ようこそ! (youkoso)


Thank you for stopping by. I created this blog as another means of learning and improving my Japanese. I don’t know all the aspects of Japan, but what I’ve seen and learnt so far, I love it all. For me, learning a language isn’t only about being able to speak, read, and write; it’s also about learning the culture surrounding that language.


Discovering Japanese
My first exposure to Japanese was in Year 5. I had just moved to Australia and found out that foreign language was a compulsory course in primary school. Maybe it was the hiragana alphabet song that was stuck in my head, or the fact that I recognised a lot of the basic kanji characters (which are the Chinese characters used in Japanese writing), but it stuck with me. So much so that when it was time to start high school, I begged my mom to let me choose Japanese as one of my subjects. She refused – I took Mandarin and French instead. How I wished my high school would’ve let me learn three languages! I did have lots of fun learning the French word for grapefruit (le pamplemousse), and a few giggles in Mandarin class when I said “Hello, horse!” instead of “How are you?” – in fact, I was the only student to continue on with dual languages through to Year 12. But I do remember peering into my friend’s Japanese class from the hallway, and trying to read whatever hiragana character I saw.

After high school it was straight onto university. I knew through my sister that I could combine my bachelor of commerce with a diploma of language. By this stage I wasn’t quite the obedient daughter I used to be. One guess as to the language I chose to study.

My goodness was I glad I chose Japanese this time. I would drag myself to a 9am lecture on accounting methods, will myself to take notes, and then eagerly sprint across campus for my Japanese class. Instead of learning what is considered an accounting asset, I made a short skit about shopping in a ninja department store. I found it easier to break the ice with a few of my fellow classmates – in fact, I met both of my close university friends during Japanese class.

I studied Japanese at a university level for two years. When I deferred my degree to study at Le Cordon Bleu, I found that I could no longer devote enough time to it. I stopped. But over the next four years Japanese was still in my mind somewhere. Whenever I met Japanese people, I would eagerly greet them in Japanese (which would usually be met with awed faces and an ensuing slew of Japanese I could not understand!); my playlist consisted (and still consists) of J-pop songs; and I swapped dubbed for subbed anime.

And then finally, this year I find I not only have the time, but I also have a solid purpose to pursue my studies of this beautiful language again. My current goal is to teach English in Japan via an exchange program. I plan to self-teach myself, and I’m making my studies more fun by mixing formal book learning with immersive unstructured learning (such as learning vocabulary off the lyrics of my favourite Japanese songs).


Creating お代わり・PLEASE!
As I mentioned before, I don’t just want to learn Japanese; I want to learn about Japanese culture. One aspect of any culture that I absolutely adore is food. I love the commonness of it; how it is needed by all and loved by many; and how you can break barriers by simply offering some food.

お代わり ください (okawari kudasai) is a Japanese phrase one uses when they want a second helping during a meal, with okawari meaning “second helping” and kudasai meaning “please”. I must admit I am influenced by my J-pop songs, which often include English words here and there; hence my replacing ‘kudasai’ with ‘please’.

This is purely a personal blog for my own research and enjoyment. I love exploring a subject in-depth; hence my posts will centre around one Japanese food-related topic, with exploration into aspects such as history, production process, etymology, cooking process, and/or cultural significance. (Really, my own way of saying I’m just going to research whatever takes my fancy on a particular day). But in every post, expect to learn a few new words! I love my food-related vocabulary! And if you’re ever lost on a word, you’ll be able to find it in my glossary.

I’m always up for learning, so if you have some additional know-how, do feel free to share! Also if I’ve made any mistakes, please politely point them out to me.

じゃまたね〜 (ja mata ne~)

See you later!