Languages of the Morning Lands

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Today I start my new blog Morning Lands. I have learned Korean for over more than one and half years and I recently decided to start learning Japanese. So I thought why not start a blog revolving around everything I experience on the road towards mastering both those languages. That reasoning is what got this site started.

Love in  Korea

The first question I want to answer is, of course, the quintessential question most will eventually wonder: “Why did you decide to learn Korean?” I did not decide for myself to learn Korean. It is more something that just happened. You see more than two years ago I met my current partner in Belgium. He is a wonderful man and I am grateful for every day I spend with him. He happens to be Korean. That one fact got me to think about a country I would’ve probably otherwise never thought about.

My Korean TextbooksAs you can probably imagine, I am learning Korean because of him. However, I am not learning Korean because he cannot speak Dutch (he can), but out of respect to him and, more importantly, his family. He, nor his parents asked me to learn Korean, but I would consider insulting if I did not try to learn their language or culture.

Because of that I have learned Korean for over two years. I cannot really say I became really fluent in those two years, but I did improve a lot. Recently I completed the Korean textbook, his mother gave to me as a present: Korean Made Simple for Beginners after ignoring it for a while. Currently I using the following books to learn Korean:

  • Korean Grammar in Use – Beginning to Early Intermediate
  • TTMIK Korean Folk Tales and Aesop’s Fables
  • 세종 한국어 3

Since I decided to learn Korean due to my partner, some might think I don’t like learning Korean. However, that is not the case. While I did not have passion for Korea prior to meeting my partner, I have really started to love what his country has to offer. I think Korean is a beautiful language and I absolutely love Korean food. You can expect many a post on Korean food! So no, I am not grudgingly learning Korean, I am learning Korean because I love it.

Love for Japan

While I have learned Korean for a while now, I recently decided to start learning another language: Japanese. I decided to start learning Japanese since I always really wanted to learn the language. In fact, a 7 years ago I did try to learn it, but due to circumstances I got sidetracked and forgot about it. However, now I am going to begin studying Japanese anew.

If you are wondering why I decided to learn Japanese. I have to disappoint you a bit, because the reason is a pretty common one. I really enjoy watching anime and reading manga. One of the downsides I experience, however, is that I have to wait for anime (subtitles) and manga to be translated. I hate waiting, so by mastering Japanese I hope to be able to skip that annoying additional waiting step!

Genki I - Textbook and WorkbookLuckily, I won’t have to buy any new textbooks to help me learn Japanese since I managed to find the books I bought seven years ago. The textbook I will use is Genki I of the Japan Times. I also happen to have the workbook so I won’t have any want for exercises to practice what I have learned. Furthermore to help me learn even more I also have the Japanese Graded Readers Level 0 from Ask Digital. These readers will surely be a great help to improve reading comprehension. I think this will be essential due to the added complexity that Kanji brings to the Japanese language.

If you are wondering if my partner happens to be able to speak Japanese, the answer is yes. In fact he can speak Korean, Chinese, Japanese, English and Dutch. Amazing, right? It sometimes makes me jealous, but he did work hard to be able to speak all those languages. I hope to one day be able to at least hold decent conversations in Japanese and Korean, but that might take a while.

The Meaning Behind the Name

Languages of the Morning Lands

Some might wonder why the blog is named Morning Lands. The reason behind it is actually very simple and in line with the overall theme of this website. You probably do not know now this blog is all about exploring Korea and Japan. Most of you will also probably know that Japan is also called something else; the Land of the Rising Sun due to a (Western) interpretation of its name in Kanji (日本).

However, did you know Korea is known as something similar? It is argued that the Hanja, Korean in Chinese characters, for Korea, 朝鮮, might be derived from the name of an old Korean capital named 아사달. The old meaning of that name may be reconstructed as ‘Morning Land’ or ‘Mountain’.

With that knowledge I decided to call my site Morning Lands as both Japan and Korea are somewhat known as countries of the Morning. The mountains in the logo of Morning Lands, represents the potential ‘Mountain’ meaning of Korea. I decided to cover all my bases.

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March 12, 2017

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