AIUEO － Ni (に) – Nikki－ Writing a Diary
In this blog from Hidari-San we will learn the difference between writing a diary and keeping a diary in Japanese.
“に” (Ni) → “日記” (Nikki, meaning diary)
Keeping a Diary
Do you keep a diary? (日記をつける) I’ve been writing a diary entry almost every day over the past few years. I’m currently on my second year of a five-year-diary journey. This format allows me to take a drive down memory lane, taking a look at what I had done or thought about on the same day last year.
When I read over my diary entries, it’s interesting to see how I was like in the past. It’s still me but at the same time, it’s not me. For example, when I notice that I ate the same thing last year, or when I wonder how I could have gotten so upset the previous year.
Using it as a tool to learn a Language
It is said that writing a diary is an effective way to learn a foreign language. My professor once taught me this while I was learning English back in University.
According to the professor, it is important to write down as much as you can. Write without thinking and keep writing down whatever that comes to mind without stopping. What is essential is to write one page daily, be it a description of a situation, a development of a story, or describing your feelings.
Even if the spelling or grammar sounds strange and even if you don’t know the right words to use, you should avoid checking the dictionary. The most important thing would be to let your thoughts and the words that come to mind flow naturally. Thanks to this training, I developed a habit of writing whatever that pops up in my head.
Reading to learn How to Write
Reading literary diaries is also an effective way for you to learn different forms and writing in your diary. I like “Far Away Drums” by Haruki Murakami, “My Picture Diary” by Maki Fujiwara, and “Fuji Diary” by Yuriko Takeda. If you have a favorite Japanese author, perhaps it would be good to read his or her literary works to learn some new and interesting viewpoints. This can enable to further enrich your vocabulary and help you better describe your emotions.
We had the World Cup this year. What was it that I wrote during the last World Cup four years ago? It’s been a while since I took a look at my diary entry from that day. On June 15th, 2014, I wrote to myself; “Often, things don’t turn out the way you want them to. Japan lost (the match) at the end. I’m disappointed. How did we concede two goals consecutively?” I thought to myself, “Isn’t this exactly the same as this year?!” History sure does know how to repeat itself, doesn’t it?
I almost forgot to mention one last important thing. I generally don’t use the verb “writing” (書く) in my diary. Instead, I use “keeping” (つける) a diary. This would be since to keep means to would be to record down something.
Our memory can get shaky, ambiguous or even changed to adapt to the environment over time. But let’s not forget, our memory IS the epitome of our purest emotions at that point in time. Sometimes it can be great and sometimes it can be cruel. I found out that both the Japan football team and I have do indeed have something in common. Being able to know and remember that emotion at that point in time would have certainly been a good thing for me.
About this week’s AIUEO Author:
Yasuko Hidari received her Masters of Literature at graduate school in Scotland and studied about rock music as a commodity, after which, she worked for a culture related think tank. She has a very extensive knowledge of music and movies.
Co-author of the Japanese beginner textbook, “Nihongo Fun & Easy”.
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