The Rocky Road To Nihon

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Journal Entry #1

Another lesson of Japanese, another punch to the spleen. I expected this to happen, but it actually didn't. This time I made progress. Oh sweet, sweet progress. I love to see that I'm actually gaining some knowledge time to time, and I actually love it even more, when it's something I really want to learn. I think I owe you all some explanation about that "spleen punching".

I began learning Japanese last year. I was starting my last class in my ex-school. That meant exams, a lot of work, a lot of studying. At first I was quite absorbed in Japanese and I had time to learn it, but the further into the school year, the less time I had to study what I like. That meant I wasn't catching up with the rest of my class in Japanese. That backfires right now, on my second year. My vocabulary is really bad. I do know the grammar but the words themselves are the problem. Actually I was doing a really good job with preparations for my final exams, but It was then, when my grandpa's cancer began to take the hold of him. He died around March 7 2013. It's needless to say that I was quite struck with it. My parents are heavy drinkers and that really didn't help the situation. At least we are leading a really decent life.

I'd really like to talk to my grandpa. That last talk. To tell him that my exams went well, how much I loved him, to thank him for being my biggest support in "The Rocky Road to 日本" and I don't mean the blog. My parents have never really approved my idea for living abroad. Studying? Yeah sure. Living abroad away from them? Really far away? Not really. But I don't care. Would you like to know why? Because I've heard that one sentence from my grandpa: "I believe in you, and I approve. You have my full support.".

He was the first to actually support me. The rest of the family went after him, but I can feel that they did it just to not be worse, because it's the moral thing to do, supporting your son and stuff like that. Yet I still feel that they are against it. I've actually been telling myself that I want to move to Japan because of the work opportunities. I am young, and I have a whole world, right? America, UK, Germany, I can go everywhere I want, so why not Japan. At least I'll be living in a place that I like and find interesting. It's also quite a challenge, and oh boy I like those. But the truth? The Job and the opportunities are true, but to be quite honest, I just want to run away from my parents and this country. I hate it. Nobody chooses where and to whom they've been born, therefore patriotism is dumb for me. I hate my customs, that heavy drinking, my neighbourhood, the crime rate and the rest. It's not easy to leave it all, I can assure you , and I'm neither planning to lose any means of contact with my folks. I just don't want to live here. We have Skype nowadays, so I can keep in touch with them. I can use my holidays to visit them. The point is, I just don't want to live here.

To brighten up the mood, I've been invited to my friend's Name's Day. Seems like nothing but I actually never receive any phone calls from anyone who wants to just talk with me. Nobody invites me over, I always propose such things. The only thing the people are calling me for is business, because I sell video games and such. Sometimes you can feel like a Third wheel because of that. But new school, new friends right? I've met a guy whose real name will be saved for me, but lets call him Carlos. It's like, he's the first one to actually tell me, that he really likes me and my company. He actually wants to talk to me, invites me over and cares. You wouldn't believe how great it is to have a person like that in your life. I feel like an outsider, despite having a shitload of friends. That's because nobody cares. No phones, text messages, nothing. Carlos does, and I'm really grateful to him for everything he's doing. Maybe he'll one day stumble upon this blog and read it, and if that would happen I have a message for him. "You wouldn't even believe, how much that helps me."

Japanese: Learning One of the World's Toughest Languages

On Ideas

Every time someone sees me studying Japanese Kanji(漢字), characters the Japanese borrowed from the Chinese, and then used to represent Japanese ideas and pronunciation, I always get one or both of the following responses

1. Are you studying Chinese?

2. Is it hard?

In response to the first I always teach them and let them know that Chinese is significantly different than Japanese because Japanese people use three "alphabets" (they are in fact more like syllabaries), katakana, hiragana, and kanji, and because the grammar is substantially different.

The second though, is always a mixed bag. The U.S. Government states That Japanese, along with Arabic, and Chinese (and some other languages I forgot) are the languages that require the most time to learn for English speakers. But in my opinion, after having spent years studying on and off, Japanese is definitely one of the the World's toughest languages (at least considering it is actually spoken by over 100 million people) to become really fluent at (watch comedians, read adult-level literature, understand and differentiate slang and homonyms),but one of the easier languages to learn the basics to ( denoting location, modifiers, people, adjectives)

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