caleb zone

A Japanese learner, etc.


This post will be in English this time. You may have noticed the last couple were in Japanese. I sometimes like to practice writing in Japanese when I learn some new concept from my studies. I can only write and express really, really basic ideas haha. I’d like to say more but I’m pretty limited currently.

Anyhow, have you ever seen those really cute pictures used in all sort of Japanese learning websites? I noticed them since this certain picture set is used a lot on the website. I love these pictures and started wondering who created them. After some digging I found they’re from this site:

かわいいフリー素材集 いらすとや (

There are so many free pictures available for use! Here are a couple cool ones I found:

I can imagine all sorts of uses for these. Like when you’re teaching, creating a flier or writing a story with pictures. Maybe you’ll find these pictures useful. Amazing how many there are and that they’re just given away. I’m sure there’s some restrictions if you plan to use commercially or something. I’m just happy to now know where these cute pictures originated from. Have a look around いらすとや sometime! It’s 楽しい!










Yesterday I sadly finished this incredible expansion for Thief: The Dark Project called The Black Parade. Wow was it a great journey! Such diverse levels and so much lore. I took many screenshots on my perilous quest as a thief and hope you enjoy them. If you like stealth games I would strongly recommend (ほんとうにおすすめ) getting a copy of Thief: The Dark Project and giving it a try. Lovely stealth/stealing game set back in an ancient past that seems familiar but is a bit alien. Wonderful atmospheres and the audio system is so much fun since it matters how much noise you make. Once you beat the game then check out The Black Parade. Besides this incredible fan mission there exists some other amazing ones as well.

Link to The Black Parade thread:

Link to my photo gallery while playing through The Black Parade:

(What a beautiful sight to see sun light projecting through an ornate window.)



Isn’t it wild that Christmas is only a few days away? I got my special turkey dinner ordered for Monday and will enjoy a simple Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law. 日本語をべんきょうしています is going well still and I’m half way through my Japanese From Zero book 3. I made it to level 11 on WaniKani which is wonderful! I’m now in the painful zone. I don’t see/feel any changes yet. Just the some old thing. Review and do new lessons. I still only do 5 new lessons everyday. Anymore than that feels like way too much for my brain. No clue how people do more than that daily. I’m just going to be a カタツムリand go slow. WaniKani will continue to be a daily thing for many more years.

Probably before the middle of next year I’ll finish all 5 grammar books I’m currently working through. That may make it possible for me to attempt the JLPT N4 試験. I played around with the practice N5 and was able to make it through sort of well. I’ll wait and see how much my Japanese has progressed before I make a final decision on what test I should take. I have plenty of time still to study. So besides the normal studying routine I have nothing new to share.

Right now I’d like to say how thankful I’m for all of the great stuff I have. I have a wonderful house, lazy cats, musical equipment, health, an industrial strength DDR game pad, steady job and lots of great Japanese learning material. Nice to reflect on the things you do have from time to time.

Hope your Christmas is wonderful if you celebrate it and make sure to enjoy some クリスマスケーキ!


I have to get ready for bed soon but I thought I’d share some more silly conversations I created. I wrote these for the LAST EXERCISE in my Japanese From Zero book 2. I actually started a bit in book 3 already. I think these conversations make sense and I tested them via translation and I got the results I was mostly expecting. I’ll look back at these one day and think how bad these are. 🤣 Well time to start winding down and get the cats ready for bed.




A: あなたはもうたべましたか。

B: いいえ、クラスのあとはしょくじをします。

A: なんのクラスですか。

B: ぶつりがくです。ほんとうにおもしろいです。

A: そうか。なんからですか。

B: じゅういちじごろです。



A: きょうはこくりつこえんにいくよ。

B: いいね。いついくの。

A: じゅうじはんぐらい。いしょうにいかないの。

B: ごめん。いそがしいから、まだかないのかぞくはまちにいる。

A: かわいそう。いつおくさんのかぞくはかえるの。

B: わからないよ。

Conversation creation is tough for me in Japanese. I don’t like it when my grammar book makes me come up with something.😥 While I was working on creating a conversation for the last exercise I wanted to try and verify it using Chat GPT. It said the conversation made sense and it translated correctly. I don’t know how much I can trust Chat GPT but at least it didn’t say it was completely wrong. Wish I had a Japanese friend I could run this by!

Since I had the conversation all typed out just using ひらがな I thought I’d share it for any curious readers. Enjoy this weather related 会話またね!

A: なんで、はれはありますか。

B: たぶん、たつまきはきのうだからでした。

A: えっ!たつまきか。いつでしたか。

B: ごごはちじぐらいでした。

A: あっ。そうか。わたしはもうねました。

B: ほんとうにねむかったですね。

Greetings and happy post-Thanksgiving! If you’re in the USA and celebrated Thanksgiving then I hope it was great just like mine. I had a fun, morning 10 mile run, studied Japanese, vacuumed the house, prepared a turkey dinner for my brother and sister-in-law and played Super Mario Wonder. I also took a nap with my cat Callie. Oh and I also started a fire in my fireplace. I really like doing that on cold days. It is progressively getting colder here. さむいよ!

I made it to level 10 on WaniKani last week and I’m now working my way through all of the new vocabulary. No new radicals in sight yet. I’m pretty excited about reaching level 11 since I’ll be leaving the paradise zone. Ready to get to the painful part haha. I’m one chapter away from the last in my 2nd Japanese From Zero text book. I’m having a good time working through those books. I have three, four and five ready to go! I also have the Kanji series as well which I’ll work through. Getting to practice writing Kanji will be awesome since I never do that. Daily, I just write かな.

I keep thinking about New Year’s even though it’s over a month away still. It’s probably due to my New Year’s Resolution I’m excited about making which is… taking the JLPT N5! With everything I’m doing to study Japanese I hope I can pass it when it comes time. Will probably book a first-class flight to Houston since first-class is awesome I recently found out haha. It would be cool if I could pass the JLPT N5-N2. Do one every year but that might be unrealistic. I just need to focus on getting one passed. As the test draws nearer I probably purchase one of those N5 study guides to make sure I’m prepared as possible.

I purchased a new OLED Switch and have been playing Yokai Watch 1 on it in Japanese. It’s been pretty brutal but I occasionally can read a word or two to know a little about what’s going on. Mostly, I’ve been playing Super Mario Wonder in English with my family haha. Need to get back to Yokai but it’s challenging to find time to play. I’m quite occupied with my existing Japanese learning routine and don’t have much time in my day to squeeze in some gaming. Oh well, it might just take me a while to finish that game. No rush really.

Well my water is done boiling so time to make a matcha tea. I’ve been drinking that daily and glad to have a new, healthy habit!


Oh, there’s this cool sentence I saw recently and I liked the look of it. Here it is:


It says “In this town there is an old tea shop.” I hope I actually wrote that correctly. 😆

Good morning! I was attempting to write an opening paragraph in Japanese but it really sucked so I quit that idea. Still need to do a lot more studying. I’m about half way through my Japanese From Zero! book 2. It’s pretty neat to be able to read longer sentences the book contains but it’s tricky trying to remember all of the information provided. So much new vocabulary and verbs. It will be a lot of fun when I can express myself a bit more and not just be limited to saying things like よくコーヒーをのみます。

In the next couple of days I should reach level 10 on WaniKani. I feel like I’ve been at level 9 much longer than the others. Excited to get to level 11 and out of the paradise zone!

Besides studying Japanese as usual, I feel like I’ve been tempted so much lately with wanting to buy new things. Like a FPGA board (for hardware emulation), a Nintendo Switch (for the new Mario) or an Apple watch. Not sure why I’ve been wanting so many new things lately. I’m trying my best to avoid dwelling on these new items since I just don’t think I really need them. I find it hard when I haven’t bought some cool new thing in weeks or months. I’m trying to live more minimally and not acquire so much.

Well that’s it for now. I need to go get lunch ready and make nutty pudding for later. I feel like I need a matcha tea so I’ll go prepare one now. Hope your day is going great and I’ll be back.

Oh, there was a fun thing that happened this morning while driving to the grocery store. I just learned the word あんまりand then heard Teppei say it today. You usually put it before a negative verb to say you don’t often do something. For example “にほんにあんまりいきません” which means “I don’t go to Japan often.” Always fun to hear a word you’ve learned recently!


Thought it was time for another post since I haven’t done one in a while since my birthday (たんじょうび). I’m back in Texas now and all set back into my normal routine. Got all of the grocery shopping done this weekend (しゅうまつ) and did some cleaning (そうじ) around the house (うち). Still working hard on my Japanese studying and happy to be in the 2nd Japanese From Zero book. I actually ordered the rest of the series yesterday once I found out there were special editions available. Might as well complete all of the books.

I decided to drop another piece of software I’ve been studying lately and decided to put that extra time gained into Japanese. I’ve situated Japanese to be a really important part of my life and consider it a large project. I’ll be working on this for many years but I’ve done that before on other things. I’d hate to stop now and then regret later when many years have passed. For a very long time I’ve wanted to really learn another language so why not Japanese! Who knows what doors it will open.

I’m still at level 9 on WaniKani and just got to the new level 10 Kanji today. Feel like I might be going a bit slow. I’m nervous to push it and crank through the system since I feel like I’ll just forget quickly. I never want to make it just about the leveling up and start cheating or something just to finish. No sense it that. I’ll continue at my normal pace and not give it too much thought. I am trying hard to prepare for the JLPT N5 next year. I really hope I can pass that!

Okay that’s all for now. I need to go eat more and then do some programming on our video game.


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