I just discovered this month’s Japan Blog Matsuri and decided to take part at the last moment! This month’s topic is:
“How I Resolve to Make the Most of My Stay in Japan”
Well, unfortunately I’m not in Japan any more. I was there for two weeks in November. But before I went I promised myself that I would not wimp out… I WOULD communicate in Japanese.
This may not be such a big deal to some people. I figure, though, speaking in another language would be nerve wracking for a lot of people. For me, well, I’m shy. I don’t have a social phobia, but it can be hard sometimes to work up the courage to talk to people. Doubly so in another language really. But I promised myself that this was my opportunity, and I wasn’t going to let anything stand in my way!
I started off strong. On our aeroplane was a Japanese flight attendant who had previously been a Japanese teacher in Melbourne. We had a conversation and he knew just the right level to communicate with me. It was great, it did build up my confidence. Thank you flight attendant guy, you were awesome at your job and made the whole flight more pleasant!
Being in Japan… Well, there was a lot, of course, that I didn’t understand but a lot that I could. I managed to purchase headache medicine which was behind the counter and understand the directions that the pharmacist was telling me. That was a success.
Other times I got shy. When we were trying to purchase a camera lens duty free we got a guy that could talk English.
Sometimes we had no choice in the matter. After just getting off a train in Umeda, we barely had a chance to orientate ourselves before some helpful (but, unwanted helpfulness!!) man directed us in English to the correct exit. Other times another sales guy insisted on talking in English even though I answered in Japanese.
And other times – and I do blame this on lack of sleep as I get grumpy when that happens! – I was thinking “why should I bother asking this question in Japanese, I wont be able to understand the answer”.
Overall, I loved my trip to Japan and I had lots of positive experiences talking in Japanese. The people I went with were also impressed with how much I know, even if at times I feel like I don’t know much. I would say, however, that I didn’t really “learn” much Japanese while I was there, but I did solidify things that I was learning and got a bit of speaking practise.
Most of the time I felt like I was just trying to “survive”, as in I was using my Japanese to buy things or find out where I was. Looking forward, next time I go to Japan (hopefully sooner rather than later!), I resolve to have more “conversational” conversations.
This month’s question was from Rising Sun of Nihon. Looking forward to next months!
TagsJapan Blog Matsuri, speaking