Tweeling and Neeling : Using media to hack Japanese

This is just me being a bit crazy. Tweeling is basically picking Japanese tweets I want to figure out, copying and pasting them into a word processor, then trying to figure out the exact meaning. I’m stealing tweets, so I call it “tweeling”. Also I can do this with news as well. So yeah, I call it “Neeling” (fab huh?)

This is a news report I was randomly trying to read from the TBS Japan news site.

Original article location:






This is pretty beastly reading. I’m fascinated that I’ve even able to attempt trying to read it, but with cool tools like Rikaichan, Kotoba and so on, I can “read through” the news without having to spend loads of time in the “word lookup” process. I’m still VERY fuzzy on common grammatical patterns, but I could sort of figure out what was going on. I’m not at the point yet where I can listen to them speak these things and understand 100%, I don’t know enough words yet.

I went through the first sentence of the news report.  It’s talking about starting testing for radioactive materials in the vegetables of high school lunches.

New words :

ほしゃせいぶっしつー radioactive material

しないー local area (within a city)

測定(そくてい) — measure


So for my personal practice, I read through the sentence a few times, and rewrote it in hiragana mentally.  So it looks like this:

横浜市(よこはまし)は、市内(しない)の 小学校(しょうがっこう)の 給食(きゅうしょく)に使れる(つかれる)野菜(やさい)などの食材(しょくざい)について、16日から、


breaking this into two words :

放射性 (ほうしゃせい) — radioactive

物質(ぶっしつ)— material

放射性物質 =radioactive material


finishing the sentence : p

の 測定(そくてい)を始めました。(はじめました)。

As technical as this might seem this is how I do the reading in my head with words I already know, then lookup the ones I don’t. It takes a lot more effort to blog about this than to scan through…

So basically it says “On the 16th day (of June which is implied) in the local area of Yokohama, tests for radioactive materials in vegetables in high school lunches, were started.”

What’s interesting to note is that if you read through my blog from the beginning, this is RIDICULOUS progress. I only started “studying” Japanese about a year and a half ago, and I didn’t really “study” any grammar, I rarely spoke to anyone, I was learning through a weird kind of immersion and what have you. Either way, me trying to attack Japanese news is mind-boggling. News always has “news terms” and what’s cool about news are of course the categories.

So if you pick Science, technology, etc, you will begin to run into common words over and over. This is the first time I’ve tried to break down a news article and it wasn’t easy, it took me a while just to translate the first sentence. But as predicted many words repeated themselves, especially 測定、放射性物質、横浜市、which I already wrote about.

The fact is that I am passionately attacking Japanese in a way I didn’t before. If I try and go through say, one or two News articles per week on top of my regular studies, I can start getting used to more dense Japanese and that might seriously lighten a perceptual load on my other studies.

It will take me more time to get through the entire article, but there are many words in there I recognize, I can “somewhat get” a lot of the kanji, and if I revise the article after translating a few times who knows, I might actually remember something. Will post more on my progress with this later.

About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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