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karice
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What is the best way to learn Japanese?

Immersion and deliberate practice.

Motivation and dedication/endurance are also necessary, but in terms of actionable steps, I'd recommend those two. I'd also recommend learning all four language skills -- learning to read and write kanji, in particular, really helps with listening and speaking in the long run.

Getting into the details, by immersion, I mean exposing yourself to as much Japanese reading and listening input as possible (e.g. anime/dramas on sites like Crunchyroll, and Japanese ebooks from sites like ebookjapan.jp). In conjunction with that, deliberate practice is about practicing the four language skills (listening and speaking, reading and writing) in a structured manner. Grade school courses in Australia aren't great, but if you're learning Japanese at university/college, you should have a reasonably well structured course.

If you're learning by yourself, as I did, I'd start by learning the Japanese alphabets (hiragana and katakana) -- the Anki flashcard program can help. Other than that, I'd use books like the Genki and Shadowing Japanese series.

As for kanji, there are a range of methods people have used (https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/kanji-study-methods/), but I think they're best tailored to one's language background. For example, because I learned Chinese as a child,using the Kanji Kentei series of books combined with Anki worked very well for me.

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Q: are Abe and his coalition helping or hurting their cause? If another leader w/o all the seediness was pushing this, would it be easier for them and it wouldn't spook the media as much?

Hm...I wouldn't call it "seediness..." but if we say something "without the controversial views on history" instead:

It's hard to say, because part of it has to do with the reaction from overseas, especially China, where it's Chinese nationalists that clamour whenever Japan starts doing anything they see as militaristic. I was talking with a friend the other day, and we agreed that Japan simply isn't going to be able to change its security policy without angering China any more--the best time to do so would have been during the cold war, when the 'other' was still the USSR.

But at the same time, Japan itself is still rather anti-militaristic. I'm currently reading a chapter of a book where the authors compared public attitudes towards the military across a number of countries. Most positive was the US at 90%; Japan was somewhere around 30-40% positive, IIRC. So a lot of the pushback is from the Japanese people. Though this is slowly changing, in ways that are a bit too complex to be answered here...

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So what's the deal with Australian wildlife? There's plenty of internet jokes about how treacherous and nasty it is down there.What has been your personal experience?

sikvod00

Eh...? Well, it's normal for me, so I suppose I don't really regard it as dangerous, but we have quite a few poisonous spiders and snakes, as well as jellyfish and sharks etc in the water. I've only encountered the spiders and jellyfish, personally, but we just follow certain precautions to minimise bites and their effects. It's a matter of perspective, really - people are far more likely to die from domestic violence or road accidents.

What might be most surprising to visitors is that kangaroos and koalas aren't cuddly little things. My brother's been boxed by a kangaroo before, and a wild koala would try to scratch if you tried to pick it up. ^^

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Hi. Have you ever gotten the opportunity to meet any fellow bloggers or online friends IRL? If so, how awkward was it?

sikvod00

Just once. I’m not sure if it’s me or if it’s where I live, but I don’t really have that many opportunities to meet up with the people I’ve met online… Anyway, I happened to go to Japan at a time when a fellow Macross fan lived in Tokyo, so we arranged to meet up. It was awkward for reasons that had nothing to do with the fact that we’d ‘met’ online, so-to-speak — let’s just say that we chose what is probably the worst meeting place for someone who was not all that familiar with that particular train station (the someone being me, not my friend). ^^

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About karice:

ACG fan and amateur translator, currently working on Chihayafuru and a series of posts on Anime 'Writing'. よろしく!

the land down under