Turkish Halfeti Roses are incredibly rare. They are shaped just like regular roses, but their color sets them apart. These roses are so black, you’d think someone spray-painted them. But that’s actually their natural color.
Although they appear perfectly black, they’re actually a very deep crimson color. These flowers are seasonal – they only grow during the summer in small number, and only in the tiny Turkish village of Halfeti. Thanks to the unique soil conditions of the region, and the pH levels of the groundwater (that seeps in from the river Euphrates), the roses take on a devilish hue. They bloom dark red during the spring and fade to black during the summer months.
The local Turks seem to enjoy a love-hate relationship with these rare blossoms. They consider the flowers to be symbols of mystery, hope and passion, and also death and bad news.
Seeing a black rose in full bloom is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing. Don’t miss it if you ever happen to be in Turkey during the summer.
(via Oddity Central)
Guide to Self-Studying Japanese
A large proportion of Japanese learners self-study. Finding places to learn Japanese in a classroom environment can be difficult and expensive. Here’s a guide on how you can learn Japanese for free and from the comfort of your sofa.
When learning Japanese, the most important step is to learn Hiragana and Katakana, the writing alphabets of Japanese.
The best way I’ve found to do that is to make flashcards. Make sure you practice writing as well as recognizing them, this will not only be a great skill to have but will also reinforce the shapes in your mind.
[Hiragana 42], the best guide I’ve found to learn the Hiragana (in a day!)
[Hiranana and Katakana Quiz Site]
[Kana Invaders Game]
[Anki] An amazing program that will make sure you never forget any Vocabulary….
The next step is to start learning vocabulary. Where can you find what to learn? Use a site like Memrise to find word lists (for example, there is a word list for all the vocabulary in starter textbooks like Genki), and use the amazing interface to learn them and keep them in your long term memory.
While encountering vocabulary, you’re likely to be coming across super-complicated-looking Kanji. You can learn Kanji through Memrise as above, but there are some other websites that may be of interest.
[Kanji Damage] A great site where you can learn Kanji through Mnemonics.[WaniKani] by the same people ho make TextFugu (below) can help you learn Kanji from scratch.
[Anki] An amazing program that will make sure you never forget any Kanji….
The next step is to apply that new vocabulary to grammar points and start making sentences.
If you can’t get your hands on textbooks like Genki, don’t fear! There are a lot of great online grammar resources.
[TextFugu] a highly rated ‘online textbook’ which will guide you right from the beginning of learning Japanese.
[Guide to Japanese] another online textbook with a lot of grammar points and excellent explanations.
The Fun Parts: Using Japanese Online Media
So you probably have learnt Japanese because you have some interest in Japanese media. Time to start using it to your learning advantage!
Aside from the obvious watching Anime, J-dramas and films, why not try Reading Japanese News? Watching Japanese TV? Just make sure you are making these activities productive - note down new vocabulary, add them to Anki, and keep learning! It’s much easier to learn things you’re interested in. Try translating Japanese songs, etc.
The most important but difficult part of self-studying Japanese is getting your own compositions checked. Utilize all that grammar and vocabulary and write a short piece, it could be a diary entry or a short essay. Get it recorded for you by a native on RhinoSpike, and checked for grammar and consistencies on Lang-8.These sites also give you the chance to connect with Japanese natives, and perhaps start up some language exchanges!
For more resources, take a look at my Ultimate Resources List
Any more tips? Comment below!
This elderly couple took a photo in their small garden outside their house for every season of the year, come rain, snow or shine.
They stood in the same spot for every season and showed off their beautiful little garden, which they were obviously very proud of.
Someone wrote a little story on the wall in the college toilets
"There once was an old man who took long walks on the beach every morning. One day he saw a young man dancing in the distance. As he got closer he realised he wasn’t dancing at all, but reaching down and throwing small crabs into the sea. "Young man, what are you doing?" he asked. "Throwing crabs back into the sea" he replied, "they’ll die if I don’t help them." The old man looked down at the hundreds of small crabs scattered on the beach for miles. "But there must be millions of them," the old man told him aghast. "You can’t possibly make a difference." The young man bent down, picked up another crab and threw it into the ocean. "It made a difference to that one.""
The Lord of the Rings illustrations by Jian Guo