I read this blog article on manga, and the author listed a few ideas for Japanese learners at different levels. For beginner learners, she listed this manga called Orange. I actually remember seeing this manga at Kinokuniya on the weekend, so I thought I’d return today and buy it.

While I was there, remembering my massive challenge on the weekend browsing through the numerous shelves of Japanese and Chinese manga (and English manga, but that wasn’t a challenge in any way whatsoever πŸ˜‚), I quickly realised that finding this particular manga again isn’t going to be that easy.

However, I also remembered that the manga seemed to be grouped into broad demographics: “boy” manga, “girl” manga, “quasi porn” manga πŸ˜‚ etc. I would classify Orange as a “girl” manga, so I started my search in that area. Sure enough, I found it relatively quickly, omg!

Then I had this crazy thought: what if I could find this exact same manga in both the Chinese section and the English section?? The English version would act as my safety net, should I have difficulty understanding it in either (or both!) of the other two languages.

But then of course that meant that I had to go searching in the seemingly disordered Chinese manga section, which didn’t seem to talk to me in the same way that the Japanese manga section did (and the latter barely spoke to me as it was πŸ˜‚). Looking at the spine of the Japanese book, I noticed that it had the word “Orange” written on it – in English! So all I needed to do was find the same word in the “girl” area of the Chinese manga section. I can find an English word among the thousands of Chinese comic books here, surely! πŸ˜‚ It took me considerably longer to find than the Japanese version, but eventually I did. Omg x2!

Now for the easiest one of all. The English section is in alphabetical order, so I went straight to the O’s. And there it was. Omg x3.

[ But I’m still wondering how the Chinese and Japanese manga are ordered?! ]

I decided to buy all three πŸ€ͺ Crazy or ingenious?!?

Three versions of the same manga 😲 From L to R: English, Japanese, Chinese

I’ve actually started reading all three versions 😲 I’m mega slow: I’m only about ten odd pages in (and remember that these are comic books, so they’re full of pictures!), but it’s been good so far. One thing that I’ve discovered, which I didn’t think of when I first thought of this idea, was that reading the Japanese version can sometimes actually help with my Chinese, or vice versa. For example, if I know how something should be said in Japanese, and then I read the Chinese equivalent in the Chinese version, I can then see how you would convey the same thing in that language – which can sometimes be nothing like what you would normally say in English in that same situation! So it’s a good cultural learning opportunity too. Total amaze balls. I’m so impressed with this idea πŸ‘

The story seems quite interesting too. It would be something that I would want to read, even if I didn’t have this overarching goal of improving my language skills. In fact, I’m refraining big time from just picking up the English version and reading it in one sitting! πŸ˜‚

But I also suffer from the problem of being too bogged down with the “learning” aspect of it, and not just enjoying it as a light-hearted read. I don’t understand every single word of any book in English that I read, so I should try and do the same here. Of course if I can’t read more than half the sentence, then some learning is in order πŸ˜‚ But if I can read the majority of it, then I should just try and get the gist of what they’re trying to say, rather than disrupting the flow of the reading to refer, once again, to the dictionary. If I try and do this some more, hopefully I can soon find a happy medium between learning and entertainment 😊

Exciting times ahead! (Hopefully!)


Manga shopping

It was mostly a pretty typical Sunday: Latin lesson, followed by Ballroom practice. After dancing, we went to go buy some groceries for Kitty, some food and litter for the feline member of the family 😸

I then went to Kinokuniya to buy some manga to further my language studies. Once I got there though, the shelves upon shelves of manga just overwhelmed me. Where do I start?? And reading the description on the back of each comic book would take forever, since it was all in Japanese. I couldn’t even figure out how they were ordered. I thought it may be in alphabetical order, but using the Japanese alphabet. But even that idea didn’t seem to hold. So the best I could come up with was to succumb to the pretty covers, read whatever I could on the cover (all the comic books were wrapped, so you couldn’t flick through them), and hope that the advertising would somehow eventually lure me to something that I could potentially enjoy reading πŸ˜†

I did, however, manage to find online English descriptions of my shortlisted ones, so I could quickly get an idea of what the manga was about, instead of just solely relying on the pretty pictures on the cover. So after over an hour of browsing through the Japanese manga shelves, I eventually settled for 犬η₯žγγ‚“はツンだけどバレてる, which I think roughly translates to “Inugami is aloof but easy to read”. Well, something along those lines. I’m not quite at interpreter level… 🀣

So after browsing through the Japanese manga shelves, I then headed over to the Chinese manga shelves, and went through the same thing over on those shelves 😳 I eventually settled for ε°ζΈ―θ£‘ηš„ε‹•η‰©θ¨Ίζ‰€ (I would translate this as “A Vet Clinic in Xiao Gang”, referring to a fictional city or the district in Southern Taiwan, I don’t know). I couldn’t find an English website like I did for the Japanese manga, but the cute animals on the cover won me over nonetheless πŸ˜‚

After almost two hours of trying to navigate my way through the shelves of Japanese and Chinese manga, I then started to head over to the cashier to pay for my chosen comic books. Only to then stumble across some shelves with English manga! Omg, I have apparently discovered a whole new world that I was completely oblivious to before I came up with this manga-may-help-you-improve-your-language-skills idea πŸ˜† The manga in English were more limited in choice compared to the Japanese and Chinese ones. I guess the English-speaking manga fans just don’t quite have the same numbers (and/or the history?) yet. So not only did I have less to browse through in this section of the bookstore, but I could obviously much more easily read the covers of these comic books! πŸ˜‚ So I got through the English section in next to no time, compared to the mammoth adventure I had in the previous two sections.

So let’s see just how long it will take me to read these comic books… 😜 I’m still hoping that this idea of reading manga will help to improve my language skills, and that I am also entertained along the way, and not just suffer tremendously the entire time!🀞

Friends and shopping

I finally joined BreadTalk Rewards. I’ve been having BreadTalk every week for lunch, after the FX seminar, it’s now become routine. So I decided that I should join and get rewarded for being a regular customer 😊 They have an app, and your card is stored in the app and you just scan the QR code at the counter when you want to pay. All stores should do this! It just makes it so easy. Although yes, I do understand too that not everyone has a phone.

We went and had lunch with yet another friend from Oz who’s stopped by in SG for the last few days, before flying back to Sydney tonight. We’ve had so many friends come and visit lately! It’s nice to see so many familiar faces 😊

We then went to 112 Katong in the afternoon and bought a few things. We really like this mall and the area in general. It just has a nice vibe to it, and isn’t one of the usual touristy / expat-y areas that we normally go to. Maybe we look into moving in to this area… πŸ˜‰

We bought a few Chinese books from one of the shops in the mall. These are the ones that I bought. It says a lot about our reading level when I can’t even read the title! πŸ˜” The dictionary will be my best friend while I make my way through these books πŸ˜‚

Some reading / study this long weekend

And I also bought this totally useless item πŸ˜‚ It’s called the Fidget Cube, and I think it is such an appropriate name! It basically just lets you fidget to your heart’s content. I fidget a lot, so this is going to be a well-used item. And it comes with its own little carry bag! So I am carrying this with me everywhere I go now πŸ˜‚

We then stopped by Meidiya, a Japanese supermarket here, to pick up some food for dinner. I tend to just come here for groceries, but N reminded me that they also have awesome, ready-made Japanese food. I will have to remember to stop by and pick up some food next time I’m here.

Japanese for dinner tonight 🍣

A very relaxing Good Friday 😌

Our second trip to the zoo

After Chinese class, we went to the zoo again today πŸ‘πŸ¦πŸ¦’πŸ¦“ Like I mentioned in my earlier post when I first went a few weeks ago, this place is just so nice and well designed. And clean. The animals look like they’re really well taken care of; they live in huge enclosures that are very clean and well maintained; and the zoo does its fair share of contribution to the wildlife conservation efforts around the world. I really enjoy this place. We didn’t get to finish walking around the zoo, but we got through most of it, albeit rushing through some exhibitions to make sure we maximised the number of animals that we saw today. So next time I want to get there earlier and just take my time, enjoying each exhibition for as long as I wish.

My best photo from today πŸ‘

But then the taxi ride home just turned the tables on what had otherwise been a really good day. I got car sick and we ended up just eating in, coz I was too tired to walk down the road for a cheap and quick dinner – I used up all my energy trying not to vomit 🀒 An unfortunate way to end an otherwise fun day.

The new and the regular

Firstly, the most exciting part of my day: my Hobonichi 5-year diary has finally arrived!! πŸ‘ OMG I’ve been waiting for my diary for three MONTHS, so you can imagine just how I felt when it finally arrived today. I was so excited that I didn’t even mind being half an hour late to Chinese class this morning πŸ˜‚

My new diary!!

And Chinese class was actually ok, again, my brain wasn’t hurting by the end of it πŸ˜† Even though it totally doesn’t feel like it, but maybe things are actually sinking in… Imagine how much better we would be if we actually practiced each and every day… Although I could pose the same scenario about our dancing… πŸ˜‰

So speaking of, we skipped dancing tonight to hang out with our friend who’s visiting from Sydney. We went over to Gardens by the Bay – this is my fourth time here in as many weeks πŸ˜‚ But I still love going there, it’s just so purtee…

CNY Day 4 – Monday after the long weekend

We took our usual trip to the vet this morning. The clinic was busy as! The vet nurse said that there were a ton of walk-ins this morning, after the Chinese New Year long weekend. She said that she was barely awake yet, implying that she wasn’t quite ready to handle all the commotion first thing on a Monday morning after a long weekend. I completely understand!

I had remembered that there was a lion dance scheduled today at the Centrepoint, one of the malls on Orchard Road, so I made my way over. But when I got there, I had obviously incorrectly remembered the time: I thought it was at 11am, but apparently it was at 1pm! Argh! So I had two hours to kill 😩 I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, so I really wasn’t in the mood for lunch at my usual haunts in this mall – including Bak Kut Teh! So I went to Starbucks, always my last resort πŸ˜‚

There were a ton of students here, supposedly studying. I know what it’s like being a student. You guys are doing jack hahaha There were four students sitting nearby, with others scattered at the farther tables. Out of the four students sitting around me: one was watching some funny show on her phone, I could hear her cacking every now and then; and another two were just chatting. The fourth one looked like she was the only one doing anything actually productive. Although maybe she was just better at hiding her phone from me, as she sat the farthest away πŸ˜‚ Ahhhh… to be a carefree student again.

And just some more evidence as to how safe this country is: the student watching that funny show on her phone walked away from her table for at least half an hour – and left almost all of her belongings at her table. Her bag, her notes, her jacket, her calculator, her pens and pencil case. She might have just taken her phone and wallet with her, wherever she wandered off to. And no one even noticed, nor even come around. In fact, I ended up leaving Starbucks before she even came back, so I don’t actually know for how long she was gone. Total amaze balls. The only other country you could probably do this in is Japan.

While I was waiting for the lion dance, I tried being a student role model and did some review of my Chinese 😊 I didn’t have my textbook with me, nor did I bring earphones, so I couldn’t review the current chapter that we’re working through nor do any listening practice, so I just worked on reviewing vocab. Anything is better than nothing!

And then I spent the rest of the day working on my trading, which is still full of frustration and anguish… One day it will all come together. One day. I hope! 😩

CNY Day 1 aka my second Christmas

It was Chinese New Year Day 1 today. It’s the only four-day long weekend in the year here, so it’s arguably the biggest the holiday in SG.

We went and had lunch at our friends’ place, the closest to family we have in SG. So in similar vein to yesterday, today felt like my second Christmas Day. It’s sorta cool getting to celebrate twice like this ☺️

And then in the evening, we went and had a birthday, Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year combo dinner πŸ˜† We went for Japanese, and all the staff at the restaurant were actually Japanese so I got the chance to practice πŸ‘ But of course, having been in Chinese mode ever since we came back to SG and resuming our classes, my brain kept giving me the Chinese for a lot of the things that I wanted to say to them! It’s as if my brain stashes all the Japanese that it knows into the back recesses of its drawers, and will only pull out the relevant papers after it has had enough time to gather them all up. Wahhh! Why can’t I just flick a switch and the right language CD will just automatically come on?? 😩 Nonetheless, they were very appreciative of my efforts. They are just the most polite people. Makes me want to learn the language even more 😊

More friends and eating in store for us tomorrow, Day 2…