HOW to learn and improve Chinese: Nobu’s methode

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25th April 2017

“Purpose +(Love+Passion) = Improvement”

A lof my friends asked me how I am learning Chinese.

There are a lot of methods of learning a language. Beside that, everyone has her/his own preference of learning method. Some people prefer to learn by her/himself, some people prefer going to language school.

In fact, the method is not that important. From my point of view, the purpose is most important: Why I want to learn Chinese? What I want to do when I am able to speak Chinese? This is something (for me) I need to think about and define before I start.

When I started to learn Chinese, I had a dream: One day I will move to China, settle down there, get married, enjoy the Chinese culture, make a lot of Chinese friends etc.

Learning a language is not that easy. Not seldom I face the resistance or feeling of give up. In such situation, I remind myself about my own purpose, which I defined earlier. I came so far. Do I really want to give up?  By reminding myself,  I would be able to find back my confidence and continue learning.

Beside the purpse, passion and love towards the Chinese language are important factors as well. If I do not have these, I can use a book, CD, DVD, APP or what so ever, there are just useless tools and/or my progress will be slow.
除了目的,还有对中文的激情很重要的。如果没有的话,即使有书,CD,DVD,APP 等,也是没有用的或者进步很慢。

Frankly speaking, when I have just started learning Chinese, I did not have any passion at all. I tried different methods, my progress was very slow, I was afraid making mistakes and I was basically unsatisfied.
真诚地说我开始学中文的时候,我对中文没有激情。我试过很多方法, 进步却不太大,一直很怕说错了或者不满意。

Learning Chinese at that time, was just a struggling process. And I have changed teachers several times.

One day, when I was traveling in Guangzhou by my own, I got lost. The only way to find my way back was talking to a local. So, I did. And the lady did not understand at all what I was talking about, because my pronunciation was not that good. I used body languages, drew pictures on the map, finally she understood what I was talking about. I got the help I needed and in the end I was able to arrive safely and relieved in my hotel.

This experience reminds me that not the method, but the target/aim and being are very important.

There are not any limitation for learning and practicing Chinese. As long there is motivation, every method works.

Beside learning with a book and with a teacher, I am making friends from Mainland China living in Hong Kong, learning Chinese songs, reading books, watching Chinese dramas and TV –Shows as “You are the one!”, and talking to random people I met in the supermarket, in the air plane, in the train, on the street, in the restaurant etc. This way, I created my own Mandarin Chinese environment in Hong Kong,
除了用书和跟老师学中文以外,我还交了在香港住的国内朋友,学中文歌, 看中文书, 看中文的电视剧和电视节目 “我们约会吧”,跟任何地方 -例如在路上, 餐厅, 超级市场, 飞机里, 火车里,- 月遇到的人说中文等。我创造自己的语言环境。

This way of learning Chinese is much more interesting and amusing.  My Chinese has improved ever since.

Thank you

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2013 / 07 / 03



Earlier this year I decided to be brave towards my uncertain future. Ever since, my life was still an emotional jet coaster. It was terrible, I struggeled a lot.

Recently I was able to come over this tough time. Compared to other unhappy times, this was pretty long and very difficult.

Because of my friends and family’s support, because of their belief and because they are there for me, I was able to be brave again, ready to fight again and finally be able to enjoy life again. Because of my friends, my new chapter in life has just started (finally!)

I was and am lucky having such a great support around me. From my bottom of my heart, I would like to thank you them and appreciate their great help. Slowly, but safely I am on the right track now. Let’s have happy time together again!

Is this really you?

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2013 / 05 / 23

在中国的海关又出问题了。海关员觉得护照里面的照片不像我。他问“这个人是真的你吗?!” 我就点点头了。好像他不相信我。他继续说“不可能吧!”他叫他的同事。突然我很惊慌,因为以前我在差不都一样的情况。那时候他们的态度对我非常不好。他的同事到,看我护照里面的照片,跟他同意, 这个护照可能有问题。我很怕。他的同事说“Follow me!” 我心里觉得,我不想跟他,不想去那个房间。我说 “这张照片是真的我。是五年前拍的。” 他们惊讶我说中文。他问我 ”那,为什么这张照片不像你?“ 我回答 “因为我每天跑步,所以越来越来瘦。没剪头发。而且今天化妆了。今天比五年前漂亮,对不对?!” 他们大笑了,然后说“漂亮得多!” 我“。。。那没有问题吧,请换给我护照。”他的同事说“等一下儿,还有问题。”  我”。。。有什么问题?“ 他回答”你很可爱。你有没有男朋友?”


Let me share with you my experience at the Chinese boarder, where so many “problems” occurred due to my passport, e.g. in 2011 “Where do you come from?”.This is just another story.

I left HKG and I was going to cross the boarder in China. The officer took my passport and found out that photo does not match to me at all. He asked me “Is this really you?!” I just nod my head. Obviously he did not believe me and continued roughly  “No way!” He asked his colleague to come for further study this case.
Suddenly I got panic, because I have been in this kind of situation before. At that time I had been interviewed by several officers in a separate room. Although I did not do anything wrong, the feeling was not that good and I really did not want to experience that again.
However, his colleague came,  took my passport, first looked at the photo, then me and then the photo again. This passport might have some problems. Finally he ordered in English (!) “Follow me!” Frankly speaking, I did not want to follow him. I did not want to go to the separate room be interviewed by strict, emotionless officers.
Therefore I decided to speak out in Chinese (!) in order to emphasize “THAT photo is really me. It has been taken nearly 5 years ago!” Both officers were surprised about the fact that I DO understand Chinese. Then one of the officers asked me “Then, why this photo does not look like you?!” I needed to explain “Because I was jogging every day, lost weight, get slimmer and slimmer. I did not cut my hair during this period. Besides that, I am wearing make up today! Today I am more beautiful than 5 years ago, you do not think so?” Both officers laughed and agreed “Ha ha ha, much more beautiful!”
I felt so relieved “… then there is not any problem, right. Could you return my passport to me, please?” His colleague answered “One moment please, there is still a question.” All the problems should have been solved, so I felt uncertain “… what kind of question?” He answered “You are so cute! Do you have any boyfriend?”

Last time in the restaurant …

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2011 / 11 / 02

因为我日本的朋友和我想吃广东菜,所以我们进去广东菜的饭店。进去的时候,我们说普通话。我们坐以后,服务员来给我们中文的菜单。我们看一看。虽然我常常来这个地方,但是我找不到我喜欢的菜。怎么办呢?”我想吃很甜的猪肉跟。。。“服务员不知道我想吃什么。我朋友也不知道。我突然记得这个饭店也有英文菜单,所以我问服务员”请问你有没有英文的菜单?“好像我让服务员生气(??)一点儿。 服务员回答”为什么你们要英文的菜单?你不们是中国人吗?!?!?!为什么你们看不懂中文?!?!?!“ 。。。我给她说明”其实,我们就是外国人。请给我们英文的菜单。” 但是服务员没相信我 “你骗我!“。。。

其实我有一点高兴服务员觉得我们就是中国人, 因为好像我们的中文不错! (^_^)b


My Japanese friend and I yearned for Cantonese food, so we went to a Cantonese restaurant. When we entered the restaurant, we spoke Mandarin Chinese only. After we sat down, the waitress brought us the menu. We had a look. Although I came very often to this restaurant, I just could not find my favorite dish. What should I do? Ok, let’s describe (in Chinese) “I would like to eat sweet pork and…” The waitress did not understand what I would like to eat, also my friend could not guess. Suddenly I remembered that they also had an English Menu, thus I asked (in Chinese) “Do you have an English menu?” It seems this request made the waitress angry (??) She shouted at us (in Chinese) “Why you are asking for English menu?!?!?!?! You are Chinese or not?  Why you cannot read Chinese?!?!?!?!” … I tried to explain to her (in Chinese) “Actually, we ARE foreigners. Could you please bring us the English menu?” But the waitress did not believe us, she answered (in Chinese) “You are lying!’’

Actually I was a bit happy because the waitress was thinking that we are Chinese. That means our Chinese is pretty good! (^_^)b


Meine japanische Freundin und ich hatten grosse Lust kantonesich essen zu gehen. Als wir das kantonesische Restaurant betraten, haben wir nur Chinesisch gesprochen. Nachdem wir uns hingesetzt hatten, brachte die Kellnerin uns die chinesische Menuekarte. Wir stoeberten ein wenig darin. Obwohl ich oft hierhin komme, konnte ich mein Lieblingsgericht einfach nicht wiederfinde. Was nun? Lass mich das beschreiben, natuerlich in Chinesisch  „Ich moechte gerne suesses Schweinefleisch essen mit …“ Die Kellnerin verstand leider nicht, was ich essen moechte. Und auch meine Freundin konnte das Gericht nicht erraten. Ich gruebelte. Dann ploetzlich fiel mir ein, dass es hier auch eine englische Menuekarte gibt. Also fragte ich in Chinesisch „Haben Sie auch eine englische Menuekarte?“ Dieser Satz loeste totales Unverstaendnis bei der Kellnerin aus „Warum fragt IHR nach der ENGLISCHEN Karte?!?!? Ihr seid doch Chinesen oder, nicht??? Koennt ihr kein chinesisch lesen oder, was?!?!?“ … Daraufhin versuchte ich ihr auf Chinesisch zu erklaeren „Ja, also eigentlich sind wir tatsaechlich Auslaenderinnen. Koennten Sie uns bitte die englische Karte bringen.“ Allerdings glaubte sie uns kein Wort, sie antwortet „Ihr luegt!“ ..

Nichts desto trotz, ich habe mich gefreut, dass die Kellnerin dachte, dass wir Chinesinnen sind. Wenn ich den Spiess umdrehe, heisst es doch, dass unser gelerntes Chinesisch gut ist! (^_^)b

My japanese friend Mayizi

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2011 / 09 / 11


Some people are thinking that my japanese friend and I have a strange relationship. He asked me “Although you both are Japanese, why do not you speak Japanese?” We answered “We are learning Chinese together. Besides, we have already get to use to it!” That day we took part at the gathering with other Japanese. It was the first time for us to talk japanese. The feeling was very strange, so we suddenly switched into speaking in Chinese. Hahaha.

Es gibt einige Menschen, die sich ueber unser Verhaeltnis, die von meiner japanischen Freundin und mir,  die Stirn runzeln.  Einer davon fragte uns: “Warum sprecht ihr nicht japanisch, obwohl ihr doch beide Japanerinnen seid??” Wir antworteten darauf: “Wir lernen zusammen chinesisch! Ausserdem haben wir uns schon daran gewoehnt!” An jenem Tag nahmen wir an einem Aktivitaet mit JapanerInnen teil. Es war das erste Mal fuer uns, dass wir japanisch miteinander gesprochen haben. Das war ein sehr eigenartiges Gefuehl. Waehrend wir japanisch sprachen, sind wir ploetzlich ins chinesische uebergegangen. Hehehe.

Where do you come from?

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2011 / 06 / 21

在中国的海关官员觉得我是一个日本人有一张德国的假护照,因为我不像德国人。我说“不是。我是德国人。我是真的德国人。。。可能我不是真的,因为我本来从日本来的。。。”我让自己和官员非常乱T__T。他问我“你从哪里来的?” 我马上回答”从香港来的!” 官员真的很乱“你不是从德国来的吗?”我给他说我的简历”我在日本生,在德国长成,在香港工作,想去中国出差! 而且我妈妈是日本人,我爸爸是德国人。最后他相信我以后,他开看我的护照的话再问我”你可能泰国人吗?去中国找老公。“我想哭!
At the immigration in China the officer suspected that I am a Japanese with a fake German passport,because I do not look like a German, not even as an European. I tried to persuade him “No, I am German, I am really German… but might be not really, because orginally I come from Japan.” I started to think loudly and not only confuse myself, but also the officer. Then he asked “Where do you come from?” I immediately answered “I just came from Hong Kong.” Now the officer was really confused and did not believe in me at all “You are not coming from Germany?” I decided to give him a brief introduction of my life and my purpose “I have been born in Japan, grew up in Germany, currently working in Hong Kong and I would like to go to China for business trip. Further on, my mom is Japanese and my father is German.” Finally(!) the officer opened my passport and looked at my photo “You are not a Thaigirl…? Looking for husband in China?” Sigh, I wanna cry!!!!

Letter to my stomach

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2011 / 06 / 02

你好我的肚子 ,
你好吗 …? …对不起问你, 我已经知道了. 你不好了, 对不对?
虽然我给你好吃的东西, 虽然我们好玩  但是为什么你的心情最近那么不好  ?
你是不是不满意? 如果有不满意的事, 请告诉我 .
我想帮你, 真的 , 请让我帮你.
你和我 ,我们都开心就是最好的.
情快要好起来了, 我们打算一起参加划龙舟的比赛!
你记得吗 ?
Dear my stomach,
How are you…? Oh yes, I am sorry to ask you. Actually I know you are not good at the moment. Right? Altough I always give you nice food and although we have nice time together, how come you are in that bad mood?
Are you unsatisfied? If yes, please let me know.
I would like to help you, really, let me help you, please.
You and me, we, all in good mood, this would be the best.
Please recover soon, because we are planning to take part at the dragon boat races.
Do you remember?

Hallo mein Magen,
Wie geht es Dir…? Oh ja, entschuldigung, dass ich frage. Ich weiss, dass es Dir zur Zeit nicht gut geht, richtig? Obwohl ich Dir immer leckeres Essen gebe und obwohl wir immer eine schoene Zeit verbringen, wie kommt es dann, dass Du so schlecht gelaunt bist?
Bist Du unzufrieden? Wenn ja, dann lass es mich doch bitte wissen.
Ich moechte Dir gerne helfen, wirklich, lass mich doch bitte helfen.
Du und ich, wir, in guter Stimmung, das ist das beste!
Werde bitte bald gesund, denn wir planen zusammen am Drachenbootrennen teilzunehmen.
Erinnerst Du Dich noch?

Chinese makes me happy

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最近我说很多普通话。非常非常高兴。越来越不怕!谢谢我朋友们支持我梦想!最近我也开始mix up语言。昨天我跟德国的同事说德文,突然开始说中文。他听不懂。我跟香港的同事说英文,我也突然说中文。但是他们听懂因为他们也说普通话,所以没关系。虽然mix up语言是不好,但是现在很高兴。At this moment I would like to treasure this feeling, which makes me truly happy.

Recently I started to speak more Mandarin Chinese, I am very happy about it. I am not that afraid any more to talk Mandain Chinese. Thank you to my friends supporting my dream! Recently I have also started to mix up languages. Yesterday I was talking to my German colleague, suddenly I switched to Chinese. He did not understand anything. When I am talking English with my HKG colleague, I also switch into Mandarin, but I think it does not matter so much, as they can also talk Mandarin. Although I know mixing languages, is not good, I am very happy. At this moment I would like to treasure this feeling, which makes me truly happy.

In letzter Zeit rede ich immer mehr Mandarin Chinesisch, ich freue mich sehr darueber. Je mehr ich Chinesisch rede, desto weniger wird meine Angst. Danke an all meine Freunde, die meinen Traum unterstuetzen. In letzter Zeit habe ich auch angefangen Sprachen zu mischen. Gestern redete ich mit meinem deutschen Kollegen Deutsch, dann habe ich auf einmal angefangen Chinesisch zu reden. Er hat im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes nur Chinesisch verstanden. Wenn ich mit meinen HKG Kollegen spreche, kommt es auch vor, dass ich auf einmal Mandarin spreche, aber ich finde das ist nicht so schlimm, weil sie auch Mandarin sprechen koennen. Auch wenn ich weiss, dass mischen der Sprachen nicht gut ist, geniesse ich zur Zeit diesen Moment. Dieses Gefuehl moechte ich erstmal geniessen. Es ist ein schoenes Gefuehl.

介绍我看过的一个叫“等一下儿,上帝”的电视剧 // Introduction of a drama I have seen called “Wait, God”

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2011 / 03 / 04

“Wait, God” is a Japanese NHK evening drama shown in 2004.
The storyline has been adapted of the manga called ”秋日子かく語りき“
The author is Yumiko Oshima.
Although her manga gained great reputation, I have not read it yet.
After watching “Wait, God”, I would like to read the original work, as it is very emotional and interesting.

这个电视剧有两个女主人公, 一个是中学生,还有一个是大约四十岁的主妇。
There are two female main protagonists, one is a high school student and the other one is a housewife around 40 years old.
The actor of the student is Aoi Miyazaki.
She is my favorite actor, because she is beautiful, has personality, and also she is acting naturally, real.
Because of her, I have started to watch this drama.

Most locations shown in the drama, I do not like so much, because the landscape looks not good, it looks unnatural. Therefore I am thinking they filmed this drama in a studio.

The story is about after the housewife passed away, God let her start having a new life by renting the body of the female student.
The life of the female student is unsatisfied. She is very sad, because her parents are going to divorce.
She thinks nobody loves her. So if she disappears, nobody will care. Therefore one day she bumps into a truck on purpose with her bicycle.
Then the scene changes: the female student and the housewife are standing in front of God.
God is telling them, that actually the housewife was killed by this accident.
The female student is still alive and she needs to go back to the human world.
But she does not want to go back. The housewife would love to go back, because there are still a lot of things she would like to do.
As her own body cannot be used any more, God borrows her the student’s body.
Because of living in the body of the student, the housewife is able to solve her own problems in the human world.
The student can watch the strong living power of the housewife.
Even life is not going so smooth as the housewife wants, even there are a lot of struggling and sad moments, she is able to keep her happiness.
The housewife is teaching her, not to run away whenever she faces a problem.
The housewife gives her the strength and braveness to live.
At the end the housewife says goodbye to her family, and returns the body to the student.
The female student returns to the human world in order to start a new life.

This drama gives us a lot of important messages. Do you agree?

好玩的卡拉OK Enjoyable KTV

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2011 / 02 / 27

When I came to HKG 5 years ago, I did not like KTV/Karaoke at all.
朋友们问我 ‘Nobu,今天晚上我们去卡拉OK。你想参加吗?’的时候,我一定回答 ‘对不起,我已经有别的安排了。’ 但是这是借口。
Whenever my friends asked me “Nobu, tonight we are going to KTV, would you like to join?”, I always answered “I am sorry, I have already an appointment.” But this was an excuse.
I still do not like to go to KTV, but I often go with friends, because it is a lot of fun.
Although I cannot sing very well, my friends do not mind.
When I am singing Chinese songs, they support me or singing together with me.
Most of my friends sing very well. They are singing and dancing.
Watching them having fun, is fun as well. I like the atmosphere.
We are all happy.
From my point of view, THIS is most important thing!

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