Monday, December 1, 2008

Personal Aspirations in J-Pan, #2

Halfway through the school year, I feel like I’ve learned a lot, and yet, I also feel like I’ve learned hardly anything, as I peer ahead at how much of the language I haven’t yet tackled. I suppose it’s easiest not to think about where one is going, and just to focus on the here and now. So, I’ll take another look through my goals, and say to myself, “stick to the plan, man, just stick to the plan.”

Goal #1: Be able to have a simple conversation with my sister entirely in Japanese. I’m a little closer now. We can bat simple sentences back and forth now.

Goal #2: Play through a dialogue-intensive Japanese game, and actually understand it. Actually, I haven’t even tried this since my last Personal Aspirations paper. There really hasn’t been time, as scholastically, November tends to be a very unforgiving month. I’ve still got a lot more kanji to learn before I can even start to guess at what’s being said. I now know perhaps 28. Even after learning another 100, I’m not entirely sure how close I’ll be. I had an idea though – I might be able to get a transcript of one of my favorite games and work from that, looking up things electronically. Otherwise, I have no idea how to look up kanji.

Goal #3: Watch a Japanese cartoon, with no subtitles, and actually understand it. Again, I actually haven’t even found the time for this, which is strange to hear myself say, because normally I’m a fiend when it comes to the consumption of television shows. The last one I watched through, デスノート, (A.K.A. Death Note, which is based on a manga of the same name), was before I’d started Japanese class. I never quite finished the series, so I wouldn’t mind watching it through again to try to make sense of it.

Goal #4: Apply to the JET Programme, and teach English in Japan. Well, I’ve submitted my application. I can’t say much else on the subject though. I haven’t yet given any thought as to which prefecture I might want to teach in. I don’t really feel I’d be able to make an informed decision anyway. If I ask somebody from Hokkaido about prefectures, they’ll tell me I should teach in Hokkaido, because of all the wonderful people. If I ask somebody from Kyoto about prefectures, they’ll tell me I should teach in Kyoto, because of all the wonderful people. You get the idea. I’m sure I’ll be happy wherever I might be placed, but I will look into it a little, if for no other reason than to give a more impressive interview.

Goal #5: Write a short story in Japanese. I haven’t started on this yet either. I also hadn’t expected to. But perhaps I’ll get started over the Christmas break. Since the beginning of the school year, I’ve taken a shine to writing poetry, so perhaps I’ll start with a few short poems. They’ll be silly for the most part, but then again, so am I. Here’s a poem I wrote for my Japanese term test:

さけ すき です、 すし すき です。

うきと かぶきと たぬき すき です。

大学 すき です、 日本ご すき です。

いそがしい いそがしい いそがしい です。

In Romaji characters, for those of you who can’t read Japanese characters but want to share in the sound aesthetic of the poem, it reads as follows:

Sake suki desu. Sushi suki desu,

Ukito kabukito tanuki suki desu,

Daigaku suki desu, nihongo suki desu,

Isogashi, isogashi, isogashi desu.

Roughly translated, it means:

I like sake, I like sushi.

I like the rain, kabuki, and tanuki.

I like university, I like the Japanese language.

I’m busy, busy, busy.


Younghee-jin said...

I didn't know you're interested in Japanese. Keep up the good work. I know it's a very complicated language to learn because of the Hiragana and Katakana. I can see the determination in you so I'm sure you can do it. My cousin started studying it in a young age, now she is an expert because she really wants to learn it. She can read and write. I enjoyed your poem so much, :D

Inkpot said...

Wow Mal, you have done a lot since the beginning of term. It is a good idea doing an up date of your progress as you go along. Good luck with your JET application. It would be really cool to teach in Japan. It looks a fascinating country and culture.

spookygreentea said...