used to how the phonetic alphabet works. I learned them in small groups, write each of them out individually a few times, and cemented that knowledge through flaschcards or memory games.

2. Katakana (カタカナ)
Katakana are also simple phonetic sounds, just like hiragana, and it's the same set of 46. The difference in usage is that katakana is used for foreign words (things like "coohii" and "hambaagaa" are derived from the English words "coffee" and "hamburger"and would thus be written in katakana). There are a few other exceptions where you can use these, such as for sound effects, certain names, or sometimes for emphasis. While they sound the same as hiragana, they are generally more angular and boxy.

Learning katakana is the next step, since I find them slightly more difficult to learn, mainly due to the fact that several of them look very similar (such as ソ and ン... I swear there's a difference there...) I learned them just like I did hiragana, in small groups and with flashcards, and they're really not bad either.

Together, Hiragana and Katakana are referred to as simply "Kana" and make up the phonetic characters of Japanese. Now, once you've learned them, take a moment to pat yourself on the back and go look at a text of Japanese. You'll start recognizing some symbols! Sure, you might not know what anything means, but instead of looking like a bunch of gibberish, you'll start to see sounds instead. Let yourself feel super excited, it's such a huge step, and use that excitement to get that confidence you need to know you can learn this. The next part's a little tougher, but it's just as doable as the kana.

3. Kanji (漢字)
This is the big, scary element of the writing system. Most kanji look much more complicated than any of the kana, and there are literally thousands of them. They're actually based off of Chinese characters, which were brought over to Japan long ago. Instead of signifying a sound, each kanji has a certain meaning. For example, the rather simple symbol "人" can be pronounced in several different ways (such as "hito" or "jin") but the meaning stays the same: person (or people). So not only are there tons of kanji that can be combined to make words, there are usually a couple of different pronunciations for each kanji, depending on the context. This is generally what overwhelms people (although I'm here to say don't be discouraged!)

Kanji can take months, even years to learn. But I think that learning them bit by bit is totally acceptable - you'll start recognizing more and more as you learn new words. Plus, you don't have to learn every single kanji to be literate. So it really is more doable than it sounds. More concrete lessons to come!

4. Romaji?
I just wanted to briefly mention what is sometimes considered to be a fourth alphabet: romaji. This is just spelling Japanese words out with roman letters. Instead of 日本 (Japan), you would write "nihon." Sure, using romaji is useful at the very beginning when you don't know how to pronounce anything yet, but the faster you stop using romaji the better. It's just not used in Japan, and if you use it for too long, it gets difficult to transfer into kana and kanji. Trust, me, once you get used to how things traditionally work, seeing things written in romaji will start to feel very painful to look at...(that's a good sign!)

So there you have it! A look at all the different syllabaries in the Japanese writing system. It can seem scary as first, but once you start pulling in the part you'll realize it's really not that bad. There are plenty of ways to make reading and writing easy and fun to learn, not to mention lots of methods to keep yourself motivated along the way. I'm hoping to help with that a little bit in my blogs! Hope this helps~

Saturday, January 22, 2011


So this week has been my Youtube debut!

I've been enjoying the process and hope I can continue to maintain the channel successfully. Filming myself is nerve-wracking and awkward, but I think I can get used to it :P The main thing I'm worried about is just taking the time to edit the vids together, coming up with enough ideas to keep it going, etc. I knew this would be the case, but the reality is that making videos is very time consuming, so we'll see if I can keep this up!

Anyway, here are my three intro vids I made in English, Japanese, and French...


Introduction (Japanese) 自己紹介 (日本語)

Introduction (French/Francais)

So this way you get a little preview of my plans, and hear what I sound like in different languages. I've just launched this thing a couple of days ago, so it's still a little empty over there - please drop by and leave a comment, I'd really appreciate it! :D

Friday, January 14, 2011

Motivation Ideas: Song Puzzle

So going along with similar ideas from my last post about motivation, I came up with a new activity to help with motivation. This time, the method itself deals directly in helping learn Japanese. With the previous method, I created a jigsaw puzzle from a drawing. This time, instead of a picture, I did it with a Japanese song.

It’s pretty simple: find the lyrics to a song you like (in Japanese, of course, hopefully with as much kanji as possible). Print them out with a decently sized font and then cut out the lyrics so that each piece is an individual word. Set up tasks for yourself and whenever you complete a task, award yourself a word at random. Then try to piece together the song! This way, you’ll be exposed to kanji you may not know well, pay closer attention to grammar and vocab, understand when to use which particles, etc. And you’ll also have an easier time learning the song by heart if you’re continuously exposed to it.

I used a song that I was already familiar with: Tsubasa wo Kudasai. It’s a pretty and fairly short children’s song that has rather simple lyrics. While I already knew how to sing it, I had never paid much attention to the mechanics of the sentences, the kanji, or even the meaning of some parts. I separated the song into different sections, first verse, second verse, chorus, etc., and then pieced the song together one section at a time before moving on to the next section. With this simple song and separation method, I didn’t have way too many pieces to have to put together at once, so it was much more fun and doable.

The task that I used this method for were my SRS kanji reviews. While I finished going through Heisig’s Remember the Kanji by the beginning of my school semester, it was hard keeping up with it during the semester, especially since I had only briefly seen many of those kanji at the end and didn’t know them very concretely. By the end my winter vacation started I had over 800 kanji in backlog… So I decided to create a little motivation for myself with this puzzle song. The song I picked had just over 80 words in it so it worked out very well – for every 10 kanji I would get through in my backlog, I would give myself a word. By the time I finished going through my entire SRS, I would have completed the song.

After trying this method out, as an experiment, there are things that worked, and other things that I would change. For one, I didn’t give myself word pieces as I went, that was just too much trouble to constantly have to pay attention every time I finished ten more kanji. Generally, I would wait until the end of the day, count up the kanji I went through that day, and give myself the according number of words. Also, all the bits of paper were kind of a hassle. Originally I had paper clipped each section of the song together, and would take off the paper clip one section at a time so I could draw a word from each verse in order. I kept all of these papers in a small ziploc bag, which was nice to travel with, but it was nevertheless a ton of little pieces that were hard to put together and easy to lose. So what I ended up doing was gluing them down to some thin cardboard after I finished a section so I could keep track of them more easily.

As to whether this method is effective… It was for me! It motivated me to get through my kanji, and I know the kanji in the song better than I used to. But, I was already very familiar with the song beforehand, and I think it would have been virtually impossible to piece it together otherwise. I liked the jigsaw puzzle better, I must say, with a picture instead of a song. The visual aspect is more exciting, albeit less educational. Overall, I plan to do this again and think it’s worth trying out, but it miiight be more trouble than it’s worth?

Anyway, just throwing another idea out there! Good luck with your studies~ :D

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tweet Log 13 (September)

Continuing my story through tweets... start at the beginning here.

Go back to part 12.
Go forward to part 14.


Blog Post: Tweet Log 9 (April/May)

Weeeird cat... thing... We saw this on a sign in a mall. Anyone know what it's for? O.o

A bunch of masks that was for sale in Asakusa XD

So I downloaded TweetDeck recently and have been having trouble posting anything in Japanese with it. Anyone know how to fix this?

Arashi's Love Rainbow pv is out! It's not as silly as the title makes it out to be XD But I like the song, and the video's pleasant ^^

Japanese breakfast at Denny's (where they were playing freaking classical music!?) I need to learn to like natto..

Yakiniku! This is from the first time I had a yakiniku dinner with friends and it was so fun and sooo delicious!

I'm not even sure *what* this is... But we had such pretty foods in Japan XD

This semester is craaayzaaay... So hard to find any time/energy to do many kanji reps, but I still try to watch fun Japanese material @_@

Harajuku! It was soooo crowded!

Mustered the courage to talk to some random Japanese guy! (Granted it was an 'international setting' thing-still!) Helps boost my confidence

More of Harajuku. We didn't see anyone *wearing* really crazy outfits, but we still saw some crazy outfits!

Watching Rookies! MAN does the teacher guy love to yell! haha XD

Last pic I have of Harajuku for now. I believe we actually went inside this store. Everything was just so crowded!

Reading my textbook for my Imperial Japan class might cut into my Japanese language reading time, but I'm least I'm still learning a lot :D

A shot of the pond (lake?) at Ueno Zoo. Despite the weather not being great, it was still so pretty~

Had over an hour-long conversation that was predominantly in Japanese today. A little braindead, but had a good time with nice people ^^

Mmm, soba. Got this at one of those places where you get a ticket from a vending machine and that's how you order.

I've been doing my epic chores and just leveled-up. I'm a Level 2 Seeker of Employment now!

Used my new tamago-yaki pan and onigiri molds today to make my first cutesy bento! I'll have to post a picture later ^o^

My poor blog is being neglected ;_; I don't have the pics for my last summer trip post yet, so I'll put something else in the meantime~

Blog Post: Drama Review of Last Friends

After starting it about a year ago, I finally finished Orthros no Inu. Sooo dramatic haha, but I did really like it by the end ^^

This man we met in Japan had hand made this structure that he put on his ceiling. It was really cool~

A beach at Shizuoka. This is where we went to the best onsen evaaarrr~ ^^

忙しい | Lang-8 #lang8

Just got out of lockdown - I was in the building adjacent to where the shooting happened at UT Austin. What a morning...

So I'd totally forgotten about this - FINALLY getting around to posting the first cutesy bento I'd every made ^^

Saturday, January 1, 2011

CultureQuirk: Looking Back and to the Future

Another year gone by. Hope everyone had a great year, and that this coming year goes well too! I’ve been through so much in my own life and while I’ve made a lot of progress with Japanese, I hope to progress even more this year. But in this post I would just like to take a moment and look at how I’m doing in the blogging world. I started this blog at the beginning of 2010, and I can’t believe it’s already been a year!


I wasn’t exactly sure how to manage Twitter when I first started out, and I’m still not sure how to do so now. Initially, I had a much more structured approach to my tweets, but now I mainly just make random posts that are relevant to language, culture, my blog, etc. I do have over 150 followers, which makes me happy, but I’m not necessarily focused on getting a ton more followers or anything at this point. I would still like to use Twitpic more to post photos from Japan in the hopes that it serves as interesting content, I enjoy having conversation with other Twitter users, and I’ll definitely still tweet updates on my blog and whatnot, but the rest should remain pretty random. :D


I’m fairly comfortable with how my blog is going at the moment. I would love to post more, much more, but realistically I’m not sure that can happen. I would rather update a few times a month regularly than have huge gaps between periods of frequent updates. Back when I started this blog, I posted ten entries within the first month, a couple of months later the number dropped down to two, and the frequency eventually leveled out about three times a month. In the coming year I would like to bump that up to at least four times a month, about once week, and hopefully keep that steady.

Content-wise, I think I’d like to keep most of what I do so far. Drama Reviews, Cooking Adventures, Travel posts, Lang-8 posts - I think those are keepers. I realize that the Twitter logs I keep are mostly filler posts, but at the same time there is content there and I do know some people who are interested in reading them since they don’t have a Twitter account or rarely check it. Still, not sure if it’s quite worth it to post them, but unless it becomes really bothersome, I think I might still keep them. Once I catch up to the present, I’ll probably only post at the end of each month the Tweets I made for that month.

Something I would like to put a bit more focus on is posts on learning Japanese – more tips specifically related to Japanese language, as well as on motivation in general, since self-motivation is something I’m very interested in and is clearly useful when studying a language. Maybe some culture posts as well explaining certain traditions, exploring different cuisines, etc could also pop up.

As for future, new topics… I have a couple of ideas that I’m still forming. Like I said, I’d like to make more posts about Japanese learning, but I’d also like to maybe go even more specific than that. Maybe find a way to write progress reports on my own learning, detailing what works and what doesn’t for me. Also, I think I would like to try out making mini Japanese lessons as well. More about that down below, but I’ll see how it goes ^^

I also mentioned self-motivation, and while this may seem like something too general for this blog, I want to try to write about it in a way that specifically applies to learning Japanese. I have a couple of ideas, but again, I’ll see how it goes!

Other future topics I have in mind may not be easy to implement right now. I wish I had more Japanese video games – I would love to write reviews on them. Same with manga – I haven’t read too many different series in Japanese just yet, but I would also like to review those when I can. I may write about what I do have experience with so far if I need more material to post, but these topics may just be addressed at a later time.

Any opinions on content especially would be appreciated – and if you can think of new topics you’d like to hear from me, please let me know!


I plan to create a Facebook page very soon for CultureQuirk. Don’t necessarily have huge plans for specific Facebook-related things just yet, but it would be another way to connect for updates and whatnot (hopefully special content in the future though!) I know plenty of people who check Facebook a lot more often than they check Twitter, blogs, or even their emails. Expect the fanpage to come in the next month or so.


This is my biggest endeavor for the new year, and I’m not sure how it will go… I would like to join the jvlogging community over at Youtube and start making videos! I’m usually pretty camera shy, so this should be pretty interesting… at the same time, I do have some experience with making videos, and I have some ideas, so hopefully it will turn out alright. Mostly I think the videos will simply accompany the blog posts I’ve already made and will continue to make, but this is where I would also like to try some of my new ideas. For example, I’m thinking of making a video or two with some Japanese lessons (and then replicate the lesson in my blog). Hopefully the extra content will be helpful! I’d also like to take all of my footage from the trip I made to Japan and edit it into travel videos to talk about my experience, although that’s going to be sooo much work~

I definitely realize how time-consuming making videos is, so Youtube is a channel where I don’t want to promise too much! I have no idea how often I would be able to update, so this is more of an experiment. But I’d still really like to try it and hope I can make some interesting vids!

I actually already have the Youtube account made (I’ve just been using it to comment on other Jvloggers vids and whatnot) so if you’re interested in subscribing for future updates, here’s the link: Hopefully I’ll also be starting that up in the next month or so.


This isn’t too big of a change, but I actually have my own domain name! From now on I’ll be promoting my blog as “” (instead of ""). For now, it simply links back to this blog, but it’s a lot easier to remember and promote that way.

And there you have it! Please let me know what you think about how I’ve been doing things and my plans for the future – I would love to provide interesting and useful content for you guys! I’ll always try to improve this thing and have some high hopes this year – it is the year of the rabbit, after all!

I’m happy with how the past year’s been for this little blog. I don’t have a ton of subscribers or anything, but that doesn’t bother me – this has still been a really fun experience for me. I appreciate each and every visit and comment I get from you guys, the discussions I’ve been having on Twitter, Youtube, Lang-8, etc., and all the support I’ve been getting both online and off. I hope you’ll continue to follow me into 2011! Happy New Year everyone! あけましておめでとうございます!^o^/