Your First “Journal”

“A page of my journal is like a cake of portable soup. A little may be diffused into a considerable portion.” - James Boswell


Now that you have an account (and soon you’ll have some friends) on Lang-8, you’re going to write your first journal entry. Now – there’s a few important points you should know about.

  • It’s probably not going to be pretty. You will almost certainly get a lot of corrections. That’s good. You want corrections.
  • It’ll be difficult at first. Whenever you do something new, it’s going to be difficult. Trust me, the more you practice like this, the better you’ll get and the more you’ll learn each time you write something.
  • Hopefully this should be fun – you’ll meet new people, possibly find some language partners (over time, as you develop language-exchange relationships).

So, try to have fun with this. Also, don’t get discouraged – it’s supposed to be messy at first – you’ll learn more and more each time you write something (and each time you finish another lesson). Stick with it, and soon your Japanese level will get to the point where you’ll start saying “huh, I’m actually writing something that isn’t gibberish!” and everything will be good.

That being said, let’s write something. It’ll be short, and it’ll be based (of course) on things you’ve already learned. Use to look up words as you need to (try to learn these new words, too!).

What You Did Yesterday (Or Someday)

Here’s how these “journal sessions” are going to work. I’ll give you a topic – then, I’ll give you hints to help you write something. I’m not going to tell you what to write, and I’m not going to show you what to write. I want you to create. I want you to think. I don’t want you to regurgitate. I want you to try new things, take risks, and then learn from any mistakes. You can’t be bashful about messing up – making mistakes is what will get you better. Just consider “mistakes” as a very necessary step towards getting better at learning Japanese.

The topic for your first journal entry is “What you did yesterday.” I choose this topic for a few reasons. First, it’s past tense, meaning you’re working with a tense other than present / future. Second, it’ll be able to utilize the stuff you learned in the last chapter (went to do). I’m going to help you along (not too much, remember, you have to take risks and create to get better!).

Feel free to use what you want (and add to it). I’m going to provide a series of hints so you have some ideas (all based on things you’ve learned on TextFugu in the past) on what to write about. Let’s get started.

1. What did you go do yesterday (or some other day?). Start your sentence with “昨日 、” (that’s きのう)

2. Do you like the thing (noun part) of what you did? Do you dislike it? For example, if you went to buy orange juice, do you like orange juice?

3. What else did you do?

4. Can you describe the thing you did? For example, if you also bought milk, tell me something about the milk.

5. Is it easy to do? Difficult to do? (v.stemやすい/にくい)

6. What will you go do tomorrow?

You can expand on that, but five or six sentences seems like it’ll be a great amount. You don’t have to write an essay, just do a little bit and then the corrections will be easy to study. So, write a little bit, then post it up on Lang-8. I’d recommend writing some things in kanji (I know, it’s totally cheating) so that it’s not too difficult to read. If you write all in hiragana, put some spaces between your words.

After a day or two, you should get some feedback on what you wrote. As I’ve said a couple times, don’t expect it to be too pretty – this is your first journal entry, and it’ll only get better from here!

By finishing this page, you’ve written your first Japanese journal entry! You’ll only get better from here!

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