June 25, 2008

Upcoming anime series

Not having seen any new Anime for some time, I stumbled upon this image on a forum listing upcoming OVA series for the summer of 2008. One of them is a remake of an old manga series I know: Cobra. One of the series I knew from Club Dorothée from TF1. Click on the image for more details.

A nice change from the still ongoing Naruto & Bleach. One of the latest Anime I have seen was Death Note. Also worth a look.

Looking for travel information

Well, I wanted to look up some travel information for the upcoming trip to Japan. Where could I find information about hotels, places to visit, local customs, restaurants, etc....?

There are probably a lot of websites but I started with Virtualtourist.com. It's a site by and for travelers. You can make a profile and describe all the places you visited (or lived in) and provide useful information.

Their main categories are:
  • Hotels
  • Things to do
  • Restaurants
  • Local Customs
  • Nightlife
  • Off the beaten path
  • Tourist traps
  • Warning or dangers
  • Transportation
  • Parking lists
  • Shopping
  • Sports Travel
  • General tips

June 24, 2008

Back to school

I'm planning to start evening classes next september. Since I live in Antwerp, I thought it would be best to take classes at the Centrum voor Volwassenenonderwijs LBC-NVK 'Borgerhout'.

The curriculum for 2008-2009 [pdf] was already online and I had a look. There are four levels of languages from basic to advanced. The first year normally consists of 2 years. For Japanese, this is four years. Unfortunately, the LBC Center first year is on Thursday, coinciding with another class I'm following.

So I found the 'Centrum voor Levende Talen'. Since I work mainly in Brussels, and classes are during the week, so that makes Leuven also an alternative. The benefit is also that CLT also goes to RG2 (Richtgraad 2) and doesn't stop after 4 modules like the other institute in Borgerhout. Although 8 years does seem to be a lot. Let's start with one.

This is from the CLT institute. The Levels or 'richtgraden' (RG) correspond with the levels as describer in the European References (ERK): RG1 = Waystage (A2), RG2 = Threshold (B1), RG3 = Vantage (B2), RG4 = Effectiveness (C1).

Richtgraad 1 **




4 x 120u

Richtgraad 2




4 x 120u°

I did some searching on Google for experiences and it seems that CLT in Leuven is one of the best choices. I did see some discouraging comments like "it would take about 10 years to be able to have a decent conversation in Japanese".

In any case, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

June 23, 2008

Why Japan?

People sometimes ask me: 'Why do you like Japan (or the Japanese culture) that much?

It all started when my father started a Jiu-Jitsu club when I was around nine years old. Of course, I had to join from my father. In the beginning, it was somewhat against my will but I soon started enjoying it. I followed Jiu-Jitsu for about ten years till I went to the university. During the last years, I tried out some others like Wing Shun, Taekwondo, Karate,.... but I didn't like sparring all too much.

My father's club was a sportsclub and not a dojo. He really did it as a sport and didn't learn too much about the origin of this discipline. Out of interest, I started to read about the subject from books from the library. I eventually also read a lot about Samurais and Bushidō which I found fascinating. This got me interested in the culture.

A second element were the cartoons I watched during childhood. Although not a native French speaker, the channel with the most cartoons was TF1 (Télévision Française 1). So I grew up watching Dragonball, Les Chevaliers du Zodiac (Saint Seiya), Ken Le survivant (Fist of the North Star), Nicky Larson (Cityhunter), ....
At the time, I didn't know these were Japanese Anime but dubbed in French. Later on, I tried to collect these series in original Japanese and so my collection of Anime started. Although I wanted to follow some series without having to read the subtitles. Hence my wish to learn the language.

I got to know fellow collectors and over time I found a lot of new series like Ghost in the Shell, Naruto, Bleach (some of my favorite series) etc......

So my goal is to
  1. Start a blog to track my progress and keep track of resources (and exchange them with others)
  2. Start Japanese evening classes this year
  3. Visit Japan within the next year
  4. [Classified]