Ima nemui desu yo!

I can barely keep my eyes open, lately. I'm going through one of those phases where my body just wants to sleep, sleep, sleep. I think it might have to do with having an extra stressful couple of weeks, and sleeping very little during that time. I'm feeling less stressed now, but sooooo tired.

By the way, in case you haven't noticed my obnoxious use of another language in regular diary writing, I've started studying Japanese.

I can't say much about how it's going. However, in the last email that I wrote to Adam, I noted that my Japanese grammar was correct, but my English grammar wasn't.

How is it that I'm writing emails in Japanese when I claim to have just started studying it?

Well, the whole just started thing is kind of a lie. I was exposed to Japanese as an infant. As most people know, this is when language starts getting into your ears and your brain starts to arrange itself in a way so what you're hearing makes some kind of sense.

I was also exposed as a child, spent some time in Japan, and could kinda, sorta communicate in a rudimentary way. If nothing else, my pronunciation is much better than the average uninitiated ear.

My mother tried to teach me hiragana, katakana, counting, and a variety of simple bits of knowledge. They were things that I largely forgot about.

I forgot about them until I started studying Japanese, that's when I remembered that I do actually know these things. For much of my younger adult life, I was very turned off of it because I was trained to associate imperfections in Japanese with a smack or a sharp word.

Over the years, I somehow seemed to have let go of my past. Not only did I forgot about my associations with Japanese, but also forgot that I knew anything about it.

My brother speaks it, Adam has just started learning it and we finally booked our flights to Japan. I've always liked the idea of being bilingual (or trilingual, depending on your definition of knowing a language, since I studied Hebrew, too), and these circumstances make Japanese a logical choice.

As a side note, why do we think that it's so special to know more than one language, anyway? I guess the first reason would be that it's so very, very difficult to learn a new language as an adult. Second, is probably its association with intellectuals.

However, I think that the only real advantage is the larger conceptual world. There are concepts that are expressed in some languages, but not in others. Oh, and it's nice to go to different places and be able to communicate with people and stuff.

Anyway, over the weekend, I was making vocabulary flash cards. I thought it would be a good idea, since I am terrible at remembering words. Half the time, I can't remember the English word that I want to use.

Because I was trained to believe in insanely perfect penmanship in Japanese, I showed a card to Adam and asked, "Is this ok? Do you think I should re-write it?" He gasped and said, "Oh my god! WHAT?! That's so good! How is it that your writing is so good?!"

I said, "So, you don't think I need to re-write this one?"

The point being, I've been pleasantly surprised. For some reason, I thought I was coming to this as a blank slate. Also, once I remembered my history with Japanese, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I'm enjoying myself.

This doesn't mean that I don't need to put in effort. I wasn't making vocabulary flash cards for my health. I spent two hours on it yesterday and I didn't finish. Also, it won't be long before I'm beyond the stuff a person learns as a five year old.

It's exciting for me, not because I'm learning it, but because I'm learning it and so far, it hasn't been painful.

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Monday, Sept. 21, 2009 at 7:03 PM