Nihongo Update

"Watch Bin" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/17 sec, ISO3200
“Watch Bin” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I was listening to some Japanese pop songs that I haven’t heard in a couple years, and I was surprised that I understood a lot more than I used to. Actually, I’d rate my comprehension of the lyrics as maybe 20% of the words, whereas before it might have been 5%. But since it’s mostly just bits and pieces, and not even whole sentences that I understand, I only get the gist of what the song is about. Still, it’s fun to hear the same songs and the mystery is revealed a bit more as I study.

I’ve been using the Anki flashcard system on my computer and phone to boost my vocabulary and it’s pretty good! However, I am going to switch from kana to romaji to get in more vocabulary quicker, then maybe I will switch it up and go back to kana for a bit. There’s a mental gap that I am encountering where I am trying to memorize both the meaning while seeing the kana/kanji and it’s kind of frustrating. So to build some momentum, I am switching to romaji (and I also study my kana cards separately as a refresher) and see if I can get more vocab under my belt.

In other Japanese-related news, I have caught up with Segodon so now I can just watch the TV Japan broadcasts when they are shown. And then I am also watching a Sailor Moon episode here and there. Fun to pick up the new words I have learned.

So, some improvement with my Nihongo, and also a bit of fun with the dorama!

Today’s photo is of my watches, sitting in a Kokuyo pen case. I tidied up my desk, but don’t have a good place to put my watches so I just threw them there. I like looking at them, so I don’t put them in the drawer but it seems like they need a better place to hang out than just the desktop. 😆 We’ll find a good home for them someday!

I hope you had a good Saturday!


Chicken, Pens, and Studying

"Karaage" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Karaage” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

As you can see, we feasted once again on karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken). It’s a family favorite, although we have our own preferences on how to eat. For instance, Mariko like hers with a little salt and lemon, Koa likes to squeeze lemon into a small dish and dip the karaage, while Bay and I like it with lemon and Kewpie mayo. But whichever extra seasoning we use, it’s a must that we enjoy it with a nice bowl of steamed rice. Karaage and rice is the best!

Later on I was in the office being productive by setting up my Japanese studying flashcards on the computer using the Anki system. It’s fun! And I am also continuing to practice writing using my fountain pens. Writing with those pens and with my favorite inks makes the practice a pleasure. Anything I can do to make studying easier is welcome. 😀

Speaking of the pens I bought this new pen case the other day. It’s basic, but good quality and the price was right! I used to just keep my pens on my desk, but now with the cat-proof case, I know there won’t be any inky surprises. 😾

"Pen Case" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO6400
“Pen Case” Cedar Park, 2018

I hope you had a nice Sunday!


Sketch and Kanji

"Work at Home Sketch" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/60 sec, ISO1250
“Work at Home Sketch” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I did a quick sketch for the first time a long while, and I think it turned out ok. I only spent maybe 10 minutes on it, so there needs to be a lot more work to make it better. The lines are very stiff IMO but I still don’t know what style I prefer to do. Maybe simplify things even more?

During my lunch break, I also did some hiragana practice and worked on writing my name. The kanji is somewhat difficult (18 strokes for the first character) but it all came back to me quickly. I still think it looks really clumsy. But it’s a signature, so I don’t know if I should try to write it as nice as I can, or just go with the flow. Probably the latter.

Anyways, it was fun to just doodle and write kana for a while. Every little bit helps! “A line drawn is never wasted”, right?

I hope you had a nice Wednesday!


Free Hiragana and Katakana Charts

"Free Hiragana and Katakana Charts" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/40 sec, ISO3200
“Free Hiragana and Katakana Charts” Cedar Park, 2017

Hi all! I was searching for some small, printable hiragana and katakana charts to put in my passport-size Midori Traveler’s Notebook, but then thought that I should just make my own. So I did that. And then I thought, “Why don’t I make these available for others to use?” Well, here they are – free hiragana and katakana charts!

Each PDF chart is roughly 100mm x 70mm, which will leave enough room to tape it onto a page or slide it into a kraft sleeve.

Right-click the links below to save the PDF, then when you print, select “Actual Size” to print at 100mm x 70mm, or you can choose “Fit” if you want it to fill your paper size.

I hope someone finds these simple reference charts useful! 😀

Happy Friday!

"バカボン" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/7.1, 1/80 sec, ISO6400
“バカボン” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

We made it to the weekend! I’m kind of stoked because I get to read a Bakabon book, as you can see in the photo above. It’s got English and Japanese so I’ll be able to practice my reading too. And it should be fun!

Today I took my 15-year-old son to get his learner’s permit. I can’t believe he’s almost 16 and going to drive on his own soon! Time really flies… We are doing a parent-taught course, so I’ll be taking him driving but I’m not sure where there is a good, safe parking lot to practice. I guess some local research is in order. 😄

Ok, it’s time to read some バカボンのパパ!



– バロン Barron Fujimoto

Lost in Translation no more with Word Lens in Japanese

Let Google Translate help you find your way through Japan, now with instant translation

Source: Lost in Translation no more with Word Lens in Japanese

This is so cool! The future is here. 😃 And it works in real-time, with the translated text automagically appearing over the original like some hyped-up photoshop wizardry. Take a look at this photo I took of the feature in action:

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/9, 1/85 sec, ISO6400

I wish I could take credit for finding that awesome sign, but it was one of the first Google search results.

Thanks to my brother for sending me the link to the article!

Naan… was ok?

"Making Naan" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/125 sec, ISO2000
“Making Naan” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

This evening my wife went to work before she could finish making naan for us, so I had to take over. Mariko prepared the dough for me in the bread maker, and when it was ready it was my chance to succeed or fail. 😝

When I took the dough out of the breadmaker, it was really sticky and got stuck on my hand. I was thinking that this cannot be right! Did I take it out too early? Was it supposed to rest for 15 minutes? Did I miss something on the bread machine since it is all in Japanese? The doubts were going through my head. 😱

But then I floured up my hands and sprinkled flour on the Silpat baking sheet, and things got easier. I divided the dough into six portions, then went to work forming the dough into flat shapes. While I was doing that, our cast-iron skillet was heating up on the stove and starting to smoke a bit – just about ready to cook!

The first naan I put on was a bit too thick and a little dough-ey, but it was still delicious. The other five naan got better (and thinner) the more practice I got so I was happy. When each one came off the pan, I spread a little butter on it and sprinkled some salt.

The real test came at dinner when the kids tasted it with their curry. And they thought the naan was good! Koa ate two of them and even designated a section of his plate exclusively for curry sauce for dipping the naan in. No rice or chicken allowed in that section. 😄

I think the naan experiment was a success.


Below is a photo of my hiragana practice sheet. As I mentioned earlier, I am studying Japanese again and part of that is to get used to writing hiragana and katakana.

I’m surprised (and happy) that my writing is getting better and better. I was an art major in college, so you’d think I would have some skills at this, but I have always been very poor at drawing. However, I am really pleased with how it is going so far. I actually had to ask my kids if they did that third line of “あ” because I thought there’s no way I did it!

I still have a long way to go, but I’m trying to make sure I keep a positive attitude and not get discouraged if I go too fast. I want to enjoy the experience! That means a not-so-aggressive timeline. ☺️

"ひらがな" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/16, 1/10 sec, ISO6400
“ひらがな” Cedar Park, 2017

I hope you had a nice Wednesday.