Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If You Only Applied Yourself

I have been taking Japanese lessons for 1.5 hours per week since arriving in Japan. Before coming here, I thought that it would be really easy to learn the language and maybe even read and write. Ummm, not. It isn't as easy as I anticipated.

I was really lucky and was assigned a teacher that basically allowed me to control what I wanted to learn. The first several weeks was spent on learning "survival" Japanese. Hello, goodbye, thank you, I would like a glass of wine, I need an auto insurance quote,etc. I learned how to order a cheeseburger with only ketchup at McDonalds for the kids and how to tell a taxi driver where I want to go. I wasn't all that interested in learning how to read, but I quickly changed my mind. Several lessons was spent learning hiragana and katakana. And although I know these characters, I still can't read much because the Japanese written language is made up of hiragana, katakana and kanji all combined. But regardless, I have managed to get by pretty well.

So right before fall break, my super sweet, young, go-with-the-flow teacher, told me that she was moving to Tokyo and that I would be getting a new teacher. I wasn't very excited. I knew I had a good thing going and didn't want to give that up. Sure, my lessons were starting to get harder, but I was still comfortable with what I was learning. And honestly, I felt like I was making good progress.

Two weeks ago I had my first lesson with my new instructor. My teacher is an older lady, very nice, patient, and good, but she also is much more strict and assigns me homework –– lots of it. I really like her, but I knew that my "getting by days" were over.

Last week I canceled my lesson due to being unable to move the day following the hike. (My lessons are first thing Monday mornings) So this week I turned in my homework, which I admit to doing at the last minute, and my teacher informed me that she and my old teacher had a discussion about me. Apparently, I have alot of potential if I only applied myself more and took the time to study. She said I need to work on speaking more Japanese while living here. Can you say flashbacks to high school geometry?

So I guess I need to stop telling my kids the importance of studying and working hard in school and practice what I preach, huh?


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