ＨＥＬＬＯ！ Ｉ ＡＭ ＱＵＩＺＢＯ™！I am hopefully more than just the robot computer who assists you in reading during lessons and creates special quizzes for you on Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online. I hope to be one of your companions on your journey through Japanese language and culture. Whilst I do not necessarily handle the culture aspects—I leave that to Kiki and Koko—I always do my best to introduce you to Japanese vocabulary and grammar in a way that, with anticipation, will act as a useful tool in your mind, or your proverbial Japanese Language Survival Kit, as we refer to it during lessons. These lessons, as you may know, are newly uploaded every Monday and Friday. However, there were so many days betwixt Monday and Friday, that I reckoned it important to do my duty as a Japanese language instructor, which is making sure you have every opportunity to learn. So, I created this segment to fill the learning void in the middle of the week.
During Word of the Week Wednesday, I present a Japanese word to you along with a definition, and sometimes, there will be a bonus word, depending on if Kiki+Koko add another concept during their Helpful Hints or Quick Culture Corner. I do not simply give you the word, though. I also read the word for you aloud. I sound it out, and you can repeat after me. In fact, you are encouraged to do so. It will help you better absorb the word and remember it. However, a word on its own would be more difficult to remember, and not as useful. So, I create example sentences with the help of Kiki+Koko in order to illustrate the words usage. You can also use this as an example of grammar and glean other useful vocabulary. You can use this as a relaxing break from studying, simply taking in the information, or you can look very closely at the segment and acquire quite a bit of useful knowledge.
We are also joined again by Kiki+Koko who will add some interesting insight in their Quick Culture Corner to the vocabulary word as well as hopefully the scope of your studies.
Without further ado, let us NihonGO!!
Word(s) of the Week:
1. culture; civilisation
2. Bunka (era, 1804-1818)
※Quick Culture Corner with Kiki+Koko
We’re Kiki+Koko from Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online in blog form and audio-visual production. We’re usually here during Word of the Week to give helpful hints as to how to use the word if it’s unclear or may be difficult to use, however in this case, because it is a noun, and there are already other articles and lessons that cover the usage of nouns in basic sentences, we think that it would be useful instead to give a little bit of a culture corner… on culture! Of course, culture is a concept so much more complex and spanning than we can write about in a simple Quick Culture Corner segment, but we do just want to give a little bit of insight, perhaps.
We are definitely glad that QUIZBO™ chose such a vocabulary word for this week, as we have been introducing you to new country names and we mentioned how interest in Japanese culture is oddly a connective to other cultures. Around the world, people take an interest in learning about Japanese language and culture. And, in turn, you may end up connecting with many people from many different cultures and backgrounds who have taken the same interest. So, by learning about one culture, you may actually end up learning more about other cultures. And, of course, even Japanese culture, contrary to popular belief, was shaped by many different cultures and to this day continues to change, but also interestingly enough, still has a general hold of its early customs which makes the Japanese cultural experience an intriguing balance of the modern and the traditional.
But, maybe someone may think that culture is just a bonus to language. Maybe some are interested in simply learning how to communicate using Japanese language. But, when one is learning a language, culture is essential. Sometimes in our digital world of ‘1000 most essential phrases’ and ‘5-minute lessons,’ we can forget that language is much more than the words you learn. Communication is knowing which words to use, when to use them, and how to use them. It’s also body language, traditional stories, celebrations— even commercials and television shows— Language, which comes down to culture and communication, can be subtle, and it may take understanding the experience of the culture to properly communicate in the way that you want.
So, obviously, when you learn another language, and you’re not learning it bilingually or you haven’t had a lot of experience with the culture, you most likely won’t have the same perspective when speaking the language. But, that’s alright! The point is to learn and experience what you can, and your own unique cultural experience is what makes you… well… you! When we teach culture, it’s simply a way of understanding the general experience and being able to communicate properly whilst learning more about the world. If anything, it’s understanding another culture or language that can connect you with your own or other’s cultures. Since every earthling has a different life experience, you can really only gauge a cultural experience with a broad brush. Concepts like history and events may have different iterations and are also not set in stone as it comes to the collective consciousness. At the heart of it, every culture may be different, but it’s all part of Earth culture, and it’s something that is enriching for anyone on Earth and beyond to experience.
Communication is connecting with people. And, most of the time, when you talk to someone about their own culture, they may not inherently think of it as interesting to other parts of the world. It’s just something that’s part of their everyday life. So, when you express that interest, you’ll make them feel a little more special that you took the time to understand something about them, therefore, respecting something like their everyday life as something worth interest.
So, all in all, you may not have the same cultural experience as someone else (even within someone’s own respective culture!), but by experiencing it through your unique senses, you can learn a bit more about the people on the planet you live on and make it a more connected place with more common ground, and hopefully, a bit of empathy for better communication in any language. And, if anything, you’ll definitely have a better experience understanding the culture. Without knowing the extra layers of culture within any form of communication, you may miss experiences hidden in plain sight.
We hope that helps!! Until the next lesson!
Thank you, Kiki and Koko! Your unique perspective has also inspired a bonus word of the week that can be very useful to the first vocabulary word. Because this is a noun, providing a verb can be valuable. However, there is the added bonus that it can be used as a noun and a verb. So, in a way, you have received even more usage with this bonus word. I will introduce the bonus word, then we will explore the usage and context of both of them in the sentences below it. (This word should be simpler to use than others as it only has one definition.)
Bonus Word(s) of the Week:
noun; suru verb
The first row is in Japanese with Kanji. The Next row is in hiragana, then romanised using rōmaji with the final row translated into English.
[basic polite speech]
お船で 日本に 旅行して 留学して 日本文化を 親しく経験する予定ですっ！
おふねで にほんに りょこうして りゅうがくして にほんぶんかを したしく けいけんする よていですっ！
ofune de nihon he ryokou shite ryuugakushite nihon bunka wo shitashiku keiken suru yotei desu!
I plan to travel to Japan by boat, study abroad, and experience Japanese culture first-hand!
[basic polite speech]
全体として, 文化とは 共有経験だと思いますが、人それぞれ経験が分かれそうですね。
ぜんたいとして、 ぶんかとは きょうゆう けいけんだと おもいますが、 ひとそれぞれ けいけんが わかれそうです。
zentai toshite, bunka to wa kyouyuu keiken da to omoimasuga, hito sorezore keiken ga wakaresou desu.
On the whole, I think culture is a shared experience, but it seems that each person has a different experience.
[basic polite speech]
「日常」と呼んでいる 漫画を 読むのが 好きです。日本文化だけでなく インドネシア文化と マレーシア文化も 使います。日本文化を 理解する人しかわからないジョークがありますけど、誰にもまだ楽しめます。
「にちじょう」とよんでいる まんがを よむのが すきです。にほんぶんかだけでなく いんどねしあ ぶんかと まれーしあ ぶんかも つかいます。にほんぶんかを りかいするひとしか わからない じょーくが ありますけど、 だれにもまだたのしめます。
「nichijou」 to yondeiru manga wo yomu no ga suki desu. nihon bunka dake de naku indoneshia bunka to mareeshia bunka mo tsukaimasu. nihonbunka wo rikai suru hito shika wakaranai jooku ga arimasukedo, darenimo mada tanoshimemasu.
I like to read the manga ‘Nichijou’. In addition to Japanese culture, they also use Indonesian and Malaysian culture. It has jokes that only people who understand Japanese culture get, but it’s still enjoyable to anyone.
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