Learning Japanese when you don't feel like you need to...

Back when I was in high school, we were offered a choice of two languages to study (it was compulsory to do at least one for a couple of years). My school had the choice of German or Japanese – and I ended up choosing Japanese. Quite frankly though, as a stubborn teenager I never saw the importance or value of learning a language. As sad as it is to admit now, the train of thought that I had as a 14 or 15 year old was”pssssh…when am I ever going to need to speak or write Japanese?” Fast forward to now, as a 30-something who moved here a few years ago because of my husband’s work. Oh, how part of me wishes that I could jump back in time and pay more attention in those “lazy classes” as I saw them back then. I remembered little more than broken sentences (and the occasional familiar looking hiragana) from those days. In the four years that I’ve spent living in Tokyo, 12 months of that was in the inner city while my husband completed a fellowship program, and the next three were at a US military base – and again, my laziness seemed to take hold. Perhaps laziness is the wrong word, the path of least resistance is probably a better way of phrasing it. Living on a military base here was easy, because everyone around me spoke English. Sure, when I would go off base and need to mail something I would wish for a better grasp on the language – or when I saw another mom in an elevator at the mall with similar aged kids, and all I could muster was a “kawaii!” in reference to her children – but for the most part it was just too …continue reading