Check-In - Snippets from Yoshimoto Banana's キッチン

Hi everyone!  How did you do this first week?  Were there any setbacks?  Did you manage to complete--or even surpass--the short-term goals you set for yourself?  How did you progress from day-to-day?  Please let us know in the comments!  If you have something to share, you can also comment to this post or create a new post of your own.  Please don't be shy!

For this week's check-in, I've included the first few passages from Yoshimoto Banana's キッチン in Japanese.  I think her writing is a good medium between easy and challenging to translate.  I'll give you all some time to try at the translations, and will then post the passage again in English, taken directly from the translated English edition of the book.  By the way, the kanji 田辺 is the family name Tanabe.

私がこの世でいちばん好きな場所は台所だと思う。 どこのでも、どんなのでも、それが台所であれば食事を作る場所であれば私はつらくない。できれば機能的でよく使い込んであるといいと思う。乾いた清潔なふきんが何枚もあって白いタイルがぴかぴか輝く。 ものすごく汚い台所だって、たまらなく好きだ。 床に野菜くずが散らかっていて、スリッパの裏が真っ黒になるくらい汚いそこは、異様に広いといい。ひと冬軽く越せるような食料が並ぶ巨大な冷蔵庫がそびえ立ち、その銀の扉に私はもたれかかる。油が飛び散ったガス台や、さびのついた包丁からふと目を上げると、窓の外には淋しく星が光る。 私と台所が残る。自分しかいないと思っているよりは、ほんの少しましな思想だと思う。 本当に疲れ果てた時、私はよくうっとりと思う。いつか死ぬ時がきたら、台所で息絶えたい。ひとり寒いところでも、誰かがいてあたたかいところでも、私はおびえずにちゃんと見つめたい。台所なら、いいなと思う。 田辺家に拾われる前は、毎日台所で眠っていた。 どこにいてもなんだか寝苦しいので、部屋からどんどん楽なほうへと流れていったら、冷蔵庫のわきがいちばんよく眠れることに、ある夜明け気づいた。 私、桜井みかげの両親は、そろって若死にしている。そこで祖父母が私を育ててくれた。中学校へ上がる頃、祖父が死んだ。そして祖母と二人でずっとやってきたのだ。 先日、なんと祖母が死んでしまった。びっくりした。


    The place I like best in this world is the kitchen.  No matter where it is, no matter what kind, if it's a kitchen, if it's a place where they make food, it's fine with me.  Ideally it should be well broken in.  Lots of tea towels, dry and immaculate.  White tile catching the light (ting! ting!).
    I love even incredibly dirty kitchens to distraction--vegetable droppings all over the floor, so dirty your slippers turn black on the bottom.  Strangely, it's better if this kind of kitchen is large.  I lean up against the silver door of a towering, giant refrigerator stocked with enough food to get through a winter.  When I raise my eyes from the oil-splattered gas burner and rusty kitchen knife, outside the window stars are glittering, lonely.
    Now only the kitchen and I are left.  It's just a little nicer than being all alone.
When I'm dead worn out, in a reverie, I often think that when it comes time to die, I want to breathe my last in a kitchen.  Whether it's cold and I'm alone, or somebody's there and it's warm, I'll stare death fearlessly in the eye.  If it's a kitchen, I'll think, "How good."
    Before the Tanabe family took me in, I spent every night in the kitchen.  After my grandmother died, I couldn't sleep.  One morning at dawn I trundled out of my room in search of comfort and found that the one place I could sleep was beside the refrigerator.
    My parents--my name is Mikage Sakurai--both died when they were young.  After that my grandparents brought me up.  I was going into junior high when my grandfather died.  From then on, it was just my grandmother and me.
    When my grandmother died the other day, I was taken by surprised.
Hi hi! :D So far, I'm doing well. One of my goals for this year was to study more (which is totally subjective, but I know how much/little I studied last year lol) and I really am! This week I only missed one day, and the same for the week before that, so this is a lot better for me! :) I try to do *something* with Japanese every day - Genki studies, JapanesePod101, sentence structures, vocab drills on Memrise and/or on phone apps, listening to music, watching drama or movies or anime, or listening to interviews with musicians...

And it feels like something has clicked into place in my head, so that the various bits of language-learning I have done so far is starting to come together. On this level. I know that things will start to feel complicated again at some point, but I'm a lot more confident now that I can do this!
My first week was quite unproductive since I was (mostly psychologically) busy with a project that should have ended last Friday, but got extended until this Tuesday. :/ I got to finish reading the last two chapters, focusing on the grammar discussions, of Genki I. I barely remember most of it, though (but they're concepts I'm quite familiar with).

For this week, my friend's Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary gift arrived yesterday and I used it to learn Kanji by radical. It was really nice, but I've only had progress with 2 Kanji so far. Still confused whether to go on with Genki's thematic arrangement or dive straight ahead to radical-based learning. Maybe I'll use the thematic one for the Kanji discussed in Genki. Speaking of that book, I've also started reading the first chapter of Genki II, but haven't gotten around to absorbing it just yet.

I'm planning to go back to Anki but I'm still confused which card template and style works best for vocabulary and Kanji (I want to make my own decks).

As for my regular immersion exercises, I have been speaking with my language buddy twice every week as usual (on weekends), and I have made the article translation a regular thing as well because Kalafina's blog entries are just too entertaining to pass up. I have set a really nice flexible but regular schedule for both of them, so why do I struggle so hard with the traditional learning methods? @_@

Oh, and also since two weeks ago, I have started gaming with my boyfriend on weekends, and we are also working on our school transfer documents (sorry for the overshare!). Those eat up a lot of time.

Any advice? ;A;

Edited at 2015-03-13 02:01 pm (UTC)
Ooh, seems like you're doing really well! =D

And you know, I think in terms of traditional learning methods, it all depends on what works for you? If anki doesn't, you don't have to use it. Though I do approve of making your own card templates, since those are usually better. I find it helps to have several different card templates-- one for kanji recognition, one for kanji recall (it gives you the english word and you have to recall the kanji), one for vocab, and one for grammar.

Phew, I hope I keep this up, then, and even make it better (laziness, go away!!!)
Thanks for the suggestions, I will keep those in mind! ^0^
My only gripe with making my own decks is I remember the things I put in too well (can be good or bad depending on how you think), and it takes up so much time. I remember using Tae Kim's Grammar shared deck back in the day, and I still remember most of the concepts, I think.