Book Review: My Daily Routine in Korean (매일 하는 동작을 한국어로) + Bullet Journal

Last month I got a special package from South Korea in the mail! Woohoo! (I love receiving actual, tangible mail or parcels… don’t you?) I purchased a couple of books from Talk To Me In Korean’s online bookstore. One book is titled “My Daily Routine in Korean“, and the other is “Everyday Korean Idiomatic Expressions“. Yay!

I just want to say that the ordering process was simple and easy. I did not have tracking for the package (but it is available to purchase on the website), but the books arrived safely on my doorstep after 2 weeks, which is the estimated delivery period. The books were in excellent condition so I must say I was really satisfied. Because of this experience, I will definitely consider purchasing more from TTMIK in the future. Hooray for TTMIK, South Korea’s postal service, and Canada Post! 😛

Book Review

I bought the book “My Daily Routine in Korean” because I want to advance my conversational skills by learning how to say simple activities or actions that I do on a regular basis. The book has 32 chapters about basic activities, e.g. sleeping, waking up, showering, eating, etc., and in each chapter, there can be up to 17 phrases to learn!

There are also accompanying audio tracks that can be downloaded from TTMIK’s website so the reader can listen to native Koreans’ pronunciation.

The book itself is so darn cute – its size, color, and illustrations make it an easy and fun read! Kudos to the illustrator who made it possible to look at just one picture and several activities at the same time! I find it so smart and convenient.

You can use this book in any way you want, but TTMIK suggests first selecting the activities that best apply to you and start learning from there. The first few chapters will apply to any reader, like “Sleeping/잔자기” and “Waking Up/일어나기”, but other chapters may be skipped, e.g. “Marriage/결혼” – if you’re not getting married or know someone who is getting married, “Makeup/화장” – if you are a guy and have no interest in putting makeup or talking about it, “Glasses and Contact Lenses/안경과렌즈” – if you don’t wear glasses or lenses.

(The video came out a bit blurry so here are a couple of pictures of the book).

What’s Inside?

Basically, each chapter has two illustrations on two pages. The front page shows a drawing of one or a few rooms with all these people doing different actions related to one main activity. In the picture above, you will see boys in dorm rooms, all of them listening to the radio. Each action in the drawing is labeled. On the back page, you will find the list of these actions in Korean, and their corresponding English translations. There is no Romanization, or transliteration, in this book so the reader must learn or know how to read Hangeul first. The accompanying audio tracks will only be helpful in checking your pronunciation.

I have gone through the first few chapters already and I intend to follow the chapters in the given sequence. Chapters that are my least interest will still be helpful because these topics may be used by others. So if I don’t use them myself, I’ll probably encounter them by reading or listening to other people.

I use the Naver Dictionary app to confirm the meaning of each word and to also find other usages of the phrases. After looking up the words in the dictionary, I like to make notes. Because the book is not a workbook, I decided to keep a dedicated notebook for it.

Bullet Journal

Now, you may have probably heard of bullet journaling. It is a way of organizing, tracking activities, or documenting progress of projects, etc. There is really not one way of doing it. It is highly customizable, but the guiding principle behind it is that you should have some form of key and log to make your organization effective.

Because this book is very concise, I decided to design a bullet journal to keep track of my progress in completing the chapters.

My main log is a grid containing all 32 topics. In each square, I put the name of the topic or main activity then I add a page number at the bottom. For the chapters I have not started yet, the page # will be blank. When I start a new chapter, I enumerate all the phrases on one page – this is my secondary log. I write them in Korean on the left side then in English on the right.

In the next pages, I dissect the phrases then add the meanings to individual words. I like to add related words for each phrase as a way of improving my vocabulary too, and where I have more space I would add sample sentences or sample song lyrics*.

*One extra thing I like to do is find the phrase/words in songs. It’s just one mechanism I have for retaining words in my memory. For example, the word for “to toss and turn in one’s sleep” is in the first chapter of this book — 뒤척이다. I searched for lyrics and I already found a related word, 뒤척거리다, in AKMU’s new song “Dinosaur”. I also know it from the opening verse of one of my all-time Big Bang song “Lies”. But I’ve not written this in my journal yet.

Main Log – grid consisting of 32 Main activities
Secondary Log – lists related actions or tasks to the main activity
Contents page – includes word meaning, related words, and examples

I hope to share with you my entire bullet journal next time (with better pictures or video) when it has more contents and when it is more presentable. I’m really trying to make it neat. Also, I will prepare a book review for “Everyday Korean Idiomatic Expressions” so watch out for that.

Final Thoughts

I really like “My Daily Routine in Korean” because of its simplicity and practical use. I’m a visual learner too so I really appreciate the fun drawings that are central in each chapter.

It is important to note that it is only a reference book, so don’t expect verb conjugations here. You need prior knowledge of grammar rules or a grammar textbook to be able to create sentences using the phrases found here. If you are studying with a grammar textbook, I think that “My Daily Routine in Korean” is a fantastic supplementary material that will be helpful for beginners or intermediate learners.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. What do you think about this book? How do you feel about bullet journaling? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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