Information in the Wild: Quick Daily "Using Japanese" Practice

Update: Week 7 will start on Jan 30 and go for another 6 weeks. Links to individual threads of each week at the bottom.

The Plan:

  • Daily update with a new picture by 9am (Tokyo Time) starting Dec. 12th for 6 weeks (will extend if people are interested)
  • Bite-size Practice for acquiring information in Japanese in the Wild by responding to a short question or prompt
  • Multiple ways to participate, choose whichever way you feel comfortable with (Suitable for all levels)
  • Weekly theme (One thread per week, links to each thread below)
  • Challenge yourself to use Japanese everyday

Since it seems like the Bunpro team will have their hands full with other projects for the foreseeable future, I wanted to try something similar to GitW but with more of a focus on practicing understanding information in the wild, rather than how it breaks down. The material will be mostly limited to things that are meant to be understood quickly without much knowledge required beyond the immediate context. For example: signs, menus , museum labels, packaging, FAQ answers, and etc. The weekly theme will provide supplemental context.

Some sample posts:

  1. What is the most important piece of information the sign is telling you?
Sample Answer

The employee is hearing impaired.

  1. What is the sign requesting you to do?
Sample Answer

To show your receipt when getting your drink


  1. How much would an order of one Tall Soy Latte, one Venti Caramel Frappuccino, and two Grande Drip Coffees be?
  • 1640
  • 1690
  • 1710
  • 1750

0 voters

Answer

1690 (420 + 550 + 360 + 360)

Main Goals:

  • Normalize using Japanese to acquire information in the wild
  • Engage the material rather than deciphering it
  • Challenge yourself on speed and accuracy rather than complexity (For people who are further along)

How to Participate
The primary way would be to make a post and add answers to it each day of the week but this will not be the only way. There will be a poll in each of the weekly threads to indicate your participation that week, so that would be an option if you would prefer to just follow along at home. There will also be multiple choice for some pictures so those can be answered directly.

Since we are trying to simulate encountering this information in the wild, don’t feel restricted in using any tools at your disposal. Find strategies that work for you when you’re stuck. For example in the first sample picture, you may have been able to figure out the request just by being able to read the two repeated katakana words in the sign.

Weekly Theme
The themes will typically be location based whether physical or virtual but they really can be anything. Feel free to suggest themes you would like to see. (If anybody in Japan would like to help with pictures, let me know. If you recently arrived in Japan, this may be the perfect opportunity to understand all the text you keep walking by each day.)

There will be a gradual increase in complexity within each week when possible.

Upcoming themes
Week 1 Simple Signs around the Station
Week 2 Recyling and Garbage Day in Mito
Week 3 A Stroll around the Neighbourhood
Week 4 Signs around the Stations - Corona Measures Edition
Week 5 Basic Signs at a Museum (w/ Experimental “Advanced” version of prompts)
Week 6 Signs at the Local Post Office

Week 7: Information related to Starbucks
Week 8: Browsing a Gift Shop
Week 9: Shopping at Itoyokado
Week 10: A Visit to the Pokemon Center at Ikebukuro
Week 11: Leaflets in your mailbox
Week 12: Reading Compression Drills for All Ages


Would you be interested in joining in?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

21 Likes

Nice idea. I’d suggest a theme around leaflets sent by your local government. Getting the rubbish collection days right can be a nightmare…
Also, days when they’re going to turn the gas off for a couple of hours, etc.
If you’re interested, I’ll send you one from Mito.

8 Likes

This whole thing is awesome.

I feel this is exactly what I would like to practice most: seeing ‘Grammar in the Wild’ (or actually just 日本語), and interpreting it to understand it, not just to translate it. Base level practical goals.

I really liked the old (non-manga) GiTW for this reason, practical level reading, but dropped it as doing a full translation was exhausting and time consuming. Often I feel (in texts I can semi-read at my level) that I can ‘get’ stuff in my head but without being able to say (or write) the full english version, so this is a good and very realistic test of that: Do you know what its basically saying and can you engage with it. You can find some stuff like this in text books, but having it like this, in this format would be 100x easier. I feel this should be the next iteration of GiTW, and could be apart of the main app as its such a useful tool to train grammar, reading, and the language overall.
Sorry that was long…

TL;DR: Yeah great idea, I’m in.

Edit: Sorry Bunpro

Didn’t mean to sound critical to the Bunpro team about GiTW, it was great, and I was probably exaggerating about how ‘hard’ it was haha. The team is super busy, they cant do everything to suit everyone

9 Likes

100% okay! Totally behind this idea! Looks like some really interesting topics will come from it! :partying_face:

9 Likes

sounds interesting.

3 Likes

Looking forward to starting tomorrow. I plan on linking all the weekly thread back to this one so if you’re coming across this post a few weeks form now, you’ll be able to find all the previous ones easily if you want.

Great suggestion @matt_in_mito !! Mundane essential things like that are often in the blind spot for learners unless they are living in Japan. I would love to see more of this kind of informational material. If anybody else has something similar that they can share, my messages are open. It doesn’t have to a whole theme or anything, a single picture would work just as well.

@SteveB Happy to hear that!! Are there any specific scenarios or locations in particular you would like to see?

5 Likes

Nothing specific, just general common things you would find walking around, going to shops, visiting certain places, public transport etc.
I’ve just seen your first post, its a nice easy start but pretty much on track to what I thought would be ‘Info in the Wild’

Thank for your efforts!

3 Likes

This is so awesome. I was doing this N3 prep class on Udemy and at the end of each lesson I’d be presented with some kind of sign, flyer, journal entry, etc. that I’d have to read and answer questions about. There was only one per lesson (for a total of 10) and they’d only ask 2 questions.

This exercise will give me much more of this kind of practice. Thank you for putting this together!

4 Likes

Starting up again tomorrow

Always looking for feedback, especially if you feel it hasn’t work for you.

4 Likes