Saturday, 9 September 2017

Why I picked up a new language

About 1.5 years ago, I signed up for Japanese language classes. Due to NS, I could only commit weekly classes but I was always looking forward to the class on the weekend. 

In April this year, I went to Japan. No, you don't have to actually learn Japanese to get around in Japan. That was not my real purpose in learning Japanese. Instead, I wanted to learn something new and exciting to get over the mundane routine in NS. I also viewed it as building resilience as attitude to learning is always the biggest factor. 

Some Japanese was still necessary if you do not want to use Google Translate, especially in the suburbs of Kyoto. In an unfortunate situation, I did use it when my friend lost his wallet but I couldn't catch up with the native speaker's speed. The wallet was found eventually and every single yen was accounted. There had been very honest and upright staff. Kudos! 

In July, I took the most basic proficiency exam (JLPT N5) and while it was a very easy course, I did not excel in the listening even though I did pass it. Only a few anime shows, songs, and dramas are of interest to me and this is one of the biggest drawbacks because listening exposure to the language then becomes very limited. As a full-time undergraduate now, I stopped my Japanese classes. My priorities are to focus first on grades in university. Without realising it though, I actually stopped learning altogether.

You cannot just spend all those time and effort only to stop there. Hopefully, by writing this down, this is a reminder for me to reset my goal. What was my original purpose in learning? Since I'm not in NS anymore, I may have lost sight of my goal because learning Japanese was a form of escape. I was also missing a long-term timeline that will serve as encouragement and reward for achieving every milestone. What are my own expectations of becoming proficient? 

Nobody will have said that learning English was easy when we were young. But when you look back, it was the child and the joy for learning that pushed us to become proficient in English. So it is time to find the child in me again. Of course, grades in university is the priority but it's the interests outside of studies that define a person as well. 

It has been a long time since I posted. I believe I will return to blogging more often so as to keep me sane while in university. In the meantime, here are some photos of my Japan trip(taken with Sony A57, 16-50mm): 
We walked nearly 5km across streets filled with sakura trees
to get to this rather secluded matcha cafe in Kyoto.
Shimizu-Ippoen (Kyoto Main)



Too touristy for my liking but
the night atmosphere was great
Gion, Maruyama Park

Umeda Sky Building in Osaka 

Till next time, 
K. 

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