Learning Japanese in a Chinese speaking city

I decided to go to Causeway Bay for brunch today. I wanted to go to this particular cafe as they apparently serve scones, and I like scones πŸ˜‹ But can you believe it, they open at 12pm! This city is sooo not for morning people πŸ˜‚ I got there earlier than I expected to, and so I just wandered around the mall that the cafe was in. A few of the stalls in the mall weren’t open either, so I guess most places in this mall don’t open until later in the afternoon. I hung around until 12:30pm before I left, that was the longest time my patience could handle waiting. Such a shame that I didn’t get to try the cafe – and I didn’t get to have scones! Boo πŸ˜’

After I found a substitute place for lunch, I decided to head over to Eslite, one of the bookstores here in HK. They have Japanese language textbooks – written for native Chinese speakers. So all the explanations are in Chinese 😲 I was sooo tempted to buy one, but looking through the textbooks, they’re actually at quite a basic level, so if anything, I wouldn’t be learning much Japanese, and if anything, more likely to be improving my Chinese, since all the explanations in the books are in Chinese! πŸ˜‚ But having said that, what I do like about the textbooks though, is that they have no English whatsoever! I will effectively be forced to think in my two target languages, even if the sentences are at quite a basic level. But that’s not a bad thing! I can see how sentences are said in both languages. Hmmm… Maybe buying one of these books may not be a bad idea after all…! πŸ˜†

A page in one of the textbooks I was flicking through at the bookstore πŸ˜†

So when I got back home, I spent some time going through my actual Japanese textbook – a textbook written for English speakers πŸ˜† None of the grammar is new to me, so I’m really just refreshing my memory of what I had learnt – omg – a quarter of a century ago 🀣 I still can’t believe how much of it I have actually retained after all these years. Now I’m just going through and trying to internalise the harder and longer sentences, and learning more vocab of course, continuing to refine my Japanese that little bit more.

And then I just spent the rest of the evening continuing to watch Masterchef Australia. I’m up to the top ten! So I’ve caught up on a ton of episodes! πŸ˜† Once I’ve caught up, my tv habits can go back to normal and I can resume watching my Asian dramas πŸ˜‚ But for now, it’s all about binge watching Masterchef 😳

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Books and TV

I started reading Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore today. I don’t come across many books that keep me interested from start to finish. I start reading books because the blurb sounds interesting, but I don’t tend to finish a lot of them because I lose interest somewhere along the way. So the ones that do keep my attention tend to be ones that have a bit of a mystery to them, because I just want the mystery solved! This book has that, and it also has a little humour, which I also appreciate. It’s got my attention so far, so hopefully I can make it until the end this time! 🀞 Maybe I need to find authors who write in a similar way to the writers of Korean dramas… πŸ˜‚

Speaking of which, I finished The Heirs tonight. I liked the ending, it wasn’t your typical “happily ever after” finale. It wasn’t a total tragedy either; it was somewhere in between, a more realistic ending – and I say that after going through a crazy, unrealistic ride for the previous nineteen episodes! πŸ˜‚ I was thinking of jumping back in and watching a new Korean (or Chinese?) drama straight away, but perhaps I’ll give myself a bit of a break and watch something in the western tv world… 😊 I hear Black Mirror has a few new episodes… I’m actually a few seasons behind, so that series can keep me/us occupied for a little while… 😊

Dramas and apps

I’m getting to the good bit of Nice Witch, which I really just want to finish now! It started off pretty slow, but I think it’s left the better episodes for the latter half of the series 😊 I still have a few episodes left to go, but I should start having a look to see what my next series will be. I keep saying that I should watch a Chinese drama to work on my listening, but the lure of the Korean dramas is just too strong! πŸ˜†

I also spent a bit of time in HelloTalk tonight, that language exchange app. I posted something in the app about liking this particular song, and someone then told me about this app where people can log in and basically have a karaoke sesh on their phone! You can choose whatever song you want, record yourself singing it, and then upload it onto the app. And then apparently you can follow people whose voice you like. It’s a pretty cool idea if you’re into karaoke, which Asia seems to be. I’m so not, which I might’ve mentioned in a previous post, but this app sounded interesting nonetheless. I might download it and check it out 😊

Another public holiday

It was another public holiday here in HK today, woohoo! πŸŽ‰ Not that we did much, though πŸ˜‚ We went and had brunch at one of my favourite local cafes, and while we were at the cafe, I decided that we should go and vote today. We can actually vote any time during the two weeks leading up to the election, so that’s pretty handy. But of course you need photo ID – and I forgot to bring our passports with me today. And ironically, I carried them with me the last two days! Yesterday would’ve been the perfect day to go, but it was the only day that the embassy was closed – argh! 😀 So I decided to head back home and pick up our passports anyway, otherwise the next time we can vote will be on Election Day itself, and I have a feeling the rest of the Australian expat community in HK will be voting on that day, so I wanted to avoid going on that day.

Signs pointing us in the right direction πŸ‘‰πŸ‘†πŸ‘ˆ

It was actually quite quick, and they even had signs at the bottom of the building that the embassy is located in, pointing people in the direction of where to go – and they also had a bajillion people working today to help direct people. Not that there were that many of us there to vote – half a dozen max when we were there! There were more staff working than there were voters πŸ˜‚ Not that I was complaining, at least we were in and out in no time πŸ‘

We then went to the Wan Chai Computer Centre, which was only a few minutes down the road from the Australian Embassy, just to wander around. It’s a good place for all your electronic stuff, on the HK Island side. I think there’s a similar one on the Kowloon side, I can’t remember what it’s called right now. I’ll have to ask N, it’s more his forte 😊

And then N went to karate and I resumed watching Nice Witch, a Korean drama that I’m still working my way through. I’ve been so focussed on my Chinese language study lately that I’ve barely had time for the Korean dramas. I’m also watching Love O2O, a Chinese drama, but that’s more for listening practice than for personal enjoyment. So I have a bit of a backlog of Korean dramas to watch at the moment! πŸ˜†

Semblance of a typical Sunday

Little Miss woke me up at around 7am πŸ˜’ Our usual morning routine is after giving her breakfast, we go sit in the study together until she gets bored with me and hops off my chair and sleeps somewhere else in the room. So even though I was half-asleep this morning, I knew she’d want to do the same thing this morning. She couldn’t care less that it was a Sunday πŸ˜† So I sat in the study just surfing the net, trying to stay awake, to keep her company. She’s like a baby sometimes, I tell you! πŸ‘ΆπŸ»

So at around 9am, she finally let me head back to bed to get a bit more sleep.

And the next time I woke up, it was 12 noon! 😲 Wahhh! So I scrambled to get ready, so that we could go have our usual weekend yum cha brunch before they all close on us so they can prepare for their dinner service.

After brunch, we just headed back home and N just picked up his gear and headed to karate. I went down to a nearby laundromat to wash one of our bath mats, as our own washing machine doesn’t like it when we wash it in ours πŸ€ͺ It always gives us an error message whenever we try to wash it at home. And Kitty has thrown up on it, so it definitely needed a wash. The washing machine at the laundromat is industrial size in comparison to ours, so the lone mat looked tiny inside it. I should’ve taken a photo. This one could definitely handle this teeny mat! πŸ˜‚

I then just went home and watched another episode of Love O2O, a Chinese drama that I initially started watching just for listening practice, but now I’m actually getting into it 😊 Not my favourite Chinese drama, and it doesn’t even come close to any of my favourite Korean ones (they reign supreme in this world, I tell you πŸ˜†), but it’s not too bad. The episodes are getting better as the series goes on πŸ‘

It was a fun Sunday, despite the rather disrupted start to the day!

Being tourists in our not-so-new city

We wandered around and did some touristy stuff today. We decided to check out the streets near the HK Museum of Medical Sciences and Man Mo Temple in the Sheung Wan area. This area is steep, I remember exploring this neighbourhood when we were just tourists in this city, well before there was even talk of us moving here. I was climbing the bajillion steps in this area, following exactly what Google maps told me to do. Even though, yes, it was telling me the quickest route to get to the museum, but it didn’t take into consideration the steepness! I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got to the museum – and I still remember finally reaching it, only to find out it had already closed for the day! The inter web gave me the wrong opening hours for the museum! Argh! 😩 And yet I still went back the next day, and climbed the damn stairs again, that’s how much I wanted to see the museum then!

But now I know better: do NOT take those damn bajillion stairs, unless you want the exercise πŸ˜‚ And especially in the HK heat and humidity, which can rival SG, believe it or not. Take the mid-level escalators and get off at Caine Road, and make your way to the museum from there. It may take longer, but it is a much less strenuous route. And then from the museum, you can then make your way down to Man Mo Temple. Doing the museum first and then the temple means a downhill walk, instead of a painful uphill climb. But you can make up your own mind which route you wish to take 😊

The area is pretty funky, with a lot of antique stores as well as a few cafes, creating a nice juxtaposition of eastern and western influence. And the place wasn’t overly busy either when we wandered around, which made for quite a relaxing afternoon walk 😌 So we’d like to go back again and check out a few cafes and restaurants in thjs area. Maybe find a new yum cha place sometime next weekend? πŸ˜„

And then in the evening, we finished the last few episodes of The Exorcist’s Meter. N is off to SG tomorrow for the rest of the week so we both just wanted to finish the series today rather than have to wait until next weekend to do so. I don’t want to say anything other than the ending was goood! It was right up there with some Korean dramas in terms of endings, actually. I was quite impressed with the last few episodes πŸ‘ Now we need to find our new drama…

Friends, language learning and generally just having fun

We met up with a friend who’s here in HK for the weekend. We took her to yum cha, of course 😊 She apparently just turned 21! I didn’t realise she was so young. I made a comment saying that we are probably as old as her parents, which she agreed with πŸ˜‚ So not sure why she likes hanging out with us oldies. I guess dancing just brings everyone together, regardless of age 😊

N went to karate, while I practised some more of my Chinese. I’ve been really focusing on my speaking and listening, to get it up to the same level as my reading and writing. I don’t want to get to a point where I can read a Chinese novel, and still not be able to hold a basic conversation! I’m still learning new words, so I’m automatically still working on my reading, but it’s just not where my focus is right now. I just want to speak more and listen more at this stage, and be as exposed to the spoken language as much as I can.

YouTube has been an absolute goldmine, a seemingly endless resource for all things related to improving these very skills. There is a ton of stuff specifically for my level, and then of course there’s more stuff that’s aimed at native speakers. I’m obviously just looking for Chinese resources, but I’m sure you could find almost any other language on there. It’s pretty crazy.

And then in the evening, we watched an episode of The Exorcist’s Meter, our current Cantonese drama. We’re getting close to the end, so we’ll have to find a new one soon! 😊