Adventures In 日本語: の, の, の…Yes!

Hello, everyone, and welcome!

(Yes, that is my handwriting, and no it isn’t perfect. But I try…)

I’m super excited to share my first post about learning Japanese ( 日本語, or Nihongo). I’ve been working with the language for a few months now, and I absolutely love it.

I’ve found the Japanese culture fascinating since I was little. My mom would take us to the library as kids, and each week we would pick a different country to study; we would read books, watch videos, and find a recipe for a dish to cook. It was plenty of fun, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that I fell in love with Japan immediately.

(I also started watching anime when I was born…probably. My brother is several years older than me, and often had reign of the TV after school. Not that I minded, because I have fond memories of watching anime with him, particularly Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z.)

Throughout my life I’ve continued to watch anime, read manga and light novels, other books, and watch Japanese films. So finally I told myself: “Alexandra, you love this language. Stop being lazy and learn Japanese already. You’ve always wanted to.”

Not that I was trying to be lazy. I’ve set out to learn this language a few times, and nothing ever seemed to work (just like with French and Spanish, unfortunately). But once I decided that I wanted to do this, I started looking for a program that would actually work for my learning type.

I spent years in middle and high-school reciting Spanish words in an attempt to learn them, and it didn’t work for me. I did a fast-track French course in college (which my French tutor, who was actually from France, hated with a passion and cursed every chance she got), and I tried Rosetta Stone, but the staring at pictures while hearing words didn’t quite work for me either.

I needed someone to explain the language to me, or I was never going to understand it. I have to be able to piece things together like a puzzle…but in a natural way.

Eventually, I found the perfect thing: a site called NihongoShark. Created by a student who spent years failing at Japanese before finding an “usual” method that worked for him, it’s been the perfect learning tool for me…and it doesn’t hurt that there’s humor integrated into the lessons.

So…what does all of this have to do with の?

As I said, I’ve only recently started studying. Right now, I’m focusing on grammar, which makes far more sense in Japanese than it does in English I think (but that could be because English likes to break all of its rules…).

Recently I read about の, which sounds (almost) like the English word “no”.

I opened my lesson to see this, which I felt was worth sharing:

“Do you want to study some Japanese? 


Now, の doesn’t mean “no”– that is いいえ, or iie, in Japanese; の is a particle. But, I liked the humor.

It’s good to have levity in language learning, because it can be frustrating at times. I know I get frustrated when I can’t seem to wrap my head around a grammar concept, or remember a word, or write that particular kanji correctly (I’m trying here).

But the important thing is to keep going, and remember why you started in the first place—

To transform that “no” into a resounding はい (hai—yes)!

Are you learning a new language, or growing more fluent in an old one? 

Share your thoughts below!

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Kieros Chronicle: Shadows of Past Pages ~Prologue~

Kieros Chronicle Book #1: Shadows of Past Pages

By: Alexandra Lanc

Prologue ~ 

Time halted, hanging on a single question… 

“Well, what do you say?” Those brilliant, gleaming, nearly emotionless eyes were the most terrifying thing she’d ever seen, the voice whispering in her twitching ear was as heated as  the breath that accompanied it.

What should she say? What should she do? 

How had it come to this? 

This wasn’t what she wanted—

…was it? 

Her ears flattened, her tail twitched, her body shaking with the fright of not knowing the answer to any of these questions. She stumbled back a step, reeling in indecision. 

Moments ago she was dancing, enjoying the rare company grouped throughout the ballroom. A day ago she had sworn a solemn oath, feeling the weight of a pendant settle around her neck. One week ago she had stepped outside the castle walls for the first time, feeling dirt between her toes…

But now—

Now one question threatened to shatter the fragile life she was beginning to create for herself. Now her suspicions and fears were quickly being realized, confirmed. Now she was back to being a prisoner with a choice. 

So what would she choose? 

What could she choose? 

What should she—

She had to say yes, of course, to reach forward and grasp onto her power with both hands. She wanted to understand the extents of her ability, to learn and grow. 

That greedy, hungry desire slithered through her, urging her on, and for a brief moment the heavy red eyes watching her were not so terrifying; the question she had been asked did not seem quite so complicated. Those eyes lost their overwhelming weight, and she felt lighter than air, able to do anything, if only she said yes and—

“Please don’t.” A voice said from behind. 

The grasping hunger abruptly died as a hand landed upon her arm, shattering the spell avarice had put her under. She turned, looking up to meet a pair of familiar amber eyes. 

The careful calm Ikura worked so hard to maintain had fallen away. His ears were flattened against his cobalt hair, his amber eyes narrowed, his top lip pulled back to reveal a hint of fang.

“What he promises will never be given, Reaye.” Ikura said, grasping her arm tighter—not with force, but desperation. “That power will destroy you, just as it did your ancestors…” His lips formed a hard, thin line, as if he were trying to hold himself back from saying more. 

But in his eyes, Reaye saw what he didn’t say.

She saw what else her power would and could do—

She saw the monster she may become, and the fear of it brought tears to her eyes. 

What should she do? 

What should she say? 

What had seemed clear only a moment ago was once more muddled with uncertainty. 

All her life she had felt powerless, and now power was poised, ready at her fingertips, only one ‘yes’ away. She was both afraid of and intrigued by it, but neither fear or intrigue were an answer. 

She needed time to think—a place to think…somewhere safe and so far out of reach. 

Ceinosshe thought, willed, begged, remembering the stories. 

The power she so admired and feared activated in response to her sense of desperation, to that wild and unspoken wish. The ballroom and the Xaera and Ikura and those red eyes all disappeared abruptly as color drained from the world…and Reaye felt herself falling, falling, falling towards the place of her dreams. 

She closed her eyes, willing two words out into the universe: 

I’m sorry.”

Terren breathed in and out, heart racing, fingers clutching tightly at the sheets. For a brief moment she wondered where she was, eyeing the shadowy darkness, trying to discern what those shapes were. But after that moment all became clear, and she found herself once more grounded in reality—

There was her desk, her wardrobe, her lamp.

Here was her room; she hadn’t left it after all.

Terren has bedhead.

Those lingering images were nothing but a dream, as vivid and possible as the dream had seemed. She was safe inside her home, inside her familiar life. She could breathe easily.

The quietness of predawn reached her, and with a glance at her lighted clock, she snuggled deeper into her purple coverlet, fighting off the autumn chill.

But that dream—

She couldn’t leave it sit. She didn’t want to forget it.

Some things were best forgotten, but this wasn’t one of them.

She closed her eyes, and she could see it once more: a gilded, ethereal ballroom clothed in trees, vines, draping velvets, and wrought-iron standing mirrors. A scene from a dark fairytale, a teasing fantasy.

It would make a good ending. I could build a story around it, Terren thought, lips curling, eyes fluttering open. And I do need a project for my life as a Wordsmith. 

Throwing off her coverlet, Terren suppressed a shiver, sitting up slowly in her bed; despite her care, a faint wave of dizziness washed over her, but she rode the wave as best she could. Clicking on the nearby lamp, Terren pulled on her booted slippers before stumbling for her writing desk, words already burning bright inside her mind.

Still, she had to hurry—

There were only a few hours before Aura would arrive, signaling the official start of Rush Day.

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to the beginning of Shadows of Past Pages, the first Kieros Chronicle book. If you’d like to know more about the story and where it came from, check out my Introduction To Kieros Chronicle post. I’m very excited for the story, so thank you for reading it. 

Did you like the Prologue? The first official chapter goes up in 2 weeks, so please check back and enjoy! ありがとうございます! (Thank you!)

I call the doodle above “Terren Has Bedhead”. I’ve been away from drawing (regularly) for a while, so I’ve been trying to get back into it. I also included the Katakana (Japanese) for  Prologue (pororogu orポロローグ) in the drawing (with my iffy handwriting), since I’m trying to use my language-study as often as possible (plus I think it looks cool…but that could just be because I love Japanese, and this story is heavily inspired by anime and manga, not to mention folklore).

I’ll be posting a “normal” photo of Terren in the first chapter, so you can see what she looks like without hair all over the place. I’m also working on a cover for this story, which I hope to finish soon. Please look forward to it! 

Hopefully I don’t actually need to say this (and I won’t say it every time, because that would be redundant), but: this is copyrighted material, so please don’t copy/edit/save/etc. without consent from me. Stealing is rude, guys. Not to mention, you know, illegal. 

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