Last night the mood was lighter in my five-student Japanese 101 class. More relaxed. And everyone was talking about their upcoming trips to Japan.
“I’m not looking forward to being there in the summer again. It’s even more humid there than here!” said the man I know only as Jason-san*.
“Just be glad it’s cheaper. I’m going this fall and the cheapest flight I could find was two thousand dollars,” Andy-san commiserated. “What about you, Sensei?”
“Not until winter,” said my teacher, a sweet, petite Japanese woman. “I want to show my son how we celebrate the New Year in Japan.”
I listened to everyone’s itineraries with interest, having nothing to contribute myself. I guess it makes sense that the reason all my classmates signed up was to prepare for upcoming trips to Japan. But when I decided to learn Japanese ten weeks ago, it wasn’t for impending travel.
“How old is your daughter, Jason-san?” our teacher asked. Jason is going to stay with his daughter in Japan; that’s why he’s in the class.
“Nineteen,” he replied. “Ever since she saw Sailor Moon it was always her dream to move to Japan, and now she’s done it!”
“Let’s hope she’s not still watching Sailor Moon,” Andy said jokingly.
“No, she is! It turns out Sailor Moon is back on TV and she still loves it.” Everyone had a chuckle at that.
Ten weeks have gone by since I started learning Japanese, and 101 is now over. (But no break for me; Japanese 102 starts next week.) And while I no longer confuse “chi” and “sa,” I still feel very insecure about my reasons for learning it.
Despite Kit’s gentle reminder, on my own blog no less, I still feel like a weeaboo when I talk about how class is going, a topic that never fails to enthuse me. Unless you count the nebulous word “someday,” I have zero plans to travel to Japan. Yet every word feels important to me because it helps me to understand the shows and comics I weirdly love so much.
I just got back my final exam, and even though I did pretty well, I did spell my own name wrong. In both learning the language and accepting my own reasons for doing so, I still have a long way to go.
*Names changed to protect the innocent.
Instagram of my final exam.