Thursday, March 4, 2010


Recently, I've been focusing my Japanese studies on kanji. I've been using the book Remembering the Kanji, where first you learn to write the kanji and later you learn all the meanings and sounds represented by said kanji. I've pretty much been plowing through the writing/keyword part of the kanji - there are 2042 to learn in Part 1, and I'm currently on 674. I think I started almost 3 weeks ago now.

There is an awesome website that is a great accompaniment to the book, and there are some interesting forums on the website. One of my favorite topics recently was titled "500 frames and counting! ROOOOARRRR!!!" The people posting in that thread were celebrating passing the 500 kanji mark and rrrroooaaarrrring with the surge of power that came with that accomplishment. I was totally identifying with the sentiment, and ever since reading that thread, I've felt the RRRROOOOOAAAARRRRR power surge when I've passed a milestone.

Well, last night as I was traveling across town on the bus, I suddenly realized that there were things I could read! And they actually made SENSE!


Then, I got home, and realized that I could read something on the nutrition label of my soymilk.


Then, I read something in the bathroom at work.

RRRRRR....wait, that didn't make sense (pour cause?!?)...never mind that one

The incredible power surge that comes when your environment around you slowly begins to come into focus is utterly AMAZING!! It's rather intoxicating, actually. Existing in an environment where I am illiterate is slightly alienating. Imagine losing all the print references in the world around you. It's a very strange feeling. I hadn't really realized how much I'd missed interacting with ordinary things around me until I read "fresh" on a restaurant sign! There is random English here and there, but it's still not the same as being able to instinctively understand your complete environment.

Now, my brain is just spinning with so many thoughts about literacy. If I really think about it, much of my political/spiritual/economic/moral philosophy has been affected by reading in some shape or sort. What about all the people and huge swaths of society who haven't had the same opportunities? It has to be a lot easier to keep a population (or individual) under control when that population (or individual) is effectively shut out from the world of print. In many places, it's especially women who are affected. Even here, I think about how reliant I am on others for important information and how easily someone like me could be taken advantage of. Luckily, I am well-sheltered from stuff like that, but what about everyone else?

Even now, having thunk the thoughts I just thunk, there is a part of me that can't believe that there are really people out there who can't read....and I'm living it!!! It's one of those concepts like infinity or eternity (or why people on the other side of the world don't fall off...cough, cough...I wonder who I know who has a hard time with that...).

Having thunk all this (my brain hurts and I want a cookie), here is the puzzle. What are we supposed to do? How can the RRRRRROOOOOOOAAAAAARRRRRR be shared? Anyone? Do I see a hand in the back?

Honestly, I have no idea.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Last night, I was reminiscing about the last year and a half or so. I was reading through my journal, and I read something that still makes me giggle, even though it happened in September 2008. I thought I would share it with you all, even though it's probably only funny to know how those things go! ;-) Let's take a trip down memory lane!

So, I was at choir practice this evening, and our director wanted us to work on our vowel sounds. We were singing "ee's" and "oo's," and then we get to the schwa (the sound that looks like an upside down rotated e and kinda sounds like "uh"). She (our director) tells us to sing schwa and whatever the following sound was. So, half of the choir confidently belts out, "SCHWA!"

I am still giggling.

Excuse me while I go continue to giggle at the mental image.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

100! Woohoo!

Here we are! Post 100! For your viewing pleasure, here is a giant hunk of pictures attempting to represent the span of time encompassed by these 100 posts! Feel free to hum your favorite song, as I have no idea how to add music to these posts. :-)