Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Need to Learn to Speak Better...Among other things

I have finally realized that I really need to learn to speak Japanese better. As of now, I can only say very basic things. This is not going to cut it if I plan on staying on Japan on a long term basis. I want to be able to communicate with people better. There are two things holding me back: motivation and time. When I try to speak Japanese I tend to get frustrated rather quickly. When Japanese people do not understand me I feel like a total idiot and give up. It is not a good habit to have when living in a nation in which my native language is not spoken by most people. I feel like I am being judged when speaking Japanese. I am the kind of person who get a little nervous when I know I am being judged. I must get over this fear if I am do speak Japanese better.

I have a few options for improving my speaking ability. There is this student of mine who teachers Japanese to gaijin. I think she does it at a very low or no cost. She loves my lessons and I think it would be no problem for her to teach me. I actually really like her as a person. She is kind and cares about other people. She is a rare person in this post-modern age. I think she may be a damn good teacher. I have considered asking her to teach me Japanese. My shyness about asking such a request has prevented me from asking her to teach me. I may very well ask her the next time she shows up for a lesson.

My other options are varied. I have tried getting the gal to teach me but that usually ends in total ruin. We simply do not click on teacher/student level. She has no skill what so ever at teaching. It is better just to use her as practice for words I learn. If she understands what I try to say then I consider it a good thing indeed. I did tried to take lessons from a private school but that did not work out so well either. My teacher was good but I could not learn from her. She did not give a shit if I learned anything or not. I think it was a part time job for her anyway. My other option is try and get in on those lessons that the Nerima ward is offering. I do not think I will go for that because I what I really need is a teacher I can make a connection with. I am one of those people who needs to make a connection with someone before I can trust and learn from them. So, it appears that my student is my best option. I trust her and she seems like a person who cares about gaijin learning to speak the Japanese language.

On some other notes of interest in my life; there are some things I may need to improve about myself. You see everyone, I got a problem with dealing with people. I have this chip on my shoulder that I will never be able to lose. I was raised pretty rough and that really shaped me as an adult. I tend to worry a lot about things that I know I should not give two shits about. This makes it hard to some people to get along with me very well. I would like to be a little more smooth but my roughness comes shining though every damn time. When people are polite to me and appreciate what I do for them, it is easy for me to show them my inner self. Sadly, most people are just real assholes. I do not take well to assholes. I have seen a lot of people who are able to charm even the biggest dickhead on the face of the planet. I just cannot do that so well. I also have a hard time dealing with cold people. You know the type, no matter how nice you are to them they just will not warm up to you. I must learn how to charm even the toughest cookie.

The other thing I would like to get better at is showing people that I care about them. Recently, I have been practicing this with the office lady at my base school. I really do care about her but I have been pretty bad at showing it. So, I have started doing little things. When I arrive at work I try to bring a little food for her. I bring a little something for her everyday. You know, a rice ball or something like that. Her English is not so good but she is able to get out a few thank yous. Wednesday she was able to explain to me that the rice ball I gave her was her favorite kind. It almost brings a tear to my eyes that she puts forth the effort to speak English to me. I know it is very hard for her to speak in English. I also have started telling her that she did a good job before I leave for the day. I think it will make her work a little more harder. There is something about her that troubles my brain. I guess that her life is a little more complex than she lets on. In another life she might be a greaser gal. Sometimes she smiles and laughs a lot. Although, there are other times when she does not smile at all and seems to be rather sad. I will take the time to get to know her a little better.

Anyway, maybe I am just a messed up person. I allowed myself to become too rough. It might be too late for me to chance so much; but I am gonna try anyway. My hard noise greaser ways have made me into a complex person. Yeah, a greaser is trying to care about other people. This should be funny for sure. I will always be just a fucking greaser. Hell, one day I should write a book about my life.


Deas said...

Hey - I get a royal heaping of melancholy off of this post, man. I hope things are ok with you. Here's my take.

Japanese - Practice makes perfect. Classes don't necessarily. If your student is willing to teach you, then I'd suggest trying a simple conversation practice with her. Pick a topic, try to get a few sentences out. Make friends other than her, and repeat the process. The weirder / funnier the conversation, the more likely you are to remember how you expressed yourself. I've had conversations about reruns on TV, lack of insulation in Japanese home, good and bad points about air conditioning, why people get wigs, etc. Class is great for grammar, but practice is king for speaking. Also, you could try to find someone on eduFire or Lang-8 to further your studies, too.

Caring about people (rather, showing that you care about people) - I say go for it, and stop beating yourself up. If you want to make a change, try. If you fail, try again. It'll happen as long as you still want it enough to continue trying.

TheGhost said...

Thanks Deas.

Yeah, I am having a hard time as of late. There are things happening that I cannot blog about.

I really want to speak Japanese better. Actually, I have to speak Japanese better. I will take your advice about learning Japanese. Your ideas sound very good.

I will try to show people that I care about them a little better. It is just hard for me to express those type of things.

Anonymous said...

Follow and done.