Sunday, June 24, 2012

Frustrations and Realizations

Being in a country where you know very little of the language is quite frustrating.  Many of the signs I can't read because they're covered in kanji, and the ones I can read in hiragana and katakana I don't know what they mean.  Shopping is embarrassing because the most I can say to the cashier is hello but I can't understand anything they say to me that isn't the total of my purchase so I just nod and make affirmation noises like I know what they're talking about.  I attended a meeting at church where I could barely follow along based on the Engrish and a few Japanese words, and the one lady who could speak English would only give me the basic premise of the conversation every once in a while.  I got lost on my way to the store once but didn't want to ask for directions because I knew I wouldn't know what they were saying.

But although I am constantly frustrated I believe that the frustration will push me to learn more.  I want to be able to read basic street signs.  I want to understand the cashiers.  I want to understand what's going on in meetings.  I want to be able to take directions.  I want to know more Japanese, and since I am in Japan I cannot give up when it gets hard.  I can't throw in the towel and focus on something else because the reality is that no matter where I go there will be Japanese.  My sensei or the church translator can't follow me around to let me know what's happening.  If I really want to live and work in Japan one day I'm going to have to do it on my own.  It's a scary prospect but I must get over my fear of the unknown.

Japan is a whole new country full of different food and places worth exploring, and if I'm to have a proper adventure in the land of the rising sun I'm going to have to "buck up mister" and "put [this] big brain of [mine] to work."  I'm not going to learn Japanese by beating myself up over my current lack of knowledge. That's almost the stupidest thing I've ever heard.




  3. That's the spirit!! You can overcome this tiny bump in the road. After all--it is tiny and you are big! ;D