Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Second Hand Store and Learning to Read

Not having a car in Hokkaido has advantages and disadvantages.  One of the big advantages is not have to dig it out every day.  We see our neighbors constantly battling to dig out their cars from the everyday snow fall.  At times, it would be convenient to have a car to go places, but most of the time I don’t mind walking.  It’s exercise and Ted tries to teach me Japanese words and phrases as we go along or we just talk. 

 Today we walked to second hand store to find an iron. It was snowing when we left the apartment, but later the sun came out.  People take advantage of the times when the snow stops to try to catch up and remove snow from their roofs or walk ways.

I saw two Japanese irons for sale at 1100 yen and 1300 yen.  They looked pretty new but were very light weight and didn’t have the automatic shut off feature.  Since I’m not working on a project requiring an iron at the moment, I decided to wait and see if there is a better iron next time.

I did find a section of children’s books and picked this one out.  It is all in hiragana, so I thought it would be good for learning/reviewing the hiragana symbols and for learning vocabulary. I’m excited about my new (used) book.

The Japanese writing system is made up of hiragana, katakana, and kanji.  Romanji is the latin alphabet of the Japanese words.  Hiragana uses 48 basic symbols, plus some modifications made by adding a double slash mark or little circle to change the sound. It is the most basic, first taught to children, and is what I am trying to learn.  Most signs have a mixture of hiragana, katakana, and kanji, but the train signs are in hiragana, so I have been trying to sound them out as we go through each train station.  One of the most difficult things about seeing signs is not being able to just look them up in the dictionary, like you could with French or German or another language that uses letters like English.

Year of the Dragon Update
I’ve worked on the dragon since the last photos.  I’ve finished the spine.  I worked on the legs, but still need to outline them.  They are done with SDA Noir (black) and the gold scaly things are Kreinik braid #4. The black part of the belly, tail, and horns are also SDA Noir done in vertical satin stitch.  The finial spines are done in Bijoux, to be outlined with Accentuate.

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