Skip to main content

Lady Wynwood #7 early release Kickstarter

I worked on my first Kickstarter and it got approved! It’s for the Special Edition Hardcover of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer and the release of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster. I contacted my graphic designer about the Special Edition Hardcover of vol. 1: Archer—it’s going to be SO beautiful! The Kickstarter focuses on the Special Edition Hardcover, but it’ll also include vol. 7: Spinster so that it’ll sort of be like a launch day for vol. 7, too. A third special thing that’ll be in the Kickstarter is Special Edition Paperbacks of all the books in the series. They won’t be available in stores, just in the Kickstarter (and later, from my website, and also in my Patreon book box tiers if I decide to do them). The Kickstarter is not live yet, but you can follow it to be alerted when it has launched. (You may need to create a free Kickstarter account.) Follow Camy’s Kickstarter

Learning Japanese - having more fun

おはようございます! I’ve been offline lately because I’ve been:
A) working on my book
B) being stuck on my book
C) praying a lot about my book
D) switching to a new book to write to try to jumpstart my creativity again
E) (re)learning Japanese in my spare time

The Japanese part has been inconsistent because, well, it can be boring. But I found a way to make it more fun!

My listening comprehension for my Japanese is not very good, so I watched Japanese anime with English subtitles. Crunchyroll has a ton you can watch with only their free membership.

Lately, to take my listening practice to the next level, I started helping out with a coffee hour gathering put on by the Japanese language congregation at my church once a month. Okay, so Japanese ladies from Japan speak REALLY REALLY FAST! But it’s good practice to learn the actual speed people talk. I don’t understand most of what they say yet … Also, my vocabulary isn’t very large so many times I won’t understand because I don’t know the word or phrase.

But it’s good for me to force myself to speak Japanese even if I’m pretty sure I’m grammatically incorrect. I have to just do it! and ignore my embarrassment or self-consciousness. I tell myself that I don’t have to be perfect. Most of the Japanese ladies realize I’m learning Japanese and they don’t mind my bad grammar, and the important thing is that they can understand what I’m trying to say.

For the past week or two I’ve been experimenting with different online resources to try to make learning Japanese more fun. I joined the LearnJapanese subReddit group but many of the conversations are just too high a level for me yet. However, it’s a good place for me to ask questions (I got a quick answer for my question about how to pronounce the symbols you often see on Japanese novel titles).

What got me really excited was an app I discovered a few days ago, HelloTalk. It’s a social media app specifically for people learning other languages. When you create your profile, you indicate what country you’re living in, what your native language is, what language you’re trying to learn, and your proficiency level in that language, and those four stats are all shown on your profile in HelloTalk.

Then the app specifically filters the social media posts so that you can choose to see (a) people who speak the language you’re trying to learn (for me, Japanese speakers), or (b) people like you who are trying to learn the new language you’ve indicated (for me, English speakers learning Japanese). The posts from (a) are sometimes in Japanese, sometimes in English or another language that the users are trying to learn.

As an English speaker, I can help other users because the app allows you to actually correct someone’s English in their post. Likewise, Japanese speakers can correct the Japanese in my posts.

You can also randomly send a message (through the app) to other users to do a foreign language exchange chat and get to know them. I haven’t done that yet, and I probably would only do that with women users and not men users, just to feel safe. Some aspects and etiquette of foreign language exchange chatting are explained in this Youtube video.

So far, I’ve been trying to read the posts from Japanese users. Sometimes the posts use more vocabulary and kanji than I understand, but sometimes they’re readable and I only have to look up a few words. HelloTalk also has a really nice feature where you can tap on a word and it’ll translate it for you in the app, but the free accounts are only limited to a few translations a day. You can instead look up unfamiliar words in a free online dictionary like Jisho.org but if you don’t know the pronounciation of the kanji, then you have to try to look it up by radicals.

You can also follow users you interact with and choose to see only the posts of the people you follow. It’s been a nice way to get to know other users through their posts.

I was pretty burned out on Facebook and I haven’t been on social media at all for the past year, but HelloTalk suddenly made me excited to be on social media again! I forced myself to respond to posts in Japanese, and to comment on other users’ posts in Japanese when I could. The nice thing is that I can stop and look up a vocabulary word before typing it in. I’ve used a lot more Japanese in the past few days than I have in several months of learning it. It really helps to be forced to recall the grammar I’ve learned and figure out what to use.

If you’re on HelloTalk, please email me to let me know! I’ll send you my HelloTalk ID.

Comments

Popular Posts

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

Interview with Fantasy author Willamette Sutta

Adamant in Dust by Willamette Sutta Stones of power and one princess to save them all. The Far Stone Endurant is broken, and a prophecy foretells doom… She should have been the chosen princess to deliver them. But Pergi can’t love Prince Teyrnon, and that's a deal-breaker. Pergi has prepared all her life to become the ruler that her father wants. Without sons, he knows she could only retain the throne if she marries the neighboring prince, combining their kingdoms. Yet the same prophecy that calls for the reunification also warns that they must join by love. Supplanted by her younger sister in this sentiment, Pergi waits with ill grace for Sadira to marry Teyrnon and steal her birthright. No one expects that Sadira would do a runner on her wedding day. What starts as an impromptu rescue of the wayward bride leads to a desperate struggle against a deadly foe. The dark lord Malchor ensnares Sadira in his opening bid to gain all the Far Stones of power. With them, he wi

Last chance for Camy’s Patreon bonuses

Thank you to everyone who subscribed to my Patreon! I hope you enjoyed the chapters of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster  that I posted the last few weeks. (For those who missed the announcement, I now have a subscription on Patreon where you can read the chapters of my next book ahead of the ebook publication. In order for you to get a taste of my Patreon, I’ve posted the Prologue and Chapter 1 of Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 7: Spinster  for my newsletter subscribers to read for free.) Roundup of what happened on Patreon: Last week, I posted a bonus extras post about Easter Eggs from Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer  and volume 7: Spinster . Be sure to chime in if you watched Fullmetal Alchemist or any other anime! I also recorded a video —which was super scary, let me tell you, because I had NO clue what I was doing! Check it out, and at the very least, you'll have a good laugh. This week is your last chance to subscribe and receive “Bidding on Tr

Toilet seat cover

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Update August 2008: I wrote up the pattern for this with "improvements"! Here's the link to my No Cold Bums toilet seat cover ! Okay, remember a few days ago I was complaining about the cold toilet seat in my bathroom? Well, I decided to knit a seat cover. Not a lid cover, but a seat cover. I went online and couldn’t find anything for the seat, just one pattern for the lid by Feminitz.com . However, I took her pattern for the inside edge of the lid cover and modified it to make a seat cover. Here it is! It’s really ugly stitch-wise because originally I made it too small and had to extend it a couple inches on each side. I figured I’d be the one staring at it, so who cared if the extension wasn’t perfectly invisible? I used acrylic yarn since, well, that’s what I had, and also because it’s easy to wash. I’ll probably have to wash this cover every week or so, but it’s easy to take off—I made ties which you can see near the back of the seat. And

Frogs

I know I blogged about this on my Writing Diary Blog , but I don’t think I blogged about this here. I read a few writing and productivity books, and I’ve been trying to form better daily habits. The problem is that my self-discipline is very bad. As in, embarrassingly bad. One of my goals has been to form a better writing habit. Since I’m a full-time writer, I already write every day, but I think there are things I can do to tweak my schedule so that I can be able to focus better when I write. I tend to get distracted by the thought of things I need to do that day which I haven’t done yet. I don’t know why my brain is like this, but I haven’t been able to break this tendency. So for example, while I’m writing, I’ll suddenly think about the fact that today’s the day when I need to change the bathroom towels, or mop the kitchen floor, or change the bedsheets. It’ll distract me for a few moments before I tell myself I’ll do it later and I need to focus on writing now. Then a few

Irrational loves

Captain's Log, Stardate 10.09.2007 Today I went to lunch with my friend Dineen, and afterwards, we headed into Borders just to browse. Borders has this section full of cute little notebooks. Small ones, big ones, colored paper ones, you name it. They also have pens and wallets and zippered bags and iPod cases. I must have spent at least thirty minutes just going ga-ga over the stupid little notebooks! What is it with notebooks and me? I can count the number of them that I’ve actually filled on the fingers of one hand. I have them all over the house, most with only a page or two written on, and an entire BOX of new ones in my closet. And I keep coveting more! This thing with notebooks is completely irrational. I cannot understand it, and I cannot stop it. I also cannot seem to fill them with any speed. And considering how much I like to talk, that’s pathetic. I should at least be able to spout nothings enough to fill a few. But when I open it to write inside, a part of my brain sud

Earthquake in San Jose

Captain's Log, Supplemental Some of you might have heard about the 5.2 earthquake in San Jose last night. Just to let you know, we’re okay. The house started shaking, and after 17 years in California, I know by now to run for a doorway. The shaking was over in a few seconds. No big deal. Not even a broken plate or glass. A couple CDs fell off my shelf, nothing else. Even before the shaking completely stopped, I’m standing in the doorway to my office like a good Californian, and I see Captain Caffeine walk into the foyer! “What are you doing? You’re supposed to be under a desk!” “Uh ... I was keeping the cabinets from falling.” (Translation: he was holding the cabinets closed so the glasses wouldn’t rain on the kitchen floor, which in hindsight was thoughtful of him, but I’d rather have glass over the floor instead of a ceiling tile falling on his head!) My friend Dineen lives closer to the epicenter, so I called to see how she was. Everything was fine at her house. “In fact,” she s

Lacy Red Bolero knit pattern

I’ve been trying to get rid of yarn in my stash this year. I came across these two red yarns that look similar but are slightly different. I didn’t have enough of one yarn for a scarf, and while I had enough of the second yarn for a scarf, I have TONS of scarves. So I decided to use both yarns to make a lacy bolero that I can wear over tank tops to make them into T-shirts (it’s still a little chilly here in California, not quite tank top weather). I wrote down the pattern here. I based it off of the Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet pattern by Julia Allen . This is a good pattern to use if you have between 250-300 yards of a worsted/Aran weight yarn, or between 150-200 yards of a worsted/Aran weight yarn and about 90-100 yards of another yarn to use for the ribbing and edging. I think this might look really good with a contrasting color for the ribbing. The yarns I used were a wool worsted/Aran weight (I’m not sure since I got it when my mom cleaned out a friend’s house for her, b

Lady Wynwood #7 early release Kickstarter

I worked on my first Kickstarter and it got approved! It’s for the Special Edition Hardcover of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer and the release of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster. I contacted my graphic designer about the Special Edition Hardcover of vol. 1: Archer—it’s going to be SO beautiful! The Kickstarter focuses on the Special Edition Hardcover, but it’ll also include vol. 7: Spinster so that it’ll sort of be like a launch day for vol. 7, too. A third special thing that’ll be in the Kickstarter is Special Edition Paperbacks of all the books in the series. They won’t be available in stores, just in the Kickstarter (and later, from my website, and also in my Patreon book box tiers if I decide to do them). The Kickstarter is not live yet, but you can follow it to be alerted when it has launched. (You may need to create a free Kickstarter account.) Follow Camy’s Kickstarter