Hey our Twitter peep @Navarr sings the days of the month in Japanese.
Nope, he’s not Japanese. His pronunciation *is* really good though.
I asked the ultimate nitpicker, my wife, and she says that though she can tell he’s not a native speaker, it’s only, なんとなく. The way a native English teacher could get an inkling that someone were not a native English speaker, even if they were totally fluent. She also said that if she were his teacher she wouldn’t have anything specific to correct about his pronunciation.
Normally I would never recommend anyone learn anything about Japanese pronunciation from a non-native speaker, but listening to this won’t do you any harm!
Looking for bilingual Japanese study materials? Check out Santa Ponta!
My bilingual-bicultural friend Ayumi Meegan has published a Japanese-English bilingual book called Santa Ponta’s Journey.
Santa Ponta's Journey: a bilingual Children's Story
You can get Santa Ponta from the official Santa Ponta website, and alternatively for a slightly higher price on Amazon.com… you know, in case you’ve got Amazon Gift Certificates to burn or something.
The story is uniquely Ayumi, and the illustrations are all done by Japanese illustrator Yoko Nishimura. The book is full color and fully bilingual. It has been popular with Japanese living in the states trying to learn English thus far, but there are also quite a few English speakers trying to learn Japanese who have picked it up. I bought this to use as a tool to keep my future kids bilingual – I hear it’s not easy, will need all the help I can get!
Is this any better than Rikai-chan or something like that? Well… maybe not by any significant factor – but hey, it’s something new to try.
Reading Tutor Table of Contents
The categories are pretty cool. Loosely translated…
Section 1: About Japanese
Section 2: History and Famous People
Section 3: Comparative Culture: How’s that work in your country?
Japan’s Social Problems
This social problem section has everything from “ijime” (school bullying) to the problems that Japanese returning from long periods of time overseas face (海外帰国子女).
I think this site is worth a look. Here’s a shot of the interface.
Reading Tutor Interface
Let me know what you think about this. I have only used it enough to learn the functionality and write this blog post. My wife was using it to teach Japanese to someone a while back and it sounded kinda useful.
What better gift for a Japan-loving Osaka-friendly Kansai-dreaming friend of yours than a Takoyaki USB Memory Stick? Afterall, the best gifts are the things that no one in their right mind would ever go out and buy on their own… but on the other hand would be happy to receive! Yummy.
Takoyaki USB Memory Stick (1GB)
For the price this USB stick is hardly cheap storage, but hey, it’s got a takoyaki on it!!!
You know… I have blogged about Takoyaki a ridiculous number of times on this blog. I count more than 10.
You can also try our Kansai-ben iPhone application as well! Other variations of せやな are included in the App. For example, せやけど、and せやせや。It’s a very common phrase that I’m sure you have heard if you have friends from the Kansai area.
Finally, a place where you can buy a Fully-Automatic Takoyaki Maker online and have it shipped overseas. If you still haven’t made that last minute holiday gift purchase for that special Japanese-loving someone, this might be worth a look!
Automatic Takoyaki Maker, not cheap, but awesome!
Did I say “fully automatic?” Why yes, yes I did.
I have actually never seen a fully-automatic Takoyaki Maker before – this is pretty swank!
This thing flips and rounds the Takoyaki for you, so you don’t have to be all busy with the stick turning them. Well, not -as- busy anyway. As you can see from the video, you have to be sure that one side is pretty well cooked before you start the motor to get the auto flipping going, but once you get it right it’s pretty cool. Plus, it’s fun to watch.
If you’re still wondering what to get your very special Japan geek for the holiday season, maybe this Takoyaki maker is worth a look.
Check the links below if you want some more background information on Takoyaki!