Grammar Points + Space Whales: the Best Way to Learn Japanese

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*Note of a failure: You might see that I spelled 'adventure' as アドベンチャinstead of アドベンチャー。In the script it is spelled correctly. Also, I wish I had drawn the whale bigger.



Grammar Edit: Lament of the Unicorn, the Remix

Did you study up with the help of a unicorn who yearned for the sea? Well, it is time to tweak that knowledge a bit. I have had some help from native Japanese speakers on Lang-8 to make the following sentences into much more natural and correct sentences.

From the user meguさん, this first correction...

Instead of ぼくだけ海が好きなせいかそういう気がするかもしれない
a more correct way of saying this would be ぼくだけ海が好きなせいかそういう気がする
or ぼくだけ海が好きなせいそういう気がするのかもしれない.

The reason being, せいか already has a connotation of かもしれない, so to use both in one sentence is redundant.  It might be like saying, "The reason I feel like that might be because I'm the only one who lies the sea maybe."

From the user Aoiさん:

家族と一緒にいるのに、いつもぼくだけがちがう気がする。Adding だけ reinforces the idea that the speaker alone is different.

The sentence 神様に 同感してくれるものを、ぼくまで送ってくださるようにお願いしても...
might be better as 僕と同じように感じている だれか僕のもとに送ってくださるように神様にお願いしても...

Because the unicorn is personified, instead of もの using 人 or だれか sounds better. Also notice the changes in wording (同じように感じている, 僕のもとに), and the change in sentence structure. You often hear that Japanese doesn't have a set sentence structure (besides the rule that the verb goes at the end), but the lack of official rules doesn't mean that there aren't natural inclinations to a certain order.

Looking at corrections like these can help you learn to discern what sounds more natural in your second language. If you want to see more of the corrections I received, and look a bit at the way that Lang-8 works, you can check out the entry where I mentioned the Unicorn Grammar Points. I highly recommend this free service to practice your writing skills and get some good help with your Japanese!


On Returning to America, and my Study Abroad Experience

Well, it has been about a month since I returned from Japan, and I think I have thought about my feelings at the time enough to sort them out. Oh yes, the handkerchief that my kind neighbor Mrs. Yamada gave me - "it's very absorbent," she told me, before she started crying - really came in handy on the plane out of Nagoya. But honestly I started missing Japan, and all the people I'd met there, long before it was time for me to leave. If you want to stop reading here, let me say that my general advice, whether you want to study abroad in Japan or elsewhere, is "Jump in, no regrets". Simply taking the plunge and going to a new country is part of that, whether you achieve all you set out to do or not.


Grammar Points + Unicorns: the Best Way to Learn Japanese

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The story of a young unicorn who loves the sea more than the sky. Going with a bit of a different format, the script is just below, with the grammar points bolded; below that you can find the specifics of the grammar points enumerated. 

Note: edits to this script with help from Lang-8 are here.

Even when I'm with my family, I always feel like I'm different. 

Maybe I feel that way because I'm the only one who likes the sea.

空より海が好きなユニコーンなんて、ありえないじゃないか? ぼく、一体なにものか?
A unicorn who likes the sea more than the sky -- isn't that unbelievable? What am I?

神様に 同感してくれるものを、ぼくまで送ってくださるようにお願いしても、今まで返事もなかった。
I ask God to please send me someone who feels the same way I do, but until now there hasn't been any answer.

今までは ずっと 涙が出るぐらいさびしかった。でも・・・
Until now, I've always been so lonely I could cry. But...

I get the feeling that better days will come from now on.