Do You Want to Learn Another Languages from A Robot?!

Hello there! How have you been? It’s been a while since I posted my last blog entry. I am sorry for the delay. Recently I am busy for painting stuff. I haven’t posted anything on my other blog either,  and I know I have to do this soon.

Today, I want to listen to your opinions and share mine with you. I hope I can listen to lots of opinions from you.

Well, my question is “Do you want to learn another languages from a robot?”.  A couple of days ago, I found a robot which can teach us English on Amazon. I thought it was very interesting.

会話ロボット

Isn’t the robot cute? You can see more details here: https://www.amazon.co.jp/AKA-Musio-%E8%8B%B1%E8%AA%9E%E5%AD%A6%E7%BF%92AI%E3%83%AD%E3%83%9C%E3%83%83%E3%83%88-%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E6%AD%A3%E8%A6%8F%E4%BB%A3%E7%90%86%E5%BA%97%E5%93%81-MSX510017SB/dp/B06XPD111V/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498441590&sr=8-1&keywords=%E8%8B%B1%E8%AA%9E%E3%83%AD%E3%83%9C%E3%83%83%E3%83%88

The robot itself costs around 1000 American dollars and plus you need textbooks and you need to pay to “Friend Plan” ( I don’t know what it is.). It sounds like it costs a lot.

However, according to Amazon, it can teach us natural English. Do you want this?

Since I have not used the robot yet, I can’t say the robot is useful or helpful. Even so, I prefer learning conversational English from a real teacher. I doubt how much it can teach us “real conversation”. I think languages relates to history, culture, religion or other stuff. The robot might become a conversational partner, but I don’t think we can enjoy our conversations what we talk. Do you know what I mean?

I think I don’t like it if the robot shows sarcasm. I probably feel awkwardness. If the robot swears, I probably don’t like it either. The robot might work out for beginner level students, though. It might be good to practice pronunciation or ask them unknown words, difficult phrases and so on. Well, I think we can do the stuff without the robot anyway.

As a result, I don’t think I need the robot for my English, but it might be good for my Italian. Compared to my English level, my Italian is really poor. In that case, the robot will help me a lot to learn basic stuff.

I think the best way to learn another languages is to use both human and high technology, but I still believe that human skills are better than high technology.

Maybe in the future we will have robot teachers in school, and they teach us school subjects. What do you think?

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope I can see you next week! Have a great day!

 

-Yumi

 

Where There Is a Will, There Is a Way

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope 2017 brings lots of laughter and happiness to you all!

Today I want to write about English to motivate you. This entry is for all language learners, and this blog entry is the very first one this year.

The very last part of last year I made one of my dreams come true. It was studying abroad in Italy to improve my painting skills. It took five years, but I am glad that I made it. Before sharing the story, I want to share the English part first.

I started studying conversational English to study abroad  8 years ago. One day I found a very beautiful horse painting on a porcelain tile online. I couldn’t speak English at all then even though I could read and write. Our English education is based on grammar, and we don’t learn how to communicate with people in English at school. I wanted to learn how to paint the horse, but the class was in Arizona, the States. I couldn’t understand conversational English and how I could take the class……… There was no choice to study conversational English for me. Since then, taking the horse painting class had become one of my dreams.

There was a really good free online language studying site 8 years ago. I met an American boy who was 15 years old, just started studying conversational Japanese. He and I made good friends in the site. One day I asked him if he could teach me conversational English, in turn I would love to teach him Japanese for free. Since then he had become my conversational partner. We started exchanging languages on Skype every day. Sometimes we Skyped more than for 12 hours a day to improve my English and his Japanese. We exchanged our languages until he graduated from high school.  I really do appreciate what he did for me. After several years, he came to Japan to visit me twice. He became a fluent Japanese speaker and now he is getting a master degree at graduate university. Two years after studying conversational English, I made my dream come true. I studied abroad to take the horse painting in Arizona. It was my first trip alone  in the States. I met two really nice American ladies and since then, two of them have become my American moms.

English opened my world. One of the ladies whom I met in Arizona has run a porcelain school in Michigan. She asked me if I was interested in coming her school. I sad, “Yes!”. Since then she has been my closes female American friend. We have traveled a lot to take porcelain painting classes in the States. I have met lots of American painters here and there and made friend with them. Now, I have a lot of American moms in Alabama,Tennessee, Idaho and everywhere. Every year I have been to the Michigan school to improve my painting skills. I stay at her house and she has introduced her family, friends, culture, everything. She also has become my English teacher as well.

I also met several Americans ( one is American Jewish) and a Brit who were studying Japanese online 8 years ago. They all have become my language partners and we still have been exchanging languages on Skype. One of them become a professional online English teacher. He is teaching me English every single day on Skype. I do appreciate him a lot as well. My British friend visited me twice, and my daughter visited his two years ago. Now his family and my family are good friends. We sometimes Skype with our families.

While studying abroad alone in the Sates, I started being confident in conversational English even though I say funny things in English. One day I saw an advertizement of an international porcelain convention in Thailand. It was five years ago. A lady who is teaching Queen’s place, posted the advertizement on Facebook. She asked me if I was interested in coming to the show. I said, “Yes!” again. I have believed that if we want to do something, we shouldn’t hesitate anything. I went there with my Australian friend who had never met in person even though we had been friends on Facebook for years. I made good friends with her. We both won prizes.

Well, long story short, my dream that I made come true last year relates to the show. I saw some amazing works in the show. I figured out they were from an Italian guest artist. I was so inspired by her artwork. I asked her that I wanted to learn from her, but she said that she didn’t speak English. I was very disappointed at it but couldn’t give up to learn from her. I made friends with her on Facebook. After I returned to Japan, I messaged her. Her daughter replied me soon in English.

Her daughter told me that her mother would go to an international convention in Canada as a guest artist. I went to the convention to learn from her. I also took her classes in Texas, America as well. Then, finally I took her classes in Italy last December!

When I told my plan to study abroad in Italy alone to my husband and daughter, two of them dropped their jaws because they knew that I can’t handle Italian conversations at all. Two of them said they couldn’t believe that. I didn’t hesitate at all. I always grab all chances to make my dreams come true. I know where there is a will, there is a way.

I really think English opened my world much much wider and has made my dreams come true. Now, Italian will make my dreams come true. I know I have to study conversational Italian.

I want to say to all language learners, Don’t worry about your accents and mistakes. Languages are communication tools. I have a Japanese accent, but people understand my English very well. I have no problem to communicate with people in English. If you want to speak English, just start speaking English. Without speaking practice, you never ever come to speak English at all.  If you can handle two languages or three languages,  your world will become much much more international! I know it very well, and that’s why I am studying English and will study Italian!

Thank you so much for reading such a long blog entry. I know I have been making a lot of mistakes in my written English and I apologize it.

I hope this blog entry is helpful to keep studying another languages. I am thinking I want to publish a book with my experiences some day in the future. This is one of my dreams!!

-Yumi

Do You Know This Guy?

Hello there! How are you doing this weekend? I hope you all are relaxed and enjoying the weekend!

Today, I want to write about Japanese pop culture.  I want to introduce a Japanese transvestite guy. He is definitely outstanding from us.

He is not a pervert and just loves wearing  high school girl’s uniforms. Every weekend he shows up in Shinjyuku or Harajyku, Tokyo. He is getting more popular among young people, especially high school female students. When they find him, they ask him to get in a picture together. He loves it and enjoys it with young people. They say that when they find him, they believe that he brings them happiness. He is like a lucky charm for them.

セーラーおじさん

セーラーおじさん2

When I read the article, I thought he was very weird. I know young people love weirdness, but I couldn’t understand why he was popular. I think it relates to our weird culture, “Busa-Kawa”. It means ugliness and cuteness. It’s a female thing, and most of Japanese women like something looks cute and ugly. I don’t think he is cute and ugly even though I agree his is ugly, lol. For young people he seems like he has cuteness and ugliness.

Then, I researched about him. He started wearing the uniforms a couple of years ago because he thinks girl’s school uniforms are cute. He loves cute things, but he says that he is not gay. He doesn’t wear other female outfits. He just likes wearing only female school uniforms. He has a job as an engineer, and when he goes to his office, he wears a normal male suit. He has a family and very educated person who graduated from one of our top universities, Waseda University. He is good at speaking English, and he has an other job, a photographer for dolls.

The line, he is good at English, this line got my attention. I found a video clip he is speaking  in English. http://www.cnn.co.jp/video/13108.html He got an interview from CNN. He is saying that we should be confident whatever we are.

I think it’s good for Japanese culture to have that kind of people. We are so conservative and don’t like outstanding from others. We feel very comfortable when we belong to groups. However, is it good for us? I think it’s important to be ourselves and I agree with what he is saying in the interview. We shouldn’t look down on people who are different from us. We shouldn’t judge people from the factors like they have different religions, they are gays, they are transvestites or whatever. Everybody is different and we should respect each other. We should be proud of what we are.

Thank you as always for visiting my blog!

See you next weekend here again!

-Yumi

A Strong Will

Recently I’ve been keeping on reading books in English every single day, and it makes me very happy 🙂 It took more than five years for me to put it in my routine work. I tried to do a lot of things to make it routine, but I always gave it up. To keep my goal (I’ve set a goal to read 48 books in English every year), I always had to push myself at the end of year. It was very hard, and I regretted why I didn’t keep reading constantly. Even though I learned from my mistakes, I couldn’t keep on reading ever day.

However, this year is different from usual! Somehow, I can keep on reading every day. I want to think what changed me.

Firstly, I think I’ve improved my reading skills, and it has become easier for me to find certain books for me.
Secondly, I’ve been showing my reading progress in public to use Facebook and Twitter, and it has become my motivation to keep reading.
Thirdly, I think I finally joy to read in my second language.

I have several high goals for books. Someday I want to read more advance books that I’m used to reading in Japanese.
Through this thing, I learned keep going is the most important thing for me to improve my skills. I’ve known it, but it’s easy to say and hard to do.

I really want to use this method to improve my painting skills. I’m a moody painter, and I sometimes can’t paint. I’ve still been struggling with putting it in my routine work. I want to have a STRONG will to keep on painting every single day from now on to improve my painting skills!

My Phobia

Hi there! Long time no see!!! How have you been? I’ve been doing well, and I returned to Japan from Canada a couple of weeks ago.

Do you have phobias? Today I want to share my phobia with you. Before studying conversational English and studying abroad in the States, I hadn’t realized that I’m scared of some small talk. Seriously, I’m scared of small talk.

When I go to the States, people love speaking to STRANGERS. You receive a lot of small talk everywhere. Since we Japanese people are not good at small talk like American people do, I have no idea how I response it. It always makes me very nervous. You might not understand what I’m talking about. All right. I’m picking up some examples for you.

You are in a Wal-Mart and waiting for your turn in a line. When you get your turn, a casher speaks to you, “Hello? What’s up? Today is really pretty, isn’t it?”. I have no clue how I should response because in Japan we don’t receive such small talk at cashers. When we go to a restaurant, a waitress/waiter are more pushy. They love talking to us. Even though we order our meals, they sometimes come to our table and ask “Everything is OK? Don’t you want anything else? Did you watch a game last night? Bula bula bula………”. I know they show kindness and niceness to us customers to get more tips, but we don’t have tips in Japan. We don’t need such the service at the restaurants.

I still remember that when I was a kid, we had a first MacDonald in our small town. I was scared of ordering there because we had received small talk from an employee like that “Anything else? ” with a big smile. It was so weired for me. Since I was not used to it, I couldn’t refuse to order something else. I tended to spend more money.

As thinking about my experience at the MacDonald, I think American fast restaurants brought small talk to Japan with their fast foods. Now, I can handle it in Japanese, but I’m not good at it in my second language. I sometimes can’t response well when I soddenly receive unexpected questions from strangers at shops, restaurants, airplanes or wherever.

I hope after improving my speaking skills, I can response without feeling any stress.

Why Do You Learn English?

I read one of my Lang-8 friends’ journal entry today. It was very interesting. In the journal entry he asked why we learned English, and some of Japanese learners left their comments on it.
I think it’s sometimes good for us to make sure and clear our purpose why we learn another language. While learning it, we sometimes forget and loose the purpose. We sometimes loose our motivations of our another language.

In my case, I have some dreams and to make them come true, I’ve been learning English. My dreams are to become an international china artist, teacher and introduce one of our dying art, kutani painting to the world in English. To make my dreams come true, I’ve been learning English for 4 years.

I read some comments on his journal entry. I know many Japanese English learners think English is important in the future to our global society. I’ve heard a lot of commercials and see advertisements that English is important in the future, and we have to prepare the global society. However, when does it become important? Since I was a kid, I’ve been heard the phrases over and over again. I still don’t think everybody needs English in our lives. I think our English relates English business tightly. From younger to elderly many Japanese people are manipulated by mass media and think in a vague way that English is important to our lives.

I think that’s why we can’t improve our English comprehension skills. I also want to ask you why you study English. Can you answer to my question?

What Do You Think That Your Another Langauge Changes Your Character?

Do you think that another language for a person changes the person’s character?

I’ve been learning American English and compared to speaking in my first language, I think I can become more honest and can say more personal issues and topics in public. Basically, I don’t like telling and asking about my personal issues to my friends and tend to hide them, but it’s much easier for me to threw up my feelings and thoughts in English.

I think English is more direct language than Japanese, and I’ve been developing in the language. I mean my vocabulary of the languages is smaller than Japanese one’s and that’s why it’s much easier for me to express my feelings in a straight way. I also think I’m very curious about the languages and I can enjoy my feelings in English.

The feeling is a little bit strange, but I think it’s fun for me that I can tell anything what I can’t tell in my mother tongue! That’s because my second language sometimes can heal my feelings and become a therapy.

In other word, when I speak in English, I can become more assertive than when I speak in Japanese. I can straightly say “Yes” or ” No”. I also can be a little bit more opinionated person and can say my thoughts clearer.

What do you think that your another language changes your character?

Previous Older Entries