Thursday, January 28th, 2010


Jungle Juice is the 2002 Korean movie about 2 misfits trying to make their way in the criminal underworld of Seoul. Ki-tae and Chol-su are two social outcast/misfits (Yangachi in Korea culture) who find themselves at the very bottom of the local organized crime ladder when they are tasked with escorting a local crime boss on a drug deal that blows up. They find themselves in debt to the capo for 20 million won and get into a series of misadventures trying to recoup the money and secure something for themselves along the way. From CrunchyRoll:

Ki-tae (Jang Hyeok) and Chol-su (Lee Beom-Su) are two goofy happy-go-lucky guys think of a grittier non-suburban version of Beavis and Butthead who unintentionally find themselves at the lowest rung of the local mafia ladder. They get involved in a cocaine deal which of course falls apart, and have to come up with 20 million won to pay back the boss. For the rest of the movie, the two, along with a prostitute named Meg Ryan (Jun Hye-jin) and a cast of misfits and thugs, run around Seoul and Pusan while beating the life out of each other and getting into all sorts of misadventures.

Ki-tae and Choeol-su are very much anti-heroes, they do not fit into mainstream society and tend to have very little respect for its expectations and laws. Nonetheless they become very sympathetic figures and by the end of the movie we are rooting for them to somehow succeed and come out ahead. A very fun little movie with likeable characters and a twisting plot that doesn’t settle down. Very highly recommended movie. The ending fits the characters and their personalties to a T.

Haruhi Scan

Rainbow Hill Language Lab had an excellent blog post up on learning Japanese through reading. He makes the point of Japanese being easier to read than listen to because of the way words run together. There being no way to pause or rewind an audible conversation, it is a leap to listen to a speaker just talking in his (or her) language with a limited vocabulary and even with that it can still be a challenge: just listen to the rapid fire Japanese of manga live reader Rikimaru Toho in the video. Learning Japanese through reading can help to overcome this because you are able to slow down and look something up and return to the  text and pick up where you left off.

To learn any language you need massive amounts of authentic input, and it helps if it is something that you find interesting. This is especially important if you are not living in a place where you are constantly exposed to the language you want to speak.

If the only Japanese you read is in the classes that you go to, the rate you learn new words is going to be pretty low. I make a point in my lessons on eduFire of using words that most people in the class already know. This is so we can focus on practice, without getting hung up on explanations of new vocabulary.

When you read you are going to be exposed to may more words than you would if you were just listening to a conversation. You are also going to be exposed to Japanese that is authentic and without error. Manga is almost 100% dialogue, and depending what genre of manga you read, an accurate picture of modern Japanese spoken today.

Coming soon to this blog – an series of scans from an old Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya manga starting with the above page. Practise with a purpose.