Learning Japanese

Japan: How’s things?

Me: I’m a bit tired. I’ve been studying Japanese.

Japan: I’ve noticed. It’s nice that you’re trying though.

Me: Nice?

Japan: Yeah.

Me: Nice that i’m trying. I spend thousands of yen trying to learn your language. I’ve got half a dozen textbooks and two CDs and apps and flash cards. I’ve got Japanese friends and workmates and students.  I’m surrounded by Japanese all the time.

Japan: And yet you appear to find it all quite complicated.

Me: It is.

Japan: But you don’t make things easy for yourself. You don’t seem to care about the rules.

Me: Rules? Aren’t rules are for fools and the guidance of idiots?

Japan: No. No they’re not. They’re necessary. Your problem is that you’ve got no fear of breaking the rules and people are too kind to tell you that you’re making a mistake. They’ll just nod their head and carry on talking and everybody will assume that you all understand each other.

Me: So why don’t you tell me i’ve made a mistake?

Japan: Because mistakes are bad and i don’t want to embarrass you.

Me: What?

Japan: Maybe you should think about spending a bit more time sitting, reading books and studying instead of playing with the language in context and running headfirst into the social minefield with your mouth flapping open and your brain way behind it.

Me: Well, perhaps i would be more encouraged to sit and read some books and study if you didn’t have three alphabets. Three? Where do i start?

Japan: At the beginning with the rules.

Me: Which ones? And which alphabet? And why, if you’ve got three alphabets do you sometimes not have enough words?

Japan: What do you mean?

Me: For example, you seem to only have one way of saying “hot”. So, when the weather’s hot you just stumble around saying “Hot. It’s hot. I’m hot. Hot.” That’s it? There are no other words for “hot”? No other phrase or combination or sounds? Just “hot”?

Japan: Well, no. If it’s hot, it’s hot.

Me: And then there are some words that are written the same but pronounced half a dozen different ways. Or several different ways of saying one thing depending on who i’m talking to and what day of the week it is. Or there are some words that are pronounced the same but have loads of different definitions. Senkou for example.

Japan: Useful word.

Me: It has the following meanings; preceding, major subject, selection, batting first, submarine voyage, incense stick, underwater navigation, polarimetric rotation, flash of light and perforation. Did you pick these out of hat? How can one word, pronounced the same way, have so many wildly different definitions?

Japan: I like it like that. It makes things more manageable.

Me: No it doesn’t. It’s like walking through a maze of mirrors trying to find a window that’s disguised as a mirror, hidden behind a mirror. Whilst looking into a mirror.

Japan: You spend all your time looking at yourself?

Me: No, everything seems strangely familiar yet i know i’m completely lost with no end in sight.

Japan: Stop complaining and study more.

Me: Well, i’m glad you speak such good English otherwise we-

Japan: Shut up.


June 16, 2012. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized.

One Comment

  1. amwiegand replied:

    This is absolutely hilarious. I can completely relate!

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