Improving Japanese with King’s

I did my presentation as part of the final exam of at the Japanese class last week, on Japanese culture of cuteness. It was really amazing that we all felt nervous when delivering our contents yet relaxed when answering impromptu questions from classmates, perhaps we had grown used to chatting with each other after 6 months’ class. We even have a study group on Facebook.

It’s also interesting that my Japanese has improved greatly since I came to London, while my English hasn’t. Before joining King’s Japanese class, which is free and open to every of King’s students, I didn’t have any opportunity to speak the language even though my reading and listening skills were ok. My friends were sceptical of me learning Japanese in the U.K. at first, but it turned out that we would speak only Japanese during the class, which pushed me to gain the language sense faster.

In addition to an experienced teacher, we’re also entitled to make appointments with advisors who are native speakers, which provides precious chance to practice. I’m so grateful for the time and efforts they devoted into my Japanese learning that I want to contribute something myself. I expressed my will to become a volunteer Mandarin advisor, but the language centre said positions would only be open on an annual basis. Therefore, I’ll only be able to work harder as a note of thanks for the moment.

King’s Modern Language Centre    http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/mlc/index.aspx

KCL Japanese Study Group    http://www.facebook.com/groups/KCLJapaneseStudyGroup/

From Chicago to London: A Book’s Trans-Atlantic Journey

I was surprised, when I got the book from the librarian and saw some stamp saying “University of Chicago Library” on its title page. I knew I was using Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service, but I wasn’t expecting TRANS-ATLANTIC book loan!

The trans-Atlantic “traveller”

I’ve been using ILL several times because most of the resources relevant to my research happen to be in Chinese or Japanese and difficult to reach. The time it takes for the book to arrive vary according to which library King’s is borrowing from. It may take 2 weeks or so. I requested this book of Japanese Prime Minister’s interviews about a month ago, and apparently libraries in London or even the whole UK don’t hold it. I’m so happy I finally get access to it, because I was particularly interested in one of the articles and had spent much time (as well as much of my Japanese friend’s time) searching for its E-version before I resorted to ILL.

However, the book is reference only, which is inconvenient. And though it’s free service for me, King’s must have paid something (at least the international delivery cost). Maybe King’s library should consider purchasing a copy instead of borrowing one when the loan cost exceeds certain percentage of the book’s price.

Inter-Library Loan    http://www.kcl.ac.uk/library/nhs/e-resources/ILL.aspx