Anime, manga, cosplay, the kawaii culture, the busy shopping, the spectacular jdorama scene, jpop, picturesque scenery – who doesn’t love even a bit of those? I started falling in love.
Okay, so there are bad sides of Japan too like bullying, super dense population, busy working days, the rise of the “new poor” and some other Japanese people customs that I don’t get at all. It’s quite a complicated thing but my interest didn’t wither. I wanted to know more and what better way to be exposed to culture than learn their language!
I started learning Japanese when I was fourteen. I learned fast. It’s totally surprising how big my progress was. At 16, I can write sentences in their writing system (only simple Kanji), I can construct quite complex sentences, only they are all in the formal format. I can speak quite fluently, all thanks to my cousin, Ani-chan who thought me how to read and other grammar-related stuff. Mastery level*: around 25%.
When I entered college, our curriculum offers Foreign Language (FoLa), and obviously, I picked Japanese. It’s refreshing to learn in a more organized manner, a new atmosphere for serious study. I aced both Levels I and II. Mastery level*: around 35%.
Here’s the catch: I got too lazy to study more after acquiring my units. Practicing is hard because we speak a different language everyday. I started writing my diary in Japanese. It’s a good a idea but I can’t express everything in Japanese and it’s frustrating so I stopped writing the journal.
Two years later, my knowledge is below sea level. I recently printed pdf e-books about Japanese grammar and writing. Currently learning from scratch again with some help from my old textbooks and some friends.
�Learning is a continual process. One never learns enough. If you don’t practice a skill for a a long time, it will be deprogrammed in your brain.
Some still remember me as “the girl who can speak Japanese” and it’s confusing because I don’t know a thing about it at all. Well, it’s now time to sit on the thinking chair and re-study every single thing. It’s time to put extra effort to swim from below sea level to conversational level again.
*Mastery Level 1%-100%, being 70% as basis of mastered fluent speech; 100%, being artsy in speech and writing (like literary writers).