Musings about Japan and life as a human, a cosplayer, a minority, a music lover, an English teacher.

Using Japanese.

This is a draft from March 1st. I tend to write things and not publish them for some reason…I guess because they feel incomplete and I don’t feel like completing them. I may post a couple of other drafts in the future.


It’s one of the greatest feelings to be able to do things in another country using their language.

I used to get nervous when contacting people and telling them my name, and having them deny me just because they can tell I’m a foreigner. And I would obsessively check online dictionaries to make sure my Japanese was as correct as possible. I would have to sit and ponder about what I would say before making a phone call, and if it was possible to avoid phones altogether, that’s what I did.

The other day I was able to call the post office to cancel a redelivery request, because I decided I would pick up the package right away. Without even hesitating, I found the post office number, dialed it, and even as loud background sounds on the other end almost got me distracted, I managed to get my request across.

I’ve also managed to post messages in BBS (bulletin boards) about two extra concert tickets that I have right now. I was worried I wouldn’t get a response, but within hours two people contacted me. Even if the deals don’t go through, at least I know that people will contact me, even if my name isn’t Japanese and my Japanese isn’t perfect.

Even though I still don’t feel confident about my conversational Japanese speaking ability, I feel confident about being able to carry out everyday tasks (and not-so-everyday tasks) with my current abilities, and that’s what really matters when living in this country.

If you ever come to live in Japan or even just to visit, PLEASE learn the language, or attempt to use as much as you can. (Most) Japanese people are very kind and accommodating, but that’s especially true when they hear you using their language.


2 responses to “Using Japanese.

  1. Sophelia April 21, 2014 at 3:10 am

    My first few weeks starting JET I was so stressed out trying to use Japanese all the time that I would start dreaming in Japanese, and then when I didn’t know the words I needed to continue the dream I would wake up in frustration. These days I dream in a blissful mix-match that my brain seems totally fine with… and my son was being naughty this morning sining a song that went “poo poo poo, mummy poo食べる, yummy yummy yummy!” So I guess his brain is getting used to the mish-mash too. He even made a bi-lingual rhyme, even if it was disgusting!

  2. Dwayne April 21, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I have been learning Japanese by myself for a few months and recently made the resolve to learn more intensely. Also, about 2 days ago or so I learned that I’m going to go to Japan to study! As you can imagine, I’m quite excited (really excited!!!) to go. However, I recall a few times when studying, I was listening to an audio lesson and there are time where I literally had to listen to a certain part or phrase over 15 times before I finally realized what phrase meant! At times like those even though it was a lesson I felt a bit embarrassed, and so I do wonder what I’d do/react in such a situation with a real native speaker before me.
    On top of that, you, Ms.Sooyong have been an ALT since 2010 (according to the little bio to the right) and you “still don’t feel too confident about my (your) conversational Japanese speaking ability”. I love the challenge of learning a new language, and I know that when I began learning, it wouldn’t be a walk in the park. But I’m kinda like “wow if she is still not so confident even after at least 3 years in the country then I’ll really have to step it up!
    It may seem a bit intimidating but I don’t care; I intend to be THE BEST, I’ll keep learning and soon I’ll be able to speak and read as well as you write Sooyong. Now, I feel pumped to go study. Great post and as usual, there are absolutely no grammatical errors!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: