TOPIK Challenge!

Hello again!

I decided to take the 43rd TOPIK I in November, so I registered for it. I wanted to take TOPIK II, but right now I’m at a stage where TOPIK I is too easy and TOPIK II is too hard. Also, I’ve never taken the test before so I wished to get used to the format first.  That’s why I plan to take the 44th TOPIK II in January 2016.

My first goal is to pass level 2 with at least 90 points in each part of the test. My second goal (TOPIK II) is to score at least 100 points and even though it doesn’t mean I will pass any level, it means a lot for me. However, if I do pass I will be extremely happy. My main problem is vocabulary because I haven’t found yet a method that fits what I “should” learn.  I’m a more analog learner so I need pieces of paper and write to my heart’s content.  For now, I’m going to try to follow this method and hopefully, I will be able to write here about my results or process.

Any suggestions on learning and remembering new words in the long term?

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Book Haul May-August 2015

This one was super overdue.

In late May, I started a Japanese course back home and we used Japanese for Busy People I and since my professor knew I could read Kana, she told me to get the Kana edition. I also bought Basic Japanese Kanji vol. 1 (which I noticed it is sold out online).  It covers 205 Kanji, and it has an interactive CD-ROM; the CD has reading quizzes, printable Kanji Flash Cards, and some other exercises. It is also under 20USD so it’s even better (I bought it for $14 online)

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I love how Japanese for Busy People is quite simple to follow and it has a lot of writing exercises using and adding the grammar and core points of the lesson. The only thing I wish it had is an audio solely focusing on the vocabulary presented. Below are some pages of the 1st lesson:

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On the left are the grammar points and on the right the dialog and vocabulary. They also add notes below the vocabulary for explaining briefly culture or grammar.

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Writing Exercises and new vocabulary

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What I like about Basic Japanese Kanji is that first they give you some mnemonics, and the most used words as well as common compound words. Every two Kanji, you get a short reading section using those Kanji as well as others and get a reading comprehension quiz. Mayor drawbacks are: it has no on-yomi, kun-yomi readings and if you are just starting (like me) then you don’t have much vocabulary so it can be a bit hard. On the other hand, it is good for acquiring vocabulary and excellent for reading.

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At the end of the chapter (10-14 Kanji), you get a chapter test. This photo of the first test but as you go learning, it all becomes Japanese. Overall, I think it is a really good book to learn Kanji and use them actively through reading simple things. I do hope they keep adding volumes and fix some of the mistakes in this book.

While I was in Busan, I went to a Bookstore in 부산대 (also went to another one in Shinsegae) and bought:

The latest 3 volumes of 밤을 걷는 선비 and a book for learning Japanese.

I should add that the Korean drama and the manhwa are loosely related. I was really disappointed in it so I stopped watching it.

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Sorry for the bad quality!

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It is super colorful, but that’s a trademark of most Korean language books. I plan to complement it with both my Korean studies and Japanese for Busy people because it starts with Kanji so I feel it’s more natural. Although, the Kanji has furigana at first, the book stops giving it when the word is one from a previous chapter or is in the exercise section.

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Kana and vocabulary

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The last 2 books were given for free during my TaLK National Orientation.

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You can find the e-book version for free at: http://www.kscpp.net

That’s it for now!

Returned from the Land of the Dead

Hello, again!~~~~

I’ve been MIA for some time now, but I think that’s always the case with me. Some of you may know I’m currently living in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Korea (and will be for sure for at least 6 months) as an English teacher through the TaLK Program.

Speaking about TaLK, I received the acceptance notice on July 1st, so I spent most of that month running around getting everything I needed and making arrangements with the bank, closing accounts or paying bills. I arrived on July 29th in Seoul and was there for about 4 days before I headed down to Busan for the TaLK National Orientation together with other fellow scholars. I met a lot of new people and I liked that everybody was friendly towards everyone, but sometimes it felt a bit clique-like and because I’m the only one from Puerto Rico, I felt a bit lost because I don’t quite fit anywhere XD. On the other hand, that made sure that I was surrounded by  diverse people all the time.

I also had a Provincial Orientation, which lasted three days. I had a blast, but it was also exhausting because of all the things we did. We went to a temple, bowed 108 times (I thought my knees would give out) and immediately went for a hike of 1 hour -oneway-. Next day, I couldn’t even bend my knees or get down at all and I was like that for a whole week. School-wise, I’ve been working for two weeks but teaching for just one. I won’t say I’m an excellent teacher, but I can say I’m finding my feet in the classroom.

I do plan to keep writing about this experience, next time I will go more in-depth about the National Orientation.

PS. you’ve might have noticed that I’m writing short stories (more like reflexions about certain things) and posting them here, I hope you have enjoyed them ^^.