Watashi wa nihongo o hanashimasu (私は日本語を話します)
The above, if I remember correctly (not the kanji, I have a terrible time with Kanji) should mean “I speak Japanese”. I wish I knew how to add, “Well, kind of” to that phrase. I’ve been studying Japanese on and off for a few years, never getting past the most basic phrases and greetings. When I was still living in Northern Virginia and working in DC I started taking Skype lessons with a very patient lady named Chika. Bless her is she patient. I am/was a terrible student, and just didn’t have the mental bandwidth to spend enough time studying to make any real progress. I stopped lessons last year when my commute crept over the 5 hour a day mark, and just never picked it back up. I haven’t cracked a book or looked at a flashcard since the last time I talked to her, and I am kicking myself for it now.
Despite all that Chika is willing to take me back as a student, and I am going to have to make much more of an effort to stick to learning the language this time. Why?
Well, Chris and I have been talking about going to Japan for years. Originally we wanted to go for our honeymoon, but paying for 2 sets of rent for 6 months living in Northern Virginia sucked up all of our Honeymoon money like a fun vampire. We were flat broke. Now that we are adults (and own our own house) we have the funds and the time to think about making the trip.
As it happens a friend is getting married in April in La Jolla, CA. I was whining to a friend that we had been thinking about going to Japan in the spring but now we had to go to this damn wedding and he looked me in the face and said “You’re already going to be halfway there….why don’t you go for the wedding and leave the next day and fly the rest of the way to Japan”. He is a genius. Nothing is set in stone yet, but this is the perfect opportunity for us to go. I have the dates, and am watching ticket prices, and I am excited as hell. We want to go for a full 2 weeks and see as much of the country as we can manage.
But in planning all of that I really want to commit to learning a good amount of the language. Chris is like “Everyone (well, the younger crowd anyway) speaks pretty good English, and most of the signs are bi-lingual” and I was like: “Yeah, but I like hearing what people are saying about me”. I think it’s rude to go to another country and make zero effort to learn at least the basics of their language, and more than that I think you miss out on a lot of the culture if you don’t experience it at least a little like a native.
I start lessons again today, and I am sure Chika is going to be pissed that I’ve forgotten everything she taught me. She does excellent Skype lessons and really pushes me to learn at a brisk pace. She also loves to tell me that the way I pronounce certain words makes me sound like a gangster. Awesome.
Well, my sewing class is going well. We are making a tote bag at the moment, and I’ve picked out the pattern for my final project (Schierke’s dress) so I can work on that for Otakon in August. I just realized I am a month out from that con and have made zero progress with any of my costumes. Shit. I have ordered a rough cast of the mask for Soldier 76, so hopefully that comes in in time for me to sand it down, paint, and finish it for con. We’ll see!
Here’s the pattern I picked up for Schierke. I’m going to use the one on the left and edit it to work (Making the sleeves shorter, not making the little cowl thing). My sewing teacher was like “If you’re willing to work on this outside of class, I’m will to help you” So yay!