Lesson 1 - "Let's Read Japanese Novels" with Mumusuke

Welcome to the "Cafetalk Diaries," where I will be blogging and vlogging about five lessons that I'll be taking on Cafetalk.com. 

My first lesson, as a monitor, was "Let's Read Japanese Novels" with tutor "mumusuke." 

I decided to request this particular lesson because I wanted some balance over the course of my "Cafetalk Diaries." I think that free-talk lessons are the most useful for my personal goals at this point, but I would like to take a comprehensive approach. Part of my job is J-->E translation, and a good translator should always strive to become better. 

Here is her profile: http://cafetalk.com/tutors/profile/?id=17425&lang=en

And here is the lesson profile: http://cafetalk.com/lessons/detail/?id=24755&lang=en

This is a 50-minute lesson and it's 1,800 points (currently $20.00 USD) She has very good availability, particularly if you're in the JST time-zone.

This tutor was requested by none other than my own mother! Mumusuke, or Aya-sensei, is helping my mother learn hiragana. She came so highly recommended that I thought she would be a good fit for my level as well.

I was right, this lesson and tutor were a perfect fit! I sent a lesson request and received confirmation within an hour. Her lesson profile instructed me to let her know if I had any requests, but since I didn't really have anything in particular, I just asked if she could recommend something interesting. She sent me two .jpg files which contained a 4-page story. I was asked to read over it briefly before the lesson and gloss over parts that I didn't understand. It was about a con-artist who does phone scams. I won't post the other two pages because it's a surprise! If you'd like to know how the story ends, please take her lesson. :)

She contacted me just before the lesson and we started right on time. I enjoyed her bright personality right away! As you can see from the image, there is no furigana (phonetic readings of kanji) so she helped me whenever I got stuck or mistook a kanji reading. I realized that this is a new weakness! With translation, I don't pay attention to the readings as much as the meaning, so I need to work on that. That used to be one of my strong points when I was studying for the JLPT, but it's interesting how our language skills can change over time!

I was familiar with many of the concepts in this short story, but one of the words that really stood out to me was 地声 (jigoe). The main character in the story is a con-artist who can change his voice to sound like different people. At one point, he falters and his 地声, or his true voice, comes out. Aya-sensei further illustrated this concept of 地声 by imitating a friendly phone operator whose 地声 appears as soon as the hangs up the phone, 「ああ、つかれたー!」"Oh man, I'm tired!" Her scenario was very funny and well-done. I think she could be an actress! But examples like this ensure that I won't forget words like 地声.

Throughout the lesson, she used the chat feature to clarify certain words. We were able to talk about it as we went along, and sometimes there were tangents (my fault!). The fifty minutes absolutely flew by, but it was the exact amount of time to complete the story. I'm very glad that I didn't write this blog post right after the lesson was completed because I was thinking that it would have been nice if she had written some feedback. Sure enough, she sent me this feedback a little while later:


本のタイトルを もう一度書いておきますね。 
『4ページミステリー』 蒼井上鷹(あおい うえたか) 




I am familiar with the concept of ピンポンダッシュ (ding-dong ditch) that she mentioned in her feedback. I learned it the hard way when I was working at an elementary/jr. high school! I think it would have been fun to talk about that as well. We also discussed our own experiences with 振り込め詐欺 (bank transfer scams). I had also asked her about the book and she provided all of the information.

Thank you, mumusuke! I will take your lessons again! I want to try different tutors during the "Cafetalk Diaries," but I plan to take this lesson and her free-talk lessons. Stay tuned for the video version of my lesson, as well as my next lesson, "Emails in Japanese" with Yucca-sensei.

Don't forget to watch my "Cafetalk Diaries" intro video and contact me for a FREE promo code for 1,000 points on Cafetalk! (Until Jan. 31st, 2015)


Thank you for reading, and good luck with your studies!