Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Coaches

This tea hobby of mine has opened doors to so many other learning opportunities. I have learned that tea is drunk in a variety of ways around the world. As I studied the tea habits of each culture, I found out more about each culture in general.

One region that has currently caught my interest is Japan. I really wanted to find out more about the Japanese culture, so I thought that a good first step would be to learn their language.

At the end of October, I bought the Nintendo DS game called “My Japanese Coach.” As of this moment I am on lesson 20 of 120. So far, I really like this program and think that it is a great way to learn Japanese.

The lessons have been really easy to understand. The program gives you ten to twenty words or phrases to learn each lesson. I think that is the right amount of information per lesson – it does not overwhelm you with too many new things to learn at one time.

Because Japanese characters are different from English characters, the program shows you how each word is written in Japanese characters and in English characters. The program also pronounces each word and you can hear the words over and over again (as many times as you want).

My favorite part of this program is the games that you play in order to learn the words or phrases. There are about ten different games to choose from. You start out with one game and unlock more as you progress through the lessons. There are two different games where you learn to write the Japanese characters – those are my favorite.

Another awesome feature about this program is that you can go back to previous lessons anytime to review what you have learned. Going back will not affect your current lesson.

This program rocks! Because the Nintendo DS is small enough to carry with you everywhere, you can pull it out while on the bus, in a waiting room, etc., do a lesson and you are good to go.

You could do the same thing with a book that teaches you Japanese, however, a nice feature about the NDS game is you can hear how the word is pronounced (headphones are great for this). A book can give you a written pronunciation, but there is still no way to know if you are pronouncing it right.

I received “My Chinese Coach” for Christmas. However, I have been too busy with school to tap into that one, yet.

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