languages and so forth

This morning I had a nice chat with a friend who is currently living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  He is from Taiwan and informed me that foreigners tend to hang out at Bobby Brewers coffee shop.  I guess it is like our Starbucks. You can check it out at finds Vietnamese to be harder than English which I thought was a bit odd.  However, he did learn English ever since he was 12.  Speaking of languages let me give my ten cents worth on some of the more popular programs out there.  With all  the horns and whistles that came with Rosetta Stone, I find that it takes a lot longer to be able to converse.  It tries to teach you like a child, but studying or learning works differently with adults. I definitely remember a lot more with Pimsleur.  I do think I will remember more of their information than what I learn in a classroom.  It does get you conversing quickly, but I’m not sure I agree with not writing anything down.  It only uses one of your senses and that is audio.  Fluenz has a nice combination.  Although, I wish they taught the chinese characters along with pinyin for Mandarin.  I always prefer to listen to native speakers because while other speakers are quite good they can also be a little off.  People tend to be off a little with new accents/pronunciation to begin with so that makes it even worse. Some people look at me oddly or don’t see the point of me learning a new language.  The answer is simple the world includes other people, and I like to break simple barriers.  Not to mention some of the information I seek are only available in other languages or I prefer to know from the source. At the very least I like to understand even if I don’t converse.  My Hong Kong friend told me that there has been a lot of Vietnamese people working in Yunan during the day and going back at night.  Also, recently more of them has been working in Hong Kong.  They make more money just with housekeeping jobs.  Although, my friend is from Hong Kong, he currently lives in Japan.  We were talking about certain Japanese horror movies where Hollywood has borrow/copy ideas from such as The Ring or The Grudge.  He said that his major or specialty is in comedy and horror stories.  This is when I told him how in some Japanese horror movies people seem quite happy at some instances that might be odd to American viewers.  He reacted with how he finds it is more scary because it is so out of the ordinary.  I hope nothing got lost in translation while we were communicating.  Japanese culture seem so polite as they show appreciation when they talk as well as apologizing a lot.  My friend said sorry every time he has to go to work or get offline which I don’t feel is necessary, but it was sweet.  He is taking the Toeic soon which is an English test.  I find it very interesting that there is no pass or fail score, but it goes up to 900 I believe.  He told me that the master program varies and can take anywhere from 8 to 9 years to complete.  He has a paper to write which I guess equals to our Thesis paper, but it is more of a pass or fail situation, but I think he is offer a chance to rewrite it if the professor does not like it.  Interesting….