Yesterday, I had another German – Japanese language exchange. My partner is much smarter than I am, and I am only slowly becoming confident to speak in Japanese, so mostly we are still speaking in German or English. When we do speak Japanese, my partner makes me write down everything. He teaches Italian and he believes that writing is an important way of learning a language; and he does it himself as well. Although I have practised writing Hiragana and Katakana – and I do use them exclusively when I am studying Japanese – I sometimes have to think about how a syllable looks, especially some Katakana that are not often used. Also, my partner does not like my handwriting very much, he says it looks like characters used in printed matter, and also, especially the Hiragana for U and TSU are not distinguishable enough (and he’s right).
Apparently he finally got fed up with it – and so, he bought me a very cute present yesterday. It’s apparently called “aquadraw” and is meant for children three years and older. Mine consists of four sheets, two each for Hiragana and Katakana, and each character is printed nicely on coloured ground. It comes with a pen that you have to fill with water, and when you trace the characters, they change colors. Once the water dries, the color disappears again, and you can start over. I think this is a brilliant system, and it’s very colorful and cute, I love it. I had to promise to train my handwriting regularly, and I do, partly because it is so terribly cute (my goodness, I’m turning into a Japanese…) and partly because I know my handwriting looks like that of a five-year old and I want to improve it anyway.