We had our 10th and last EOTO meeting at my my place. I had promised to cook even though I knew that cooking is not exactly my specialty… But my Indian style ‘dal’ sauce turned out pretty good and I wouldn’t be lying if I said I think we both enjoyed it.
While eating we also discussed my practical training/internship period which I will do in Japan this summer. Nao said her father would be interested to show me around which I thought was a very good idea.
After the meal we watched a movie I had selected: Aki Kaurismäki’s ‘The Man Without a Past’. I had seen the movie already at least three times but I like it a lot and thought it would be a good one for Nao to see. It’s different from other Finnish directors’ work and has some cool Japan references in one scene. And of course because Kaurismäki has many fans in Japan.
Even though our last meeting was great, finishing the course feels a bit sad. I think it’s been a nice addition to textbook and internet studying, and of course a valuable ‘spice’ to normal school stuff. So at least for me this course was a nice experience in several ways.
We had our 9th meeting at the usual place, TAMK’s library. I was prepared for this meeting with some sentences and expressions I wanted to know. We also translated some professions from a printout that Nao had from her Finnish classes. Here’s what I have written in my notebook:
…するぞ = *said when you’re going to do something, very strong expression
日本に行っても、日本語の勉強を続ける = When I go to Japan, I will continue studying Japanese
たくさん働いたら、疲れる = I get tired when I work hard
色々 = anything
けんちくか = architect
みぶんしょうめいしょ = ID
うんてんめんきょしょう = driving licence
めいし = business card
After a long break with the meetings we got back to EOTO and once again met on a Friday afternoon at the school library. My Advanced Japanese course had just started the day before and Nao’s Finnish studies continue as well. We talked about comparing things, which was the topic of my this year’s first Japanese lesson. Sentences like ‘x is bigger/smaller that x’. In Japanese it is very simple but Finnish – of course – has some irregularities. Anyway, these are the expressions I learned this time:
大阪のほうへ(Oosaka nohou e) = “To the direction of Osaka”
ゆっくり話してくれますか(yukkuri hanashite kuremasuka) = “Could you speak slower?”
ゆっくりしてね(yukkurishite ne) = “Make yourself at home”
せいかつがくるしい(seikatsu ga kurushii) = “life is painful” but understood as “I don’t have money”
We also talked about karaoke, movies, summer jobs and other things. We agreed that we would both write a short “essay” about our winter holidays, me in Japanese and Nao in Finnish. Next time we’ll check them and make possible corrections.
I don’t have much to say about this meeting. Partly because it’s already been two weeks since we had it and partly because we didn’t do anything special and stayed at the usual place, the TAMK main campus library. Topics we discussed were interesting nevertheless. Here are some things I learned:
買いに行かないといけない(kai ni ikanai to ikenai) = I have to buy…
Same can be expressed as 買わないと行かない(kawanai to ikanai)
現像(genzou) = developing(photographs for example)
移動中(いどうちゅう, idouchuu) = on the way(to somewhere)
三人しかいなかった (sannin shikainakatta) = there were only three people
We also talked about the word yappari, which is a very common word in the Japanese language. It can be translated to ‘I knew it!’ but can also be used to repeal something you have said before.
やっぱり好きじゃない (yappari sukijanai) = “maybe I don’t like it anymore”
This time we had arranged a double meeting with Ryoko and Ada at Ada’s place. So on Thursday evening after my Japanese class I took a bus from the city to Lielahti. When I arrived there the girls were there already and food was on the table. We ate カレーライス(curry rice) which is a popular delicacy in Japan. The food was awesome and while eating we discussed some rather interesting topics.
This time we didn’t study languages like we normally do on these meetings but it was interesting to listen to the three speaking Japanese, recognizing single words here and there. I think the pairings on this course in our cases are perfect since Ada and Ryoko are both quite advanced in each others’ languages while me and Nao are both beginners. I have to say that in terms of only studying the languages this group meeting idea would probably not be that good but as a casual evening with friends it was fun.
Again, we met at the TAMK main campus library, only three days after our last meeting. This time we mostly focused on language and didn’t drift that far from the subject as we usually do. Having said that, we did talk about the popularity of tango music in Finland, for example. This time I got a good amount of notes though and was once again reminded how useful this course can be. Here’s some of the things Nao taught me:
Instead of asking ‘do you want to drink coffee?’, the Japanese might ask コーヒーを要りますか (koohii wo irimasuka) which means ‘Do you need coffee?’
やばい! (yabai!) = “That’s sick!”, “Amazing!” or in a way also “What a pretty girl!”
ほんとうにもうしわけありません (hontoo ni mooshiwake arimasen) = a very deep apology meaning “I really have no excuse for what I’ve done, no way out”
We also discussed discounts in stores. In Finland it’s very common to have this “Buy 3, Pay for 2” discounts. In Japan this is not at all that common BUT the way it’s expressed is interesting: ふたつかったら、みっつめがついてくる(futatsu kattara, mittsume ga tsuitekuru) meaning ‘if you buy two, the third one will follow’.
さいふどっかいった (saifu dokka itta) = ‘my wallet went somewhere'(=I lost my wallet)
It’s been over a month but we’re back at this again!
Our fourth meeting took place at the TAMK main campus library. We started by helping each other with our homework from language courses. After five weeks this helped us to see the progress that we’ve both made individually.
This time I learned these:
…と ささきます(to sasayakimasu) means ‘to whisper'(in a bit romantic way)
…と つぶやきます(to tsubuyakimasu) means almost the same but is used when someone is talking to himself or ‘tweeting’ on Twitter
…と さけびます(to sakebimasu) means ‘to scream’
After language things we of course got carried away and talked about various cultural things including differences in celebrating Christmas, my Asian Programme online courses and Natsume Soseki’s book Sanshiro which I read lately and which Nao has read previously.
This time we met at an Asian restaurant called Ming Zhu. We chose this restaurant because it had a buffet at student price and sushi in it. We had our suspicions about the sushi but in my case they faded away when I got my hands on the stuff for the first in months. Of course it wasn’t even close to the real Japanese sushi IN Japan but still decent and interesting.
On previous meetings we have focused only on studying the languages so this meeting was a bit more informal, so to speak. I learned that ika means squid but mostly we talked about cultures and art. We found out that we both like Takeshi Kitano’s film Hana-bi(one of my all-time favorite films)and the works of Joe Hisaishi who composed the music for that and many other great Kitano and Ghibli movies.
We also discussed the questions of immigration and refugees from our countries’ perspectives. I’ve always been very welcoming for people who want to live in Finland but I also think and speak as a person who himself is going to leave. The Japanese way of staying more closed but letting those who will respect the local culture and are willing to “blend” in stay, might be better than just opening the door for everyone who knocks. This keeps the culture original and as distinctive (and great) as it is.
The weather was too cold for the picnic we had been planning so we went to the school library’s balcony.
We started with Finnish and I was happy and surprised to notice that Nao is making progress very fast. I thought the Finnish verb conjugations would take much more time to learn. So in the future we’ll mostly be concentrating on the many exceptions to these rules.
I had my course book with me so we went through some things I’m currently learning. I also learned some useful phrases which are still a bit beyond my grammatical knowledge. For example:
(object)wo mottekite = bring something, literally “come with (object)”
raishuu made ni (object) wo yonde kite = read (object) for next week
nihongo wo hanasu to itta = I said I speak Japanese
I find these meetings very helpful because this way I learn more casual things than what they teach on formal courses. Next time we’ll have lunch somewhere, looking forward to that!
Hi, I’m Toni! I’m studying Japanese and teaching Finnish to my pair Nao.
On our first meeting we decided to meet at the school’s cafe. It was not the best choice for language studies because some friends kept interrupting our conversation but all in all the meeting was very useful and we decided to go have a picnic next time if the weather is good.
This time I taught some phrases that are useful when ordering a coffee. I think it’s funny that I really had to think what I would say in these situations. In Finnish it’s a bit tough because nobody really speaks the way we write books or newspaper articles.
Nao is from the Osaka area in Japan so she taught me two words in Osaka dialect(I’m writing everything with letters because I guess most people wouldn’t understand the Japanese characters):
ookini = thank you
I also finally learned the reason why hanashimasu(to speak) is sometimes said hanasemasu. The latter emphasizes the ability to speak while the first one simply states that someone speaks. So:
hikimasu = to play(a musical instrument)
hikemasu = to be able to play or ‘I can play’
I’m really looking forward to the next meeting and studying outdoors.