Coming up with ideas on the spot for writing journals can be tough. I found myself a few times staring at a blank screen thinking of something to write about. And also, your thought process is probably very inclined to use purely English to brainstorm with, but you are suppose to be writing in Japanese. And the more thinking in Japanese you do the better really.
The other problem is that even if you do have a topic like “your weekend plans,” it might be tough to come up with the vocabulary to talk about that. Or you might be tempted to simply use the same vocabulary over and over again. And although using and reusing the same stuff can help you really master it what you really want is more vocabulary.
Well, you can solve a lot of problems by practicing two skills at once. Why not do some reading and writing at the same time? Or at least on the same subject. Reading and writing at the very same time might prove a little difficult.
Reading Up on a Particular Topic
A good way to get started journalling is to first read up on a hot topic. If you are living outside of Japan, it might be a little difficult to stay on top of what everyone is talking about around the water cooler, but you can easily remedy by checking out some of the more popular news sites like Asahi Newspaper or where everybody seems to get their news now – Yahoo Japan.
From there it is a good idea to do some further research by doing a Google search on the topic you want to write about. Generally speaking, if you search with a Japanese word, you will get Japanese results. In fact, if you are in Japan, and the search phrase is short enough, you might get Japanese results with an English search.
You can read through the articles on the first page, but if you want to find something more topical, be sure to click the ‘News’ (ニュース). There you will find all the latest news articles about the particular topic. Read a few articles to get the general idea of the subject. You’ll find that reading about one topic will also help your comprehension a bit because some of the same words will crop up.
Write Something Already!
After you have done some reading you can sit down and write about your opinion on the topic or what you think you can add. Be sure to try to include some of the phrases and expressions that you read in some of the articles. Try to use them in your own words. Of course, also try to add something by looking up some vocabulary to use.
Then you can send it off to lang-8 to get checked. However, they are non-professionals and are sometimes a little unreliable. In my own experience, I get a lot of rough edits that kind of make sense but don’t really have good flow. I usually end up sitting down with a native to go over it. If you don’t have a native friend within arm’s reach, you might want to try JapanesePod101’s Premium Plus.
Here is my try:
Are we living in the age of Pokemon? Recently, it seems like there is a Pokemon phenomena. Whenever I go to the park, there are many people, feverishly looking down at their hands in the heat. It seems like they are zombies walking around. Every once in awhile you can hear “Got it” or “I captured one.”
I can’t say if Pokemon Go is a good thing or a bad thing. However, there are many problems. For example, there is a report of a female high school student being molested. In Hokkaido, 122 kids have been detained for safety reasons. The number of people caught up in their cell phones in public places has been increasing. It is gradually becoming more troublesome.
On the other hand, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Nishi Hongwan Temple is now welcoming Pokemon Go players. In addition, they have put up a sign introducing “Pokemon Stops.” In order to catch Pokemon, one man walked 50 km. He supposedly lost 5 kg.
How about you?
What do you think of the Pokemon Go craze? Do you think it is a good thing? Tell me about in the comments. Write your own journal and get it checked by native. Let us know your progress.
Photo by Jason Dean