일본에 오락실들 이에요

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , , , on February 23, 2017 by shenanitim

Translation: Arcades in Japan.

The vast majority of my vacation in Japan was spent in arcades. They’re open until 2 or 3 AM and are fantastic. Filled to the brim with games that you’d only watch Youtube videos about.

And crane games. Tons of crane games. Now crane games are big here in Korea too. Maybe more popular here than in Japan, since in Japan the first floor (and maybe the second in the case of Taito Station) would be dedicated to crane games, and the subsequent floors would have actual videogames. Here in Korea, the vast majority of arcades (오락실) are just crane games.

(Don’t ask me about the slimes from Dragon Warrior either. They’re everywhere too. I don’t know what Japan’s national creature is, but if I had to guess, I’d shoot for “slime.”)

Nintendo has a strong presence too. (For completely obvious reasons.) I didn’t know there was an arcade machine for Luigi’s Mansion, but I’m glad there is. Especially with the life-sized ghost vacuums. (Fun fact: Luigi’s Mansion is the last Mario game I’ve played to completion.) Above that we have every 80s kid’s wet dream: a racing game joint-produced by Nintendo and SEGA using (advanced) Power Pad technology. It might’ve taken 30 years, but finally there’s a game that not complete crap for it!

Speaking of Nintendo, tons and tons of Pokemon. Since I’ve already outed myself as ignoring Nintendo after Luigi’s Mansion, I have no knowledge of Pokemon besides the obvious pop culture connections. I mean, I guess if Dragon Warrior is still running strong in Japan, then there’s no reason Pokemon (a younger franchise) wouldn’t also still be running strong.



ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 35

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2017 by shenanitim

What to say? Besides some things changed as of three days ago. So I had been clearing out all the review words everyday, spending on average 60 minutes with Korean vs. ~20. And I felt pretty good about it.

And then last weekend happened. Super busy, and I honestly didn’t have the time or energy to finish off all the words. I still did my daily allotment of 100 (plus any new ones), but no additional. And honestly, nothing seems to have changed.

Take last night for instance. I ended up with around 100+ cards leftover once I completed my daily load. Woke up this morning, and there’s still 100+ cards leftover rather than 200+ (as I feared). So my theory is that by taxing my mind to do 200+ cards daily, I was missing more than I normally would have. A missed card’s counter gets reset to 0; meaning it’ll show up in the next day’s allotment. Meaning that by trying so hard to get everything done quickly, I was ultimately making more work for myself.

I think that now that my nearly month long run of 20 new cards a day is over, those cards have been filtered into the normal Interval schedule. (Some show up sooner, some show up later, and some are (still) showing up nearly daily.) Which means if I can keep my wits about me, and break this (now) two day schedule of 100+ cards, I’ll then be able to wittle down those pesky remainders.

That’s the hope at least.


ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 34

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Hogwan Hijinks! with tags , , , , , on February 13, 2017 by shenanitim

This week marked the end. I finally gave up on my mission of going an entire month adding (at least) 20 new words a day. The daily grind of constantly missing words, as well as the fear that they’d never get the marination time they need in order to be learnt, convinced me to stop. It was a noble experiment, and I don’t regret a moment of it, even if I felt guilty when I did it. (Or didn’t do it, as not making flashcards is obviously easier than making them.)


This week in class I covered pronunciation, as my teachers were three students in the director’s English academy who obviously couldn’t help me with any grammatical questions. So I’d read a unit title out of a collection of Korean/English speaches, and they helped me fine tune whatever I said.

The big takeaway this week being that I still have trouble saying “기” (ge; as in a robe worn while practicing martial arts) correctly. I always say “지” when I see it; giving the “ㄱ” (G/K) a “ㅈ” (J) sound for some reason.

But, other than that, a pretty hoo-hum week on the language front. Which kills me as I write it, as I know I have to push both myself and my learning if I ever want to truly succeed.

I’m not bored and I’m not burnt-out, I liken this to laying low to recharge.

김제에 가고 있어요

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on February 8, 2017 by shenanitim


Translation: Going to Gimje.

Here’s another post that took me waaay too long to get around to. Way back in [look up date], I took a trip over to Gimje (김제) to see the Horizon Festival. Gimje is sort of backwoodsie, but only if you also consider 내소사 super backwoodsie. I don’t, because I love out of the way mountains and small townㄴ (especially when they’re so close to fantastic beaches (해변)).

Essentially the Horizon Festival celebrates the fact that it’s located in one of the only places in Korea were you can easily see the horizon. Or something. As I’m certain I saw the horizon when I went to the neighboring beach too. Maybe every coast town in Korea celebrate the Horizon as they do here.

The party broke down into two main themes: water and hay. There were two types of old-school well machines one could use, and a lot of hay art. Tons of hay art. Oh yeah, kites too. Everyone had kites because they seemed to just be handing them out. (Though, to be honest, we might’ve gotten ours for free because we’re foreigners.)


ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 33

Posted in Free-Range Tampa with tags , , , , , on February 6, 2017 by shenanitim

And just like that, out of the blue, I start posting things on Lang-8 again and in class I get a teacher! Meaning I could finally finish that damned Transportation chapter I started so many ages ago.

The last question of the chapter involved me asking for directions to get to one Seoul subway station to another. I did horribly with this. I know how to ask that question, but making sense of the reply was impossible. Everything said just becomes a blur.

I realized this while practicing the script in the book. See, the characters are talking about Seoul subway stations, famous Seoul subway stations, but they’re still locations I’m not terribly familiar with since I don’t live in Seoul. Were we talking about taking buses to get to Gaeksa, or Hyojadong, I’d have been all over it. I know those places. But what I’ve found makes learning places and names so difficult in a foreign language is that since the names are completely unfamiliar to you, and much of the vocabulary you’re hearing is new also, your ears end up lumping everything together.

Think about it: were you to remove Gangnam’s (K)pop song status from it, no one would know that it is a place, while Yushik (one of the book’s characters) is a person.

Either way the chapter was a bit of a wash, since a.) Jeonju doesn’t have a subway station, b.) I hardly ever relied on others for directions in the States, and c.) everyone (including me!) has some form of GPS with them if they do need a map.


On the Anki front, everything stayed more or less the same. I continued adding new words daily, I’ve continued having to have two review sessions to get the counter down to zero every day, and my Learning percentage of words gotten correct continues to freefall. But, if you look at the pie graph at the bottom of the data, you can now see that the Learning Portion has been steadily growing for some time now.

Which makes me feel like I’m not spinning my wheels quite as much, even if missing a ton of cards daily is disheartening.

고이 잠드소서

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , on February 3, 2017 by shenanitim

Translation: Rest in Peace.

A couple weeks ago I laid to rest the greatest pair of shoes I’ve ever had. They worked retail with me, summer camps, traveled across the world multiple times – they’d done everything.

No tread left on them, every step ended up being painful. Yet I still held onto them even after I had bought their replacement.

ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 32

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2017 by shenanitim

Anki declared the winner?

Okay, I might be making declarations a bit too early. So as mentioned for the past two weeks, I’ve been adding a lot of new vocabulary words into my Anki decks daily. (Generally at least 20/day.) And it hasn’t bothered me much, until this morning when I felt that my grasp on the older cards might be slipping when I get caught up in the frustration of struggling with the new terms.


Then I sit back for a moment and let the rational, rather than the emotion, side of my intellect take control and rationalize it all away.

During the first round of reviews today (the normal 100 review cards and 20 new), I reviewed 193 cards in total, over a course of 36 minutes. That’s not a lot of time spent learning. In fact, while the 193 might be on the high side (I did particularly bad with New/Learning cards), time-wise it falls in line with my normal averages. So the increase in total cards reviewed can be justified for being what they are – many words which I saw once two days ago and completely forgot about in the interim. Which is how things should play out.

You’ll remember some, forget many others. You review those, and some (more) of those will stick. On and on it goes until they’re either permenantly lodged in your brain or marked as Leeches and jettisoned. (Or I go a whole month of adding a ton of cards daily; that’s my new short-term goal. Reach that and then look back on any possible damage done.)

Speaking of leeches, I lost a cards this week to that category, but this week also distinguished itself as being the week where I went through the 70-80 leech cards and put them back in circulation. Which is why my review counts have been so high over the past few days. I dumped a motherlode of old cards into the deck in the hopes that time heal(ed) all wounds.

It doesn’t appear to have done so.

I’d like to blame this infusion of old troublemakers to be the reason my accuracy was so piss poor today (70%).

Not much to report on the class front, as its the Lunar New Year over here in Korea, so many of the teachers were on vacation. I had another (higher level) student with me, so our teacher spent a lot of time talking and then seeing what I could pick out. Which means not a lot to show for it as far as notes go, but a lot to show in listening comprehension. Hell, the head guy said he’s think I’m making good progress.

And that’s all I need to hear!

도쿄에 초밥을 먹었어요

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , on January 26, 2017 by shenanitim

Translation: I ate sushi in Tokyo.

One thing that was a must during my Winter Vacation in Tokyo was sushi. I mean, alongside ramen, sushi is Japan in America. Given my history of doing no research prior to any vacation, I naturally didn’t search out any amazing Tokyo sushi restaurants. Hell, sushi was on the bottom of the list of things to do, not being mentioned until our last day.

Then, when wandering around some town within sight of Mt. Fuki, we stumbled across the place.


Now Uobei is a chain restaurant in Tokyo that specializes in sushi. So I have no clue whether they’re the Japanese equivalent to McDonald’s or not. But then again, I’m about as far from a foodie as you can get, so it really didn’t matter. I mean, what’s could be a more authentic sushi experience than a chain restaurant? If you want to experience how the majority of America lives, you would go to a McDonald’s.

Authenticity concerns aside, the sushi tasted great to this outsider. Though, to be fair, the atmosphere most certainly played a role in that. The restaurant was sent up with tracks to each table so that when you ordered your sushi (via the table’s tablet), a little car would come down along the track delivering the food. Who wouldn’t love that?

As for the food itself, what can I say? I’ve already stated that I’m not a foodie. I’m a Type-I diabetic – I eat things to live. If I could get away with not eating, I’d do it. My diet consists of apples, bananas, broccoli, and lots of corn. Oh yeah, and tons of peanuts. (I’m certain the stock price of Japan’s 7-11 branch skyrocketed while I was there; mainly due to me buying peanuts all the damn time.)

So everything tasted great. As it should, since I was eating sushi in Japan. That fact alone would elevate anything.


저는 매 일에 설사를 생각해요

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on January 23, 2017 by shenanitim

Translation: I think about diarrhea every day.

Yesterday I wrote about how I’ve been loading my Anki deck up with new vocabulary everyday. As of today, I can officially stop.


설사 (diarrhea) – the holy land of Korean vocabulary. Between this and the monkeys from yesterday, I really can’t think of a conversation that I wouldn’t be able to fudge my way through.


Consider Korea conquered.

ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 31

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on January 22, 2017 by shenanitim


원숭이가 자동차안에 있어요.

Translation: The monkey is in the car.

In case you couldn’t tell, this week was dominated by vocabulary. I wrote last week about my fear of overloading myself with new vocabulary; a fear that played a large role in how I learned words for a long time. Last week I threw off the shackles though, and just started adding ~20 words a day, everyday. Some days less, some days more, eventually ending up with around 190 new words in 9 days.

Not including today, which will probably tack on another 20 or so.


As you can see from the Added graph on the right, I continued adding words even tonight – the new ones from class, along with more. Cuz you can’t ever have enough new vocabulary apparently.

Another bit I’ve been doing all week is writing (one of) my teachers every day with a new Korean sentence. This isn’t new per se, as that’s what I had been using Lang-8.com for too. The difference here, though, is that I’m then adding this sentence (or the corrected one) to my Anki deck too.

I’ve been pretty consistant with adding the Korean expressions found in my book, but that ends up being more rote memorization, as I don’t really care about those sentences. I’ll never use 99% of them. Which isn’t terrible (I mean, when am I going to need my own  expression, “The monkey tells me what to do.”?), but by using my own work, I’m forcing myself to a.) remember how I said the sentence the first time, and b.) make the needed corrections. Again and again and again. Until the corrections (and grammatical content) stick.


The last one here (저는 한 주가 새로운 어휘로 바빠요) took me forever to wrap my head around. But it has a little sprinkling of everything I’ve been practicing so far, so all the cursing at myself should eventually be worth it.

Another big change this week came in the Review Count and Time graphs. As I’ve mentioned before, I hadn’t been able to make a dent in my overflow pile.

Anki’s starting deck limit is 100 review words a day, along with 20 new words. So each day I was ending up with 50-100 untouched words, which would just end up compounding. So Thursday I decided to manually override the upper limit, and do all the cards. (Which is the huge spike in the graph.) Now I’ve been doing extra each day in the hopes that I’ll eventually spread the words out amongst the Interval graph and thus allowing me to clear out a day without any overrides.

Granted, in order to accomplish that, I’d probably also have to stop adding new vocabulary constantly. So I’m at a detente right now. I don’t want an overflow pile, but I also don’t want to give up adding new words each day. We’ll see which side (eventually) wins out.