I went to one of Japan’s most scenic spots, Amanohashidate. Take a look at my video:
Pics to come soon.
Today I finished my first Japanese comic book. (I probably could have finished it sooner if I applied myself.)
I’d like to take a moment to congratulate my friends in Japan who are also studying Japanese. Learning a foreign language is difficult- sometimes you feel so proud of yourself for grasping some grammatical concept, only to end your lesson, go to the grocery store and stick your foot in your mouth when the cashier says something you can’t understand. You feel good after you quiz yourself on the week’s vocab, only to forget that one word when you’re at the train station. In short, when you learn a foreign language, you get knocked down a lot.
But you get back up.
A fluent non-native speaker is just someone who got back up. So again, to all my friends out there studying Japanese-
Congratulations. And thanks for getting back up.
What do you do when the person you wake up next to is not who they were? (Or is it you?) Too much time has passed, too much reality has been spent together. The shine has worn off. There are too many fights to remember and too many patches on the relationship for it to ever be new again.
You are not living in love, you are living in convenience. Things are not the way you want- they are just not inconvenient enough for you to bother to change.
Once enough time passes living in a foreign country, you will have this experience with your second country. The first months, everything is new. All the small things make your heart flutter, and you feel like a child again. Everything is an adventure.
But after enough time passes, differences that were once endearing now piss you off. It seems that the little things are sleights directed at you- and they make you harder inside. The more you resist the new culture, the more the new culture resists you.
Someone compliments my “amazing Japanese” after I say only Konnichiwa. Someone is surprised I can use chopsticks. That I cook Japanese curry. That I read Japanese books.
So what do you do when the things that were once endearing are now thorns, when the feeling of newness is gone? How do you love again?
You love again. That’s how.
Love is not an emotion- it’s an action. It’s not magic, some automatic Hollywood fairytale; it takes hard work. You have to shut up and listen. You have to understand the other person- why they are acting that way, how they are feeling, what they are trying to communicate to you.
And you have to take an honest look at yourself, what you are doing wrong. What can you do differently, to really understand what is happening around you? Have you been putting in enough effort? What do you value now, and is it different from what you valued at the start?
If you do these things, maybe you’ll start to hear what’s actually being said (even though the words are different). “We’ve never had a foreign customer and we’re actually kind of nervous about it.” “I’m surprised you can eat Japanese food- I thought other people think our food is strange.” “I want you to feel comfortable here, so I better say something nice, maybe about your Japanese.”
What do you do when you want walk? You walk. And when you want to jump, or drink or draw? You jump or drink or draw.
And when you want to love again?
You love again.