Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Learning a language is like losing weight

Good advice for myself (and perhaps others).

From the article
Ten good habits for learning Japanese for life in Japan
by Eido Inoue (Adrian D. Havill)


Repetition with both writing and listening works best. Don't just mentally read and answer the exercises in the textbook. Copy the questions longhand whole to a notebook along with the answers. Verbally say and hear everything you write.

There are tons of books with mnemonic systems. Maybe they work. Maybe they don't.language exercise But repetition does work. Nobody likes to hear that. Just like nobody likes to hear that the foolproof way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. Because it's hard work.

You should approach learning a foreign language the same way you would exercise and diet. The exercise is the endless repetition of writing of the same words and phrases — longhand — over and over. It's the endless oral repetition of your written notes. It's the endless repetition of reading the same phrases over and over. The diet part? That's refraining from using too much of your native language in Japan (—or whatever country you're in).

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What's for lunch? Jambalaya

I'm a California boy and so I don't know much about Southern cooking. However, I decided to give it a shot.

Garnished with a celery top because I'm fancy that way

I got this recipe online; if your treasured jambalaya is different than mine, so be it.

Nevertheless, this came out delicious—excuse me, this dish is totally awesome dude! (or hella good if you're from Northern California). Anyway, I bet my Dixie friends here in Taiwan would approve.

Let's cook! (excuse me again—Let's cook y'all!)

Cut 2-3 chicken breasts and 2-3 sausage links into pieces. Andouille sausage is recommended (in Taiwan? Hah!) I do have a connection with an American-run BBQ restaurant that makes their own non-sweet non-Taiwanese sausage.

Click on the photos to enlarge. 

Sauté the sausage in some oil in a large pot. Remove.

Sauté the chicken in the same pot. Remove.

In the same pot, sauté
1 diced onion
1 diced bell pepper
2 stalks diced celery
3-4 cloves minced garlic.

Stir in one big can of crushed tomatoes.

1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp oregano
1/2 Tsp paprika
1/2 Tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 Tsp black pepper
(or, instead of the above, add 1 Tbsp of your favorite Cajun seasoning)
1/2 Tsp Italian seasoning (can omit if using canned Italian tomatoes)
1/2 Tsp red pepper flakes (I use the packets that come with pizza)
2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce

Add the cooked chicken and sausage. Cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in 2 1/2 cups chicken broth and 1 1/4 cups uncooked rice.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Do not lift the lid during cooking
or you risk having undercooked rice. Resist the urge to peek!

This came out plenty spicy for me, but if you want more heat you can add some Tabasco sauce to taste.

Also, if you want shrimp, add it after the rice is done and cook for another 7 minutes or until the shrimp is done.

By the way, this will serve 6 people easily.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Scooter ride in Hualien

Here are some photos of a drive I took a couple of weeks ago in the hills behind my school, Tzu Chi University.

Click on the photos to enlarge