Ten years since learning Japanese

My first visit to Japan was in 2004.

This month is a nostalgic month for me, especially this year: July 2012 marks ten years since I first embarked on my journey of learning Japanese.

It’s a milestone, certainly; I will even go as far as to say July 2002 changed my life through this point in time.

During the earlier part of 2002, I was a junior. As we all knew in our little high school, all the accelerated learners of the junior class was “supposed to” apply to the Virginia Governors’ Schools (summer programs). There were sciences, arts, agriculture, and languages. I didn’t want to feel the high pressure to audition for the summer music program, so I decided instead, “I like languages. I will choose one of the language schools.”

There was Spanish, French, Russian, and Japanese. Spanish and French were more competitive, and I just felt at that point I was fine with my Spanish proficiency. So I instead chose to learn a new language: Japanese.

The process was slightly rigorous, but after a few months of waiting for results, I received mail saying I was going to the Japanese Language Academy (JLA as we all later affectionately called it) for the summer of 2002. There was only one problem, though…

My eldest sister’s wedding was set for July 6, 2002. And in order for me to qualify for the full JLA program, I had to stay for the duration of the three weeks in July, i.e., not be able to attend my sister’s wedding. I remember crying about this with my sister, saying that I wanted so badly to be in both places at once.

I will never forget what she told me in response to my dilemma:

“Go to the Japanese Language Academy. You won’t ever get this chance again.”

(My thought at that point: “I won’t get to attend your wedding ever again either….” but I kept my mouth shut.)

And so I went to JLA, missing my eldest sister’s wedding….but, even today, forever grateful she gave me that nudge. For I met so many people at JLA who have touched my life so profoundly. After the program, I began to obsess over learning more about the Japanese language, diving into the Japanese music scene & staying in touch with my JLA friends. I’d get excited meeting Japanese natives and other Japanese speakers (my roommates in my sophomore year of undergrad days were Japanese). I even studied in Tokyo, Japan for one semester in the summer of 2006, where I was able to utilize my language skills & really enjoy life overseas. There are still people from my semester abroad who I continue to stay close with, reminiscing about our summer together and realizing how much time has passed since then.

All because of a 3-week summer program in central Virginia the summer of 2002. In recent years, I’ve made excuses as to why I’ve not used my Japanese skills much; in the past five days, though, I had a lightbulb go off in my mind that–hell, I don’t need to be surrounded by Japanese in order to be proficient in it. I’ve made a point that I will type/write/talk/read in Japanese at whatever chance I get. I may be annoying my followers on Facebook and Twitter with my sudden outbursts in Japanese. But I also realize that I must maintain my language skills, no matter where I am in the world. And with all the people I’ve met in the past ten years–I can achieve this and stay fluent in my adopted language.

Here’s to many more years of Japanese~

Daily Post Day 64: Better to Be Sorry Than Safe

When is it better to be sorry than safe?

 

When you know the experience will never be there again.

 

Which almost always happens. We may never realize the special unique moments in our lives until they pass us by.

 

That impulsive feeling struck me a lot starting in my undergraduate studies. And now that I look back on the adventures I had then, I am glad that I went ahead with risks, even if they made me feel sorry later.

 

I don’t regret any decisions I have made, because I have learned from each and every moment.

 

So live each day and don’t be sorry with the choices you make.

 

Daily Post Day 47: Life’s Confusions

Life is always confusing me. Is there really only one part of life that confuses me the most?

So many things happen that continue to astound me. The building blocks of life, fate, destiny. I continue to wonder, “So, what if I hadn’t registered for that class? What if I hadn’t decided to go out that night?” Some things happen just in such unexplainable ways.

A lot of “What If’s” for a parallel universe. And all those questions will never be answered because life is as it is. I cannot ask what could have happened if one element had been different. I don’t need to know.

 

Daily Post Day 43: Super Intelligent vs. Extremely Good Looking

Today’s topic:

Would you rather be super intelligent or extremely good looking?

Hands down, I’d go with the intelligence. That should win over extremely good looks any day anyway (my opinion of course).

In fact, I feel I have more or less lived a life along the lines of being more intelligent rather than good looking. Ok, not putting myself down completely, but growing up, I wasn’t considered too attractive being an overweight Asian girl. But of course, with Asian stereotypes come the “Oh, she’s smart because she’s Asian!” remarks.

That was flattering to an extent. I know I didn’t fare too well in math, so when classmates saw my terrible math grades, it was embarrassing to have them say, “But, I thought….Chinese people were supposed to be smart in math!”

Not all of them, my friends!

Daily Post Day 30: Technology I Can’t Live Without

I can’t decide what I can’t live without when it comes to technology.

  1. iPhone – I want to say I can live without this darned thing, but since it does so much for me (and I love the camera especially), I would be a bit sad without it. Of course, I could do without a lot of the apps I have on my phone…if I only had the camera, text messaging, and phone calls, I’d be content. The apps are what drive me crazy.
  2. iPod Nano – Yes, I have an iPod Nano as well. If I had to choose between iPhone and iPod, I’d stay with iPod for its sole purpose of music, music, music. If I were on a deserted island, the iPod would be my best friend. But, I would need a charger. Without music, I would be numb.