tsumaranai shukudai

Once again I've received a score that boldly depicts the frailty of the human condition.

Once again I’ve received a score that boldly depicts the frailty of the human condition.” I seem to get a lot of that lately.

As I am painfully crawling toward the end of the JLPT N5 course on Memrise, I get the distinct impression that the number of words I retain is slowly sinking from 66% toward 50%. But it is hard to keep track, because the number of words to review each afternoon is now so high, I have to take them in smaller portions.

And then something like this happens. There’s (finally!) a fourth season of Minami-ke, one of my favorite anime, a slice of life story about three school girls (high school, middle school and grade school) and their wacky friends. And as I watch it, I recognize words from the JLPT N5 vocabulary that I know I did not know beforehand, because they seemed absurdly difficult. Like “atatakai” (which does not mean attack but warm), and “shukudai” (which does not mean chocolate day but homework). These are the kind of weird words that I had to repeat numerous times over the course of days before I could remember them.

One of the first and worst was “tsumaranai”, which means boring. Since “-nai” at the end of a word is pretty much always a negation, this means the Japanese has a word for the opposite of boredom, but I have never seen or heard it used. On the other hand, I had not heard “tsumaranai” used either, until today. I guess knowing a word makes it much easier to notice it. Then again, I have to forge on until I stop noticing the words and just notice what is being said. That seems unimaginably distant.

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