When I was a kid, my mom always decorated the house beautifully for Christmas. However, we never had advent calendars and I never saw one until I was seven.  When I was in second grade, my music teacher had an advent calendar that she showed our class, and opened a door each day.  I thought it was so cool.

Thus, now i go a bit advent calendar crazy.  They are cute, fun, and wonderful language teaching teaching tools.



This is “Mary’s” advent calendar.  It was about 1,000 yen.  They have cheaper ones at our international store (Jupiter), but I know the chocolate in those is probably a bit yukky.  Mary’s chocolate is lovely and delicious.  They had other high end calendars, but this one is only chocolate…no candy.  My son doesn’t like the sweet candy and won’t eat those, so it’s a waste to buy that kind of calendar.


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My Eric Carle calendar.  You pick up the item and decorate the tree with it.  Pretty!  I could see this being good for toddlers.

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  • I bought this last year after Christmas and have had it decorating the wall since then.  Now that advent is here, I am peeking at each item, trying to familiarize myself with Japanese knick knacks.  I have a feeling even Japanese people don’t really know all the stuff on this calendar.  I feel like this calendar gives me a bit of Japanese culture.  I wish they made a similar one for American culture.

Well, I deserve a pat on the back.  I finished the entire series of Somatome!   Yippee!

Here’s my review.  I really like this series, it was just my speed.

Probably the most useful book was kanji.  I liked how the kanji pages used real life examples.  I can see the kanji that I’ve studied in my everyday situations, so it is a really useful book.  Plus, let’s face it….kanji is hard for us westerners, so it’s nice to have a book that makes it easy as possible.

Probably the least useful was vocabulary.  They are useful words, but just word lists so I found them hard to remember.  I doubt I remember much from that book.  And plus (like Japanese Bootcamp has said)  you can get vocabulary in other ways…..just by reading and listening.

Grammar was okay, but I want to do the Kanzen Master Grammar Textbook because I have heard it is better.

Listening was pretty nice.  It’s my easiest subject, so I just sort of flew through it.  But it was nice to hear all sorts of situations (keigo to super casual) and see it written down.

Reading Comprehension was okay, but it used furigana constantly, and I kept looking at the furigana.  I like it better when the word is introduced with furigana, but after that the furigana is not used.   That way you have to rely on your memory.  (And you can’t cheat.)

Okay, that’s Somatome.  I have a special place in my heart for Somatome because I credit it with getting me back into the groove of seriously studying.  It makes studying so much easier than a lot of other textbooks….some of which are like pulling teeth, or are incredibly boring.