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How many Hanzi do I know?

Publié le par Charly Cross

I believe in this post I mentioned something about posting an entry on how many Chinese characters -hanzi- I know. This post is it.

I don't really have much to say about this, but there are a few clarifications I must make.

This list below shows translations for single-character words, but I do know a few that are formed of 2 characters. I will create a list for those words sometime in the future as well [ahem, whenever I remember I guess, ahem].

screen capture :)

screen capture :)

I included only the translation I'm more familiar with, though I do know some of them have many other meanings. But that is ok, because other meanings can be learned at a later time. I didn't translate the numbers. The meaning of some of these characters was easier to remember because several years back I wanted to study Japanese. I still have some materials for that, but it basically collects dust.

I may not know the reading of all of them -seriously, there are a handful with which I still struggle to remember how to read, but I know what they mean, or how to translate them.

The list is a little over 100 characters long, but I'm pretty sure I didn't include all the Hanzi I know. This simply means I must have skipped or forgotten to add some. I think that if you want to learn and keep track of your progress in a foreign language, then a spreadsheet can be useful.

A small notebook is a good alternative for languages that use a different script than what you're used to is also helpful because by writing the words by hand, you'll memorize them faster. Just make sure to write on each page the same amount of words if you want to keep a good track of your vocabulary. Using several notebooks might also be a good idea: one for grammar, one for new words, another one to pair words up.

Please remember that even though I started this Mandarin learning journey last year, I didn't have time to do it every single day. For crying out loud, I had some 3 or 4 months when I had a full time job when I had no more energy to study. And even this year, with all the free time I ha, I didn't dedicate it all to Chinese - you could say I'm not that serious about it. Mostly because I still want to like it, rather than stress about it.

I should probably tell you what tools do I use to learn Mandarin. There are several websites:

  • archchinese [learn how to write and read each hanzi, their traditional form, and more],
  • allsetlearning [focuses on grammar and you don't always have the translation or the reading on the page],
  • learnchineseez [learn how to write the hanzi, their traditional form, reading(s) and (main) meanings]. All these sites offer free materials to help your individual studies, but you might want to get a tutor as well if things are easier for you that way.

[I'm not affiliated with any, not getting paid by them - just the tools I used and helped me the most].

See you on Tuesday with an esoteric entry, on Thursday with a review, and again on Sunday with another blog entry related to my [boring] life. Bye~~


©Charly Cross 2013-present. All rights reserved.

You can buy merch inspired by this post from over here.

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Some thoughts after 6 months

Publié le par Charly Cross

Dear readers, 6 months have [almost] passed as I type this, and by the time it will go up, the situation wouldn't have changed.

I think this is a type for freelancers and bloggers alike to draw a line to see if they follow the plan they set at the beginning of the year.

It's a time to think about what we learned, lost, and gained. It's also a time to try and reset goals for the 2nd half of the year if the results are not the ones you expected.

If you're not a business, you'll probably have a harder time setting quarterly goals. :(

Some thoughts after 6 months

WHAT I GAINED

As far as I'm concerned, I don't think I gained much - except for a lot of weight, OOPS . When 2016 ended, all I wanted was a 'different' year, with hopes for a better one. Well, so far so good - it was better than the previous one. I gained 10 kg in about 2 weeks, back in January. As June comes to an end, I still haven't lost 1 kg. Maybe I should go back to this post and remind myself on how that's done. ;)

I also gained a bit of insight into how I can keep myself on a more productive line: bullet journaling.  You can read about me discovering it in this post. I can't really have an opinion on how this goes since not even a month passed since I started it, but I think that if I keep at it, I will have more results by the end of the year.

I also gained some insight that proves I'm not as mature as I'd like to be. For instance, it seems that when I decide I want something, I want it RIGHT NOW, despite some other factors clearly stating it is impossible to get. What do I mean?

Last year we decided we'll move to either Canada or France, with later deciding on France - closer to Romania, therefore easier and cheaper to do. I thought we'll be doing this in 2 months tops... but, haha 6 months later and we still have to buy tickets and stuff. It turns out, leaving for another country is more work than I previously anticipated. This pill is a bit hard to swallow, to be honest, and only someone who is still immature will not see it.

WHAT I LEARNED

What did I learn..? Thinking about it, I can't really tell, but let me try...

I learned some Mandarin Chinese - since my memory is super bad, I can't remember if I ever mentioned I'm teaching myself Mandarin. I studied mostly grammar aspects, and soon I will have to start with learning the Han characters [this is what I understood they're called in China].

I also learned that no matter how much I love cats some of them are simply not for me, or that I can't take care of all of those that come my way. That cat found some human to take care of her, but I will be lying if I said I don't miss her: she was hilarious to be honest, despite her destructive nature. But, as I accumulate more years, I realize I need calm and peace more than anything.

I also learned that creative people can't work for other people, at least not in a 9-to-5 environment.  While I may not seem so at first sight, this blog is proof enough I'm creative, as well as some of the drawings/doodles you occasionally saw [there is one right in this post, higher up ;) ].

You can also see the unedited version below because I couldn't decide which one I like more. The cursive is how I really write in my dream journal - should I post pictures of it?

I am learning now to be a bit more flexible. For instance, if I plan something in advance, I must be prepared to change those plans. Freelancers or business owners will probably know this struggle more than other folks.

WHAT DID i LOSE

Well, for starters I lost a stable job, or better said I gave it up, but mostly because it was eating my health away. I didn't search for a new one. Well, you might think I have less money coming in, and this might be true. However, as a 'freelance writer' I can tell you I had projects that paid as much as the job I gave up did. Basically, a project lasting 2 weeks brought in as much dough as a month slaving away at the job. [I do plan on writing a blog about my experience in the 'normal' work-field, but I don't know when].

Some thoughts after 6 months

PLANS FOR THE UPCOMING 6 MONTHS

I plan on continuing with the bullet journal I started - I really see it as a good way to keep myself organized and on track. I do recommend it to all my readers. I also need to improve it, as the first month planning didn't impress me. Since I never did this before, I can't now how to do it in a way that works for me - but I will.

I want to workout more - not really to lose weight [as I'm not sure it will happen], but my body simply asks for it [at least at times]. I will hopefully lose some weight as well.

I will study more French - I can read it, I understand quite a bit, but speaking it... that's a whole different story. I will obviously continue with Chinese as well, so this will not even be mentioned. After we move to France [it's a matter of when not if], I will have to find a job [I want to buy a house there, as renting is something I'm done with] and being able to understand and speak the language will be helpful [for obvious reasons]. I also want to apply for the French citizenship [or naturalization] so I will also have to study more about France' history and culture and so on. This thought actually excites me.

AND YOU?

How was your year so far? what aspects will you improve? or do you have any piece of advice for me?


© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Online shopping haul

Publié le par Charly Cross

Not long ago I promised I would show you guys the stuff I bought online, from a Chinese website called wish.com.

 

DISCLAIMER: this is not a sponsored post, I bought everything with my own money, and the opinions are my own!

Online shopping haul

Online shopping is good, as long as you don't buy clothes, shoes, or expensive electronics. You must pay attention to what others have to say about the seller too, to see if you can trust  - but even then, you can get cheated.

 

This site wish is easy to use, you can sign up using your gmail account or even your facebook account. I paid with paypal, but I think credit/debit cards are also accepted.

Online shopping haul

This is what i ordered - a tote, 3 watches (!),  a deck of regular playing cards, and a tarot deck. I also ordered a bra for my friend - it fits her, but i will not show the actual product, and a whetstone to sharpen knives - it never arrived :(

Online shopping haul
Online shopping haulOnline shopping haul

This is the Shadowscapes Tarot deck, translated into simplified Chinese, i believe. The English card names are at the top of the cards. There is one typing error on one of the cards "nice of cups" instead of "nine of cups, " which i find quite funny, especially since this is a good card to get in a reading. The typo is barely noticeable, so it doesn't bother me.

 

There are 2 extra blank cards included - I guess I can use them in case I lose one. As you can see the cards are quite long, so normal hand shuffling is a bit difficult. Maybe my palms are too short?

Online shopping haul
Online shopping haulOnline shopping haul

My other card deck is a playing one. But the images are with Vampire Knight, as you can see. Vampire Knight is a manga [Japanese comics] by Hino Matsuri. The cards are quite small compared to the tarot. Shuffling them is so easy!

Online shopping haul

I must admit, when i got them, i thought they're bigger - before opening them up. I was quite impressed that they were sealed in plastic - the tarot wasn't. Once i took them in my hand, i thought they're really cute because of how small they appeared.

 

I didn't use them, but I assume in dim light, it will be difficult to tell which card is which, so probably if you ever get your hands on a similar deck, play your games in stronger light.

1 year later: none works anymore :(

1 year later: none works anymore :(

So these are the watches I got. Why 3? well, i have a small obsession for watches. I have 4 of them in total. One - the first I ever got, is a Michael Kors. [I can't really remember where it is] I'm not wearing it because it needs a battery and it had a small accident, and lost a decorative plate. I'm pissed about it - I still have it, but I have trouble putting it back with glue it doesn't stay.

 

These watches didn't arrive all at once, though the green ones have been ordered at the same time. The lighter green one was supposed to be more blueish. but the green one looks amazing! The first one to arrive was the one with a black bracelet. It is a mechanical one - the reason I got it. The other 2 cost me $1 each, and $1 shipping for each. I really liked the design, even though they require a battery.

 

The seller was nice enough to send them with a battery in AND with the hour set for Romania! how cool is that?

Online shopping haul

The tote is not as big as I thought it would be. I can fit a 15" laptop in it, if i put it with the narrow side in. And it doesn't go in all the way - but I rarely take my laptop with me, so that's fine. It seems well done, though the sewing could have been more straight - in places where it is noticeable.

 

I like that it has a small inner pocket. The front is purple, and the other side is gray, like the handles and the bottom. The handles are long enough to allow you to wear the bag on the shoulder.

 

SHIPPING

The mechanical watch was the first to arrive, after some 3 weeks.  I thought i will never get to see my tarot deck nor my playing cards - they arrived quite late. The bag also arrived quite fast, but i forgot how fast. I also forgot how fast the other items came, but the 2 green watches arrived 1 week apart - shipped separately, though the seller was the same.

 

Speaking of sellers, there are many sellers on wish, just like on ebay or etsy. The prices can change from one day to the other, but they're generally low. If you know me, you'll know these items were cheap - since I hate spending money on expensive stuff.

 

site pictures VS real item pictures

Online shopping haulOnline shopping haul

There are slight color differences between the real life items and the image you see provided by the seller. The light green watch was the biggest offender, but since i like green, I'm not complaining. My light, though natural, wasn't the best to take pictures. The tarot deck is less intense, much more pastel. As for the mechanical watch - just like with the others, several colors were available, that's why mine is not golden.

 

Sadly, if you have a problem with your item, the customer support is from wish, and it is not the seller. you might also have the "luck" of talking to someone who doesn't speak English well. You have 30 days for returns or refunds. This means i lost whatever I paid for my whetstone.

 

This is all for now. See you again next week!


©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved. edited in march 2018

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Tips on testing a new cafe

Publié le par Charly Cross

Last week I went out to have a drink and relax. I had no idea where to go and I just wandered around until I found this cafe called The Drunken Lords.

 

The cafe, or bar -as I'm not entirely sure what its label is- is located in the Historic Center of Bucharest. This area is full of cafes, restaurants, bars, night clubs, and even random shops, especially those selling wedding gowns. I may show some of these stores in a future entry.

 

I never went here before, and I often go to new places just because. The downside is that I never know how the service or the drinks are. I came up with a simple and rather sure way of testing out new cafes. I will share my observations with you, because you know, "sharing is caring," and I started this blog for this particular reason.

 

Check out the atmosphere of the place.

 

This means you need to observe "each detail." For instance, what do the seats and the tables look like? Do they seem comfortable? How many people can they accommodate? What type of decorations are there on the walls? Is there a funny scent, or is it too smoky?

 

The Drunken Lords had tables for two but tables for 4 or 6 persons as well. The  owner or the designer thought about using a combination of chairs and sofas [or couches] to appeal to the preferences of more people.

 

I sat on a chair, while my friend used the sofa to sit at the same table.

the handle i used to have and the former name of my blog

the handle i used to have and the former name of my blog

I really liked the wall decor and this is why I took two pictures of it. One of the walls was completely covered in these old books - most likely nobody would have read them anymore. Among all those books, some really old fashion suitcases were also sprinkled. You can actually see a little bit of one of them in the above picture.

Tips on testing a new cafe

I didn't take a better picture because it took me minute to realize what was I looking at, and was feeling self conscious taking pictures. On another wall, the designer used the portrait of a gentleman [see below] - too bad my phone and the spotlight were at a bad angle. I really liked how the middle section was left as it was while the upper and the lower sections seem painted over.

 

Check the bathroom

You may not need to go, but you should still go wash your hands before consuming anything. This is exactly what I also did. Having a look at the cafe's restroom is a great indicator of the care they put in serving their clients.

 

Luckily most of the restrooms I went to while being at a cafe, were CLEAN. They might not have someone to clean the place after each person, nor advanced Japanese toilets, but you won't feel like throwing up while walking in there.

McDonalds restroom. [post edited in 2017]

McDonalds restroom. [post edited in 2017]

I never sit on the toilet seat, but that's a different story. This restroom was not only clean, but it was nicely scented too. They have one for the ladies and one for the gents, separated, unlike many other places. 2 people can go in 2 separate stalls at the same time, and there were 2 sinks with soap and paper towel dispensers as well.

 

Can you tell I was nicely impressed?

 

Pay attention to the staff

Of course, many people would pay attention to the staff, and notice faster if the staff is rude or not polite enough. The guys on duty on that evening were all smiles and excited to talk to me and my friend. This made the experience more relaxed and much more pleasant.

 

There is one slight minus that happens virtually everywhere I go: when the order came, there was no napkin in sight! 0.0 I realized this when it was too late, and took my own out [taken from another cafe. When our waiter noticed, he got upset, but he didn't say a word. ooops] I should have asked for some, but I'm not sure why I didn't.

 

The way your bill is presented at the end is also important. Since you're going to a more fancy place, you should receive it inside a little something, and not just given in your hand. Different locations have different ways of presenting it: in glasses, inside small fancy looking boxes, or specially created cases.

 

Place your order

This step is one of the most important one when going to a cafe or restaurant. However you must be prepared ahead of time.

 

What I like doing is quite simple, and uses common sense [I noticed not many people still have it these days, sadly].

 

I order some drinks I really like and that are super easy to get right or fail. [Well, I also pay attention to the quantity and the price, to see how 'fair' they are or if they're trying to rip customers off - this is something that happens at times].

 

We ordered a lemonade and a hot chocolate with a side of a standard drink - Pepsi Cola [hey, Pepsi folks! can I get some change here for advertising your drink? =P LOL]. Pepsi was the last resort if we hated the other two drinks ;)

the handle i used to have and the former name of my blog

the handle i used to have and the former name of my blog

Lemonade is something REALLY easy to make. And it might sound ridiculous to some of those reading this entry, but I had a few places bringing me a NASTY lemonade. If they don't know how to make a decent lemonade, how are they going to make other more complicated drinks?

 

The staff at The Drunken Lords made a nice lemonade for me. Its size was decent too - not too large and not too small either. I also found its price rather fair, so I can't complain in this regard.

 

Hot chocolate is something that I had a bad experience with on a few occasions. This one was a good one, and therefore I have no complaints here either. The bad experiences were related to watered down chocolate, and the drink not being hot enough [at the same time too at least once], OR it being a pudding chocolate.

 

Hot chocolate is supposed to be like hot Nutella and a bit more creamy or liquid when hot. And the barista at The Drunken Lords did just that. YAY! [can I get some cash for advertising Nutella as well?]

 

All in all, I had a nice time there. I also liked it because at the time it was mostly empty, so it was more quiet. The music was nice as well. At least in the beginning of my stay, because I can't remember the whole playlist, but the music was pleasant all the way.

 

If you're in Bucharest, you should totally check this place out. This is their website.


©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved. Re-edited in March 2018.

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What I read: the Texan in Tokyo blog

Publié le par Charly Cross

And you should too!

This is my review for the Texan in Tokyo blog... and books. Too bad Grace gave up blogging. The site no longer exists :( 

"read" is past tense ;)

DISCLAIMER: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. I used these affiliate links to give you the option to check the item out or something similar to it, for yourself, if you so wish, through a well-trusted seller. While I will be very glad if you buy any of the linked items, the decision to do so or not, belongs to you. Thank you for reading!  

 

©Grace Buchele Mineta @ howibecametexan.com

©Grace Buchele Mineta @ howibecametexan.com

WHY DO YOU REVIEW IT?

1. I really like reading it! And the comics are so lightweight, they relax me!

2. It has comics too! [see above, and below!]

3. I learn about different cultures! And I mean, I learn a lot of things, especially differences. I can compare to m reality and try and see if I could live in a country on a planet of its own, Japan. I can try and realize if I could have a Japanese or Asian partner.

4. There are 2 published books - and the 3rd is about to come out! - featuring some of the published comics and blog entries.

5. I forgot my other reasons :P

 

WHAT LANGUAGE IS IT IN?

The author is from Texas, therefore the blog and comics are written in English. As you can see in the featured images.

 

WHO'S WRITING THE BLOG AND DRAWING THE COMICS?

The author's name is Grace Buchele Mineta. She is married to a Japanese guy whose name is Ryosuke. I'm not sure how to read Buchele - is it with an H-sound, or with an SH-sound [like in French]? I don't know, but this is Grace' maiden name. So, there! now you're a few steps closer to becoming another stalker of Grace.

 

But if you really want to know more about her, go check out the blog, comics, and her videos! Grace uploads videos as well, on her YouTube channel!

© Grace Buchele Mineta @ howibecametexan.com

© Grace Buchele Mineta @ howibecametexan.com

WHAT IS THE BLOG ABOUT?

Grace blogs about her life in Japan. This comic here shows a major difference between dating in Japan and dating in USA, for example, but you have to read the explanation as well to understand the situation better.

Most of the comics talk about cultural differences: what Japanese people think is normal, no matter the situation, we, people in the West, may perceive weird or down right rude.

Her blog entries talk about various hardships she's facing and how she deals with them, how she learned is better to deal with, and self encouragement.

Grace also talks about her experience as a Caucasian woman married to an Asian man... This subject seems to be a hot topic for everyone having the slightest interest in Asian culture. Of course, each AMWF relationship [this is how you currently call this type of marriage - Asian male, white female] is different, and it depends on many factors.

 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THIS BLOG/COMICS?

1. There's no color: I can use my imagination to fill in the colors. YAY!

2. I can relate to some situations. I can also understand others better when there is an image.

3. The writing style is so informal, like talking to old friends. Grace is one of those authors who writes the way she talks, and I really like this. Her stories become more personal, more funny, more alive.

4. Each comic comes with a short explanation: just click the link under the comic above, and see for yourself!

5. I never know what topic comes next! The chapters are rarely connected, and this is exciting!

What I read: the Texan in Tokyo blog

IS THERE SOMETHING YOU DON'T LIKE ABOUT THEM?

I honestly feel that sometimes, some of the entries may need more explaining. But I learned [quite the hard way] that usually more explaining is worse than little or no explanation. Most likely, Grace also learned this, and quite frankly, this is not something I would really complain about

YOU MENTIONED SOME BOOKS. WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THEM?

Grace said she has been blogging about her life in Japan for 3 years. She said she also has a lot of unpublished material, so she decided to make some books out that. She self-published, and her books can be found on Amazon, and even Etsy for those who want a signed copy! How cool is that?

WOULD YOU BUY HER BOOKS?

YES! I'd buy them and then start coloring them :P LOL - Don't judge me, I read yesterday that adults benefit from coloring as well, not just kids do. It's scientific [but you'll have to search for that article by yourself].

Truthfully, I didn't buy any of the books yet. 

 

Well, this is my review for the blog Texan in Tokyo, or How I became Texan. I hope you liked it, and I hope you'll go check it out!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Washing my hair with plain water

Publié le par Charly Cross

I may not be the cleanest person out there, nor the most organized, but I make sure I don't stink or look dirty when going out. I like showering right before going out. I wish everyone had this much courtesy.

   

Some of you like to use eco-friendly cleaning and grooming products, or products that are natural as they can be. This is perfectly fine, and I kinda envy you for going the extra mile. What I know for sure is that many people out there also try to find budget-friendly solutions for cleaning and grooming.

    

I also know that some tips and tricks work and some don't. This is because I tried some of them out. The most recent one is the trick, or was it a piece of advice?, said that we can clean our hair just fine with plain running water. Crazy? Yes, I know.

   

It's been at least a month since I read this trick, but I was too intrigued by it to let it go. So yesterday I tried it out. Not because I ran out of shampoo, but because I thought any day is just as good. I have greasy hair, but lately it doesn't become as oily as it used to. I also had to wash it one day sooner, but I was busy doing other stuff.

   

Went in the shower and did my routine, without shampoo. I was nervous, weirded out, and dieing of curiosity to see if it works. I also haven't used hair conditioner, to have a better glimpse of the result. Having to go out for a bit, I let the outside air dry my hair.

look at me being cousin It ... or the ghost from The Ring XDD

look at me being cousin It ... or the ghost from The Ring XDD

METHOD

I used hot water, as much as I could stand, with high pressure. I let the water run on my hair while scrubbing the roots. I tried to do this for as long as it takes me to use shampoo, rinse, use conditioner, and rinse again. I probably should have done it for longer for better results.

   

In case you were wondering, I did use shower gel to wash my body. Plain water does little for me especially in summer.

 

CONCLUSION AND IMPRESSIONS

It worked. It wasn't perfect, especially at the roots, but I may have had to stay in there for longer. I don't know. My hair felt heavier yesterday, but today it felt and looked better. My friend didn't tell me I have to wash my hair, so I am pretty happy with the result.

     

I must warn you though, that the results depend on each person's type of hair, and water. I don't think I will do it again, unless I don't have any shampoo left anymore. I wouldn't recommend it as lifetime solution, this is up to whoever tries it.

  

Take care until next time.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved. 

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