After a 2-week hiatus for the Christmas and New Year holidays, we (myself and 2 other long suffering girlfriends) went back to our class at Ikoma with some trepidation in our hearts not least because we haven't been very good girls and did not revise our Japanese as fastidiously as we should have. (Gomenasai, Sensei!!)
Thankfully, while our brains crashed in the last half hour of the class from too much revision and new information overload, the latest lesson proved to be quite interesting. Besides learning the very useful verb "すき” which means "I like" e.g. "すしが好きです！” "I like Sushi!", we started to learn how to construct longer sentences with CONJUNCTION (those who don't know what that is, please go back to primary school. Oh alright, I cheated and looked up on Wikipedia too.) In a nutshell, conjunction refers to a part of speech which links up two sentences. So instead of saying "I like Sushi. Sushi is delicious." I can put everything in a single sentence and say "I like Sushi because it is delicious."
For me, learning new languages is mostly about cheating because you HAVE got to "cheat" since this is not your mother tongue and your brain power is not as it used to be. Since my two "base" languages are English and Chinese, I will apply my knowledge on their sentence structures and sounds accordingly when learning a new language. There are some similarities between English and German, and of course LOTS of similarities between Chinese and Japanese and Korean. It frustrates me greatly when a language suddenly comes up with a new rule, against all that I already know. For example, all German words have a "gender" and you have to memorise if a "table" is a "he", "she" or "it". (For useless general knowledge - a table is a "he" - "Der Tisch".) And the gender of the nouns are distributed randomly - there is no set rule. You have just got to grit your teeth and remember the gender of ALL nouns!
Thus far, the Japanese language has already thrown up a few bombs. Like how the numbers 4, 7 and 9 can change in form and pronunciation depending on the context they are used. In the latest lesson, we were thrown another "bomb". The Japanese conjuctive sentence is neither like the English or Chinese. "すしはおいしいですから、すしがすきです。” which directly translates to "Sushi is delicious because, I like Sushi." or you could turn the sentences around to "I like Sushi, sushi is delicious because." So all we could do was to curse and swear, and try our damnest to cram this new rule into our already overcrowded brains.
On the upside, now it all makes sense when I watch Japanese dramas and actors keep crying out "どして？” (Doshite?!?!?! an oft-heard refrain especially during many dramatic moments.) "Why??" "Why are you leaving me?" "Why are you so cruel?" "Why are you crying?:" and so on and so forth. And when people ask me "why" questions, I can now answer back in my limited and basic Japanese with my new conjunction - "kara" or "because".
And our Sensei asked us the all important question during class - Why do we want to study the Japanese language? "そして日本語おべんきょしますか。” And the title of this blog was my answer. Although in all honesty, I chose to study Japanese (over Korean) because of my desire to travel to Japan more often in the future. But my girlfriend gave that answer first. So what the hell, I chose the next best thing. The hot Kimura-San.
And now it gives me yet another excuse to post ANOTHER gratuitous photo of him: