Tag Archives: book

Between Calm and Passion: 001

Reading a novel in another language is somewhat a laborious process. Because there are a lot of words I don’t know and have only encountered for the first time while reading 냉정과 열정사이, I had to keep checking for definitions in Naver Dictionary (thank God for this extremely useful online dictionary!).

My reading process:

  1. Read a couple of paragraphs and try to understand as much as possible
  2. Underline unfamiliar words and grammar using a pencil
  3. Write down the sentences with unfamiliar terms on my notebook, and underline the same words
  4. Look for definitions (or explanations, in the case of unfamiliar grammar) online (or using a grammar book)
  5. Write down definitions on notebook
  6. Read the paragraphs again

It takes quite a long time if one paragraph has a ton of words I don’t know, but for some reason I quite like it. I don’t know if my brain has retained any of the new vocabulary that I’ve learned from the novel, but it’s certainly an enjoyable process. Maybe it’s because I actually like what I read–unlike the dry text and conversations in textbooks, a novel has forward-moving plot, so if the story is engaging enough, it keeps me reading and at the same time keeps me learning. I still like reading textbooks, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it’s just not the most fun way to learn Korean. /shrugs

냉정과 열정사이 can be translated as Between Calm and Passion (hence the title of this post). I’ll be posting some translations of parts I liked throughout the book, just because I really like the plot. Do note, however, that because I’m learning Korean and nowhere near proficient, my translations will probably not be accurate, heh. I’m merely using translating as another tool for learning Korean, and, well, it’s fun to translate!

Anyway, the plot of Between Calm and Passion circles around two individuals, Aoi and Junsei, who made a promise to each other when they were 20 years old that on Aoi’s 30th birthday, they would meet again at the Duomo, located in Florence, Italy. The novel is separated into two books, Rosso and Blu, with each book written by a different author and focusing on the point of view of a main character (Rosso for Aoi, Blu for Junsei), so it’s best to read the books alternately to get the feel for Aoi- and Junsei’s feelings and thoughts. My plan is to read Rosso first, then once I finish a chapter, go to Blu and read Junsei’s point of view.

Between Calm and Passion is originally written in Japanese, so what I’m doing is translating a translation of a work. If I studied Japanese really hard years ago I probably would have wanted to read this in Japanese, tsk. Ooh, and Between Calm and Passion has a movie adaptation which I have yet to see. I’ve been stopping myself from doing so before actually finishing the novel. Realistically speaking though, it would take a long while before I get to finish both books, so… D:

Meh, digression aside, here’s a translation of the introductions (I do not know what to call those short lines written before the first chapter. Introductions? Prologue? Erm…) of both Rosso and Blu. These are really short passages, but since I haven’t finished much of Rosso’s chapter one, there isn’t a lot of translation I can do at the moment. :/


Agata Junsei was my everything. Those eyes, that voice, even that smiling face that suddenly flickers with a shadow of loneliness. If Junsei were to die somewhere, I will probably know. However far a place, even if we will not meet again…


I believe that although a person may not remember everything that happens every day, the precious things will never be forgotten. I don’t think Aoi completely forgot what happened that night. Even though it’s uncertain whether I’ll be able to meet her again…

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Finished with Integrated Korean’s Beginning 2. *rowdy cheers* It took SOOOO long, mostly because I was stuck in a rut, that endless pit of “I’m not learning anything new!” Thank goodness that’s finally over. Now all that’s left is a renewed sense of fulfillment and excitement of what’s to come. I know if I keep on studying diligently I’ll be able to quickly gain new grammar patterns and perhaps have the confidence to actually try to find a Korean penpal/e-pal/whatever-they-call-those-these-days.

Up next in my to-read list are the following:

Integrated Korean Intermediate 1. Ooh. Just the thought of trying to read a book that says ‘intermediate’ excites me. I think my reading comprehension can match up with whatever the textbook throws at me, but I’m not quite sure about my writing skills just yet. Hmm…

연세 한국어 1. Oh yes, right from the very beginning. I quite like Yonsei’s colorful illustrations–they don’t give out much of that textbook-y feeling that other language textbooks have. It kind of reminds me (slightly) of my Spanish Vistas book, which was super engaging and fun to read–truly unfortunate that I wasn’t quite into Spanish (at least…not yet. I might be in the near future *winkwink*). The flaw of the Yonsei Korean 1 textbook is that it assumes the reader is in a Korean class, which means there’s a teacher who guides the reader through the lessons. There’s very little English involved, unlike the elaborate explanations in the Integrated Korean series. In the first lesson of Yonsei Korean 1, words like 부르기, 성과 이름, 찾으십시오, and the like are to be seen, and if you’re a total beginner with little to no help from a native Korean, it’ll be quite confusing, not to mention frustrating. And we don’t want to be frustrated right at the very beginning, yes? XD

연세 한국어 읽기 1급 – 2급. I’ve been reading this on and off for a while and I think it’s a good place to start trying to read articles/stories. I personally liked two stories from 2급, which are 동물들의 나이 자랑 and 효성이 지극한 호랑이. Very nice folk tales. :D

And I’ll continue to read a few webtoons, because I learn stuff from there that I won’t learn from textbooks, not to mention that it’s a great motivator (because if I keep studying, there may come a day that I’ll understand most of what’s written without having to look up so many words). Ooh, and I love the Naver app for smartphones. Very useful–영어사전 on the go, yeah! :D

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Reading Korean

Note: This was posted in my other journal, , last November 5, 2010.

I mentioned in my last post that my sister just bought 15 books, 5 of them my picks–Yonsei University’s 한국어 읽기 (Reading Korean) series. I went ahead and started reading the first book out of that series, 처음 배우는 한국어 읽기, and it starts with teaching the reader how to pronounce 한글. I skipped most of that stuff since I have a basic understanding of the difference between ㅍ, ㅂ, and ㅃ, and other sounds that are confusing to foreigners and went ahead with the short readings and dialogues, and here are two examples, a dialogue and a short reading:

제6과 한국 생활

김 선생님: 안녕하십니까? 반갑습니다. 저는 한국말 선생님입니다.
다니까: 안녕하십니까? 저는 다니까입니다. 일본에서 왔습니다. 저는 대학생입니다.
김 선생님: 한국 생활이 어떻습니까?
다니까: 한국 생활이 재미있습니다.
김 선생님: 친구가 있습니까?
다니까: 예, 친구가 많습니다.
김 선생님: 한국 친구가 많습니까? 일본 친구가 많습니까?
다니까: 한국 친구가 많습니다. 저는 한국이 좋습니다.

제15과 한국 음식

우리는 오늘 오후에 한식집에 갔습니다.
식당에 사람들이 아주 많았습니다.
저는 냉면을 좋아합니다.
우리는 냉면과 비빔밥을 시켰습니다.
냉면은 5,000원, 비빔밥은 4,500원이었습니다.
음식 값이 비싸지 않았습니다.
음식이 모두 맛이 있었습니다.
제 친구는 한국 요리를 배우고 싶어합니다.
저도 한국 요리를 배우고 싶습니다.

Continue reading

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드라마하고 책하고 외국어

Note: This was posted in my other journal, [info]ice_cobalt, last November 2, 2010. I figured I should post it here as well, to sort of revive this little language blog of mine.


성균관 스캔들 (Sungkyunkwan Scandal) is ending tomorrow. Although I love this drama to bits, I felt that my excitement for each episode dwindled slightly through the end, much like how I felt when I watched 내 여자친구는 구미호 (My Girlfriend is a Gumiho). Still, it’s one of my favorite dramas of the year.

And speaking of favorite dramas of the year, what are my 2010 favorites? There’s 추노 (Chuno/Slave Hunter), of course, 내 여자친구는 구미호 (My Girlfriend is a Gumiho), 아직도 결혼호고 싶은 여자 (The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry), and 성균관 스캔들 (Sungkyunkwan Scandal). I would have thought Rain’s 도망자 (Fugitive) would be included since the Writer-Director tandem responsible for 추노 (Chuno/Slave Hunter) made this one as well, but I…couldn’t love it no matter how much I tried and have stopped watching it. Then there’s 파스타 (Pasta), which was cute–but had nothing special to offer, 신데렐라 언니 (Cinderella’s Sister), which had an excellent start but dragged on til the end. 개인의 취향 (Personal Taste) was okay, but it wasn’t one of the best that I watched. I had high expectations for 로드 넘버원 (Road Number One) since 윤계상 (Yoon Kye Sang) and 소지섭 (So Ji Sub) were there, but meh…I couldn’t watch it.

…AND I still have yet to watch the entirety of 동이 (Dong Yi), 제빵왕 김탁구 (King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo), 장난스런 키스 (Playful Kiss), and 산부인과 (OB/GYN). And then there are dramas that have yet to air, such as 시크릿 가든 (Secret Garden–I LOL at the Korean spelling, which, when romanized, is sikeurit gadeun) and 메리는 외박중 (Mary Stayed Out All Night). :D



the SNU Korean textbooks and workbooks

Just last Friday my sister ordered a huge list of Korean textbooks online and, owing to excellent customer service (and perhaps because the package comes only from LA, LOL), we already have the books today!!! :DD So now we have Seoul National University’s 4 Korean textbooks plus workbooks, two Korean Grammar books, and the Yonsei University reading books I’ve lusted over for months now. :D All in all, 15 books. They’re obviously quite expensive, but not to the extent of Yonsei University’s pretty, pretty textbooks, which are loads more expensive.

In any case, I’m happy even though the textbooks aren’t mine. :D Why? Cause I get to use them as well ㅋㅋㅋ.


I’ve had…*counts* four language blogs–1 Japanese, 1 Korean, 1 Tagalog/Filipino (yeah, it’s not foreign to me, but I’ll include it in anyway), and 1 smorgasbord-ish blog–all of which are now idle and have not been updated in a long while. Yeah, making blogs are easy; maintaining is hard. SOOO I figured I should just put my foreign language thoughts in this blog instead. It makes perfect sense to me since I don’t update LJ that often anymore (there’s nothing really fun or exciting going on in my life that needs to be recorded, meh D:) yet I still visit it every single day for Omona and other communities, mostly for Omona. XD

So I will be posting in Korean (and sometimes in Japanese–I hope) and will record my progress here. Not sure how this plan will go, but I’ll be a positive thinker for once and hope that I’ll be constantly updating this and see some progress in my Korean (and Japanese?). :D

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Went to Sanseido today with and she got me the Genki II as a sorta belated birthday gift (for last year, LOL). So now I have both Genki books, the Elementary Japanese books, Japanese for Everyone, plus two Kodansha dictionaries, not to mention tons of podcasts I got back when I had a premium subscription at JapanesePod101. In other words: I’ve got the goods to study. Whether I can make full use of the material I have to really study Japanese or not…well, that’s the question.

D: See? I have yet to even try making a Japanese post. Where was that little journal suggestion I had? Nowhere. D: BAH.

And and I saw a few Doraemon dictionaries and bilingual mangas–thank God I had my sister there and had not one cent on me, or else I might have tried to buy every single Doraemon thing I saw there. T-T


I watched episode 6 of 내 여자친구는 구미호 without subs because I was really itching to watch it. I managed to understand some dialogue–BUT I can’t really know if what I understood is absolutely spot on or not until I actually read the subs tonight. EEP.

For some reason, I feel like my brain comprehends more Korean than Japanese, even though I’ve been exposed to 日本語 far longer than 한국어. Maybe it’s because I seriously studied Korean and had a freaking schedule to study Korean in between studying for my real tests–yeah, I was that serious.  is thinking of buying a few more Korean textbooks (YAY)–this time the SNU textbooks, so I guess I’ll be able to mooch some knowledge off of the books. WHEEE.

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