Saturday, July 16, 2011

One Year On My Japanese Learning Journey

I think I should just change my nickname to Tardy Geisha, instead of Fat Geisha (but it does not mean I have lost any weight, sigh). But here I am again and I have FINALLY - FINALLY!!!!! reached the one year mark in my part-time Japanese Language classes, and ta-dah! am moving on to the Intermediate Level come next Monday. This also means that I will be able to take my first JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) Level 5 in December this year. If I can take any comfort in the mini in-house test I took earlier this week (43/46!), I think  I should be able to pass the JLPT without too much angst, and so long as I keep up with my revision (which is not a given in view of my overwhelming tardiness.)

The crappy thing of course is that since I started learning Japanese, I have not been able to step foot on Japanese soil, no thanks to the 11 March disaster. Hence I have not been able to show off, or rather, er-hem, UTILISE my new-found Japanese skills. (Although now I am plotting some exciting plans with The Evil One, to be discussed further in the next post.)

Despite being surrounded by a ton of girlfriends who are studying the language at the same time with me, AND knowing a number of people who HAVE studied Japanese, I realised that we are not actively practicing with one another, for God knows what reason. In fact, our fave Japanese phrases, if we did in fact use them, are still "Arigato!", "Sumimasen!", "Chotto Matte!", "Mata Raishu!" etc., which HALLO, I was already using prior to starting my lessons. Are we too old, too shy, too afraid, too lazy to use the language on one another? How in the world are we going to improve if we are confined to using it once a week in class?! What is the point of learning a new language then? I can't travel to Japan every other day (much as I would looove to). To my detriment I still prefer to watch Korean dramas to Japanese dramas. (I think my Korean is quite powerful too, thanks to Lee Min Ho.....) I try to listen to more Japanese songs but can only catch random words, without understanding the full meaning of the sentence. Japan Hour on TV is repeating its episodes which is SOOOO boring. ARGH! 

So how? How am I going to become a Japanese language expert? Or at least, learn sufficiently to flirt shamelessly with Kimura-san (should I ever meet him)? I need an immersion programme, immediately. Preferably immersing myself in an onsen full of gorgeous, naked Japanese men, and I can assure you, I will reach Advanced Level in no time at all. 

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