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If you want to start with learning the writing system, I’d really recommend just printing out the hiragana and katakana charts and memorising them/repeatedly writing them! i used these ones (hiraganakatakana) when I began learning, but you can just google “hiragana chart/katakana chart” to find whatever table format you prefer. As for kanji, if you know Chinese you definitely have an advantage, but even if you don’t, I think it’s better to just slowly pick them up as you learn. I’m not really sure how to start learning kanji though, sorry.

For listening, I find it best to try and pick up words while watching anime or dramas. For speaking, it’s obviously best to try and converse with someone, but if you don’t know anyone who speaks Japanese, just try to talk to yourself or your cat or your drawer or something i did this i’m sorry i’m such an embarrassing person

I only really used one book, Basic Japanese Grammar by Everett F. Bleiler, since my main concern when I was self-learning was getting the grammar right. In the Japanese school I go to, they use books like Minna no Nihongo (みんなの日本語) for the beginner level (which I didn’t do so I’m not really sure how good it is ww), and Chuukyuu Kara Manabu Nihongo (中級から学ぶ日本語) for Pre-Advanced (we used something else for Intermediate but I can’t remember the name/find the textbook sorry;;;) These books are mostly vocabulary and comprehension, with some grammar.

Hopefully this helps!!

EPA director warns that global warming will end snow just as blizzard bears down on Northeast

This is almost as funny as the time Al Gore’s appearance before Congress got preempted by a snow storm in Washington.  Not quite…but almost. 

from Aspen Daily News:

The Environmental Protection Agency, Aspen Skiing Co., and a pair of Olympic snowboarders teamed up Thursday to help spread the word about climate change and the threat it poses to winter sports, tourism, and recreation in the Aspen area and beyond.

Gina McCarthy, administrator for the EPA, Mike Kaplan, CEO for SkiCo, and athletes Alex Deibold and Gretchen Bleiler spoke before a crowd of around 30 at the base of Aspen Mountain about the environmental and economic impacts of global warming.

McCarthy praised SkiCo’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and address larger issues of climate change. She also thanked Bleiler for showing her around Buttermilk, calling the five-time X Games medalist her “hero.”

McCarthy pointed out that winter sports athletes like Deibold and Bleiler can help inform the younger generations on the dangers of climate change, which can be devastating for mountain town economies.

“It’s a big, base-bottom deal for our economy,” she said. “So let’s get off our butts, let’s work together, let’s start taking action. These guys are going to reach the young people, I’m going to keep yapping at the older ones, and someone’s going to get the middle, and we are going to make things happen.”

McCarthy said a key is to put it in economic terms, and not just environmental, so it’s understood by everybody, noting that snow-based recreation contributes $67 billion a year, and supports more than 900,000 jobs.

“We need to take action, not tomorrow, but today,” she said. “Climate change does threaten skiing, it does threaten snowboarding, it does threaten winter recreation as we know it.”

She added that 2014 was the hottest year on record, and each of the previous three decades have been warmer than the one before.

read the rest

First of all, as we have discussed, the whole “2014 is the hottest year on record” thing is a farce, and Gina McCarthy knows it.  Second of all, her comedic timing is simply perfect…

Yes, the EPA Director chose to give a speech on the end of snow on the day that may very well set records for snowfall.  Genius.