Taiwan

2-Day Alishan Trip (Guesthouse, Trails, Train Recs)

Last week, I took off Wednesday-Friday to go to Alishan, a mountain range in central Taiwan. It was pretty mind-blowing. The boyfriend was supposed to come, but his grandfather passed away so of course he had to stay in Japan with the family. On my end, I had been looking forward to this holiday for… Continue reading 2-Day Alishan Trip (Guesthouse, Trails, Train Recs)

history · Taiwan

Camphor: From Totoro to Taiwan

Does anyone else remember the name of the giant tree that Totoro likes to sleep in? For some reason, this detail has stuck with me to this day-- "camphor". And that's probably the last time I encountered this word in English. In Chinese however, you'll encounter the word for camphor 樟腦 in everyday life. It pops… Continue reading Camphor: From Totoro to Taiwan

Taiwan

Taiwanese Wedding Banquet, emphasis on “Banquet”

Last weekend, I had the chance to attend a Taiwanese wedding for the second time in my life. In neither did I actually know the bride or groom... but that's OK, because weddings here are about the food. The first time I attended a Taiwanese wedding, I was actually sent specifically to eat. I have… Continue reading Taiwanese Wedding Banquet, emphasis on “Banquet”

Taiwan

Taiwan through Song, Dance, and 3D Film

fThe past few weeks, I had the chance to attend two performances related to Taiwan. The more recent one was called 關於島嶼 FORMOSA by the internationally-renowned Cloud Gate Dance Theatre. It was a free outdoor performance (thank you Cathay Bank!). The dancing was sublime as was the background music, clearly sung by an aboriginal singer  (I… Continue reading Taiwan through Song, Dance, and 3D Film

Taiwan

Glimpses of Local Culture in 《花甲男孩轉大人》

I've been based in Taiwan for nine months now and just finished a drama called 《花甲男孩轉大人》. It's on Netflix under "A Boy Named Flora A". It was so slow-paced I nearly gave up on it, but what kept my attention was the amount of local culture it featured. This might seem strange--wouldn't every drama feature local culture?… Continue reading Glimpses of Local Culture in 《花甲男孩轉大人》

Japanese · SLAP (Speak Like A Person) Exercises

SLAP#8 “He said, she said” or “He was saying, she was saying?”… 言った vs 言っていた

I like to go to Japanese hair salons, even when I'm not in Japan. I've been in the U.S. and Korea, and was hoping to find one in northern France, where I'm living now, but alas... 日本人の美容室【びようしつ】ないんだよね〜 *sigh*. However, I did find a SLAP-worthy sentence! It's from the blog of a Japanese woman who lives in my region and finally… Continue reading SLAP#8 “He said, she said” or “He was saying, she was saying?”… 言った vs 言っていた

Japanese · SLAP (Speak Like A Person) Exercises

SLAP#7 “Connected to the internet?” “Passed a test?” “Got a call?”… how Japanese people use intransitive verbs in EVERY aspect of life.

So far, we've looked at situations where Japanese people use the passive voice and the potential form when we wouldn't. To wrap up this mini-series on verbs, let's now look at when Japanese native speakers use intransitive verbs! (when we wouldn't! do I even need to keep saying that?) For example, just the other day, I heard a Japanese… Continue reading SLAP#7 “Connected to the internet?” “Passed a test?” “Got a call?”… how Japanese people use intransitive verbs in EVERY aspect of life.

Japanese · SLAP (Speak Like A Person) Exercises

SLAP#6 “Did you sleep well?” vs “Were you able to sleep well?”… how Japanese people actually use the られる potential form.

A big part of Sounding Like A Person is noticing differences between your base language and your target language. Last time we looked at how Japanese native speakers often use the passive voice when we wouldn't. This time we'll look at a similar phenomenon: how Japanese people use the potential form of a verb when we wouldn't! If you've ever stayed with… Continue reading SLAP#6 “Did you sleep well?” vs “Were you able to sleep well?”… how Japanese people actually use the られる potential form.

Japanese · SLAP (Speak Like A Person) Exercises

SLAP#5 Miss World Japan: “People always ask if I’m pure Japanese” … in the passive voice.

I stumbled upon the Japan Times' Bilingual series, which features articles in mostly English, but also includes key sentences in Japanese. In particular, I found this interview with Miss World Japan 2016, whose ethnicity (she is half-Indian) caused a bit of a stir! Most important for us though is that she uses the "passive tense" in Japanese when we… Continue reading SLAP#5 Miss World Japan: “People always ask if I’m pure Japanese” … in the passive voice.