When I started this blog I really thought it would be more about my struggles to learn the Japanese language. I made a good start at learning and for about four weeks I studied about an hour a day. Then we went on the farewell tour and I had more interesting things to do and blog about.
Realistically I think I am 2 years away from being conversational in Japanese. If I really apply myself. That is a very long term goal that doesn’t seem to break down very easily. I can chop up the learning into small groups of words and kanji, but it still feels like I am talking like a toddler raised by ferrets (Japanese ferrets of course).
Most of the languages I have learned in my life are not spoken to other people, but to computers and there is a nice incremental feedback loop with almost all programming languages. I can get the computer to talk back to me within just a few hours (minutes?). After a few weeks or months with a new language I can create something that looks like it might be useful. As an added bonus the computer very rarely laughs at you when you mispronounce a word and ask for “directions to the closest duck house.” In that instance if the computer knows where a duck lives it tells you and waits for you to ask another question. I keep waiting for an aha moment when I figure out how to apply my ability to learn new programming languages to learning Japanese. If it ever happens I’ll let you know.
My father studied Japanese full time for a year before our family moved there and most of it still seems to be floating around in his brain. During my studying I have sent him a few questions. His response is usually a quick and informative, but I knew I was in trouble after he answered my question trying to clarify the Japanese articles, Wa, O, and Ga.
His answer:O is usually used with a direct object. Wa/Ga is inscrutable for gaijin!
Kanji for the day: 学生 がくせい gakusei student