Welcome to the second installment of the "Cafetalk Diaries," where I will be blogging and vlogging about five lessons that I'll be taking on Cafetalk.com.
My second lesson, as a monitor, was "Let's write e-mail in Japanese" with tutor "Yucca."
I decided to request this lesson to ensure that the emails I send to agencies are polite, error-free, and appealing. Usually emails are very concise in English and this has become a habit of mine. I often have to respond to emails from my narration agencies and questions about translations.
Here is her profile: http://cafetalk.com/tutors/profile/?id=18497&lang=en
And here is the lesson profile: http://cafetalk.com/lessons/detail/?id=26267&lang=en
This is a 40-minute lesson and it's 1,700 points (currently $18.89 USD). She's usually available from 8AM-8PM (Japan time) except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Yucca-sensei asked about the specific problems I was having and we even pulled up some of my email threads. The two main email problems I asked her to help me with were:
1. Responding to requests and inqueries from agencies. (Usually about scheduling)
2. Sending updates about visa information and new voice samples to agencies.
The lesson was completely customized. She listened carefully about concerns I had and what kind of emails I wanted to write. She sent me feedback right after the lesson, not only a general lesson note, but a 3-page .pdf attachment! Here were her general lesson notes, which I'll use to explain more about the lesson:
One of the things that she pointed out from my old emails is that I wasn't quoting the sender's original questions. I would usually just answer the question in my email without restating the original question. I just assumed the sender would know what I was talking about. But I need to take into account that senders might be extremely busy and bombarded with emails. So, I would need to use the ">" symbol with a cut-and-paste of their original question. In Japanese emails, it should look something like this:
>Jenny, are you available on the 15th at 11:00?
Yes, I'm available.
Just out of curiosity, I asked her what is the ">" symbol called in Japanese. She wasn't sure, but said she would look it up for me. She told me in her general feedback, that this symbol is called, 「不等号（ふとうごう）」(futohgoh). This is not a word that the average person would know and I appreciate that she took the time to look this up for me!
In her general notes, she thanked me for the lesson and wrote the following summary:
"In this lesson, we focused on how to write emails in Japanese, particularly, how to write the sender's name and title, etiquette, honorific and humble forms, and past tense vs. present tense.
I've prepared a summary based on what was written in the chat box (on Skype). I'm attaching a PDF file, so please use it for reference."
During the lesson, she made sure to give me as much useful information as possible, including information about using spaces.
I had always just written "田中さん" or "田中様"...
but it should be "田中 さん" or "田中 様" with a space between the name and "-san" or "-sama."
The .PDF that she sent me was filled with useful phrases and sentences that we had talked about. I like that she gave me alternatives to suit the situations and my style. She even wrote some notes and reminders in red. Here is an excerpt from her 3-page file:Thank you, Yucca-sensei! I will request your lesson again whenever I need help with emails or just want to polish them up! Stay tuned for the video version of my lesson, as well as my next lesson, "Free conversation in Japanese - 50 minutes" with Aki B.
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!