What and Who
This has been a very busy week. Kira is in Kyoto with her students, my friends Chris and Carrie are visiting, I have a lot of work at my job to get done, and it is the first week with two Japanese lessons.
Today in class we added a lot of new vocabulary including one word that I think I have “learned” about 5 times. For some reason I can never remember the word for bag – kaban. Hopefully by typing it here it will stick. The phrase that I really learned today wasn’t really in the curriculum. The first lesson of the day was learning the word for what – nan. The sensei would pick up an item and ask us, “kore wa nan desu ka?” (what is this?) She then had people come up and do the same thing. Each time she would point at a person and say “Kitte kudasai.” She never translated this for us, but by the end of the class everyone knew it meant, “Please come here.” In addition to these two phrases we learned the words for about 30 nouns as each new item got picked up, including a kaban.
After we finished with What? we moved on to Who?
To practice the question “Who?” the sensei would hold up a picture of someone and ask “Dare?”. I list for you now the five people that she showed us assuming they would be instantly recognizable to our very international group.
- Barack Obama
- Albert Einstein
- Will Smith
- Steve Jobs
- Vladimir Putin
She also taught us the example in the textbook, to ask us who is on the ¥1000 note. None of us knew, but she wrote it up on the board and explained that he was the famous doctor, Hideyo Noguchi.
Which worked well to transition us to a lesson on counting money. I have the numbers down fairly well, but I still stumbled when reading aloud things like 587 or 13849 because I have to think of each part separately. One interesting thing about this lesson was that we started giving each other random numbers and it was at this point the sessei told us that 4 yen is yoen and not yonen, because the latter just doesn’t sound right.