Friday

Last night, I bought a new copy of Minna No Nihongo, a beginner’s Japanese course book. I bought it because all the local Japanese lessons use the book and our old version was really old. And I bought it because I never have time to go to the local Japanese lessons and so will have to practice with J, for whom the book is an appropriate level. We are going on a trip in two months and want to be more fluent when we run into friends from our old addresses. And yet, I still blushed when putting that book…

Tuesday

The fourth grade curriculum here, much like the fourth grade curriculum anywhere, includes a focus on civic affairs and history. We live in Hiroshima. Students here grow up with a heavy burden, passed along from their ancestors. And in fourth grade, they go to the Peace Park, visit the museum of tragic artifacts, and talk to foreign visitors about war and peace. As a teacher helping students with the talking to foreign visitors portion of the field trip, I attended a talk given by a survivor of the bomb, hibakusha in Japanese. She was just 8 years-old when the bomb…

Saturday

Since I last wrote, I have been studying. Not constantly, obviously, as things like work and children interrupt, but much more diligently than before. I did something that was both humbling and fantastic: I bought study materials for the level just beneath where I have long assessed myself to be. The more I studied with my regular intermediate materials, the more frustrated I became because of the gaps, particularly in my grammar. So I am doubling back and filling in those gaps and already it has made a huge difference in what I hear and read on a daily basis….

Wednesday

The strange thing about figuring out finally what I am about and what I want to write is that now I must postpone my writing until I pass the test in December. I was going to take the July one but I knew I was not ready. This “I should be studying but I don’t want to be studying” issue has been going on with me since I moved to Japan, back in 2004. Fifteen years of feeling guilty and frustrated with my second language. Part of it is because I struggle with the decision to live in Japan in…