SCHIZO-ALIAS

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

Category Archives: life

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.

Talks with Students

Yesterday I ate lunch with the 3rd graders at my smaller school. When I came in, the students were particularly excited to see me, and a representative from each group joined in a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors to determine which group I would sit with. Once that was decided, it turned out that I actually ended up sitting with another group because a kid from there was absent that day, thus leaving a desk open.

Somewhere along the way, one of the boys whom I think was part of the winning group got left out when they turned their desks to make a cluster. To make matters worse, it also happened to be his birthday, and the girl in charge of leading the pre-meal blessing (“Itadakimasu!”) forgot to tell everyone to do a cheers with their milk cartons and wish him a happy birthday, which we ended up doing only after the teacher reminded her.

So this boy was pretty upset. He faced the back of the classroom, away from his lunch, and wouldn’t talk or respond to anyone. Everyone started eating, having given up on him, so about a 1/3 of the way through my lunch, I got up and walked over to him, and started asking what was wrong, how old he turned today, and telling him that his food would get cold if he didn’t eat it. Then his teacher asked something to the class (I couldn’t hear what she said) and some of the kids started raising their hands, which at least made him turn around. I told him one last time to eat, and then went back to my seat.

But instead of sitting back down, I stood up in front of everyone and said, “Hey, let’s sing ‘Happy Birthday’. You know that song, right? One, two, three!” and then we all started singing “Happy Birthday” to him, which made him smile as he finally started eating.

As I sat down, the teacher thanked me and the boy I was sitting next to patted me on the shoulder and said (in Japanese), “That was really nice.”

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of what I did. Normally I don’t do too much when a kid is mad or crying, because I don’t want to baby them. But seeing that it was his birthday, there was no way I could’ve left him alone. It made me realize that ALTs shouldn’t be afraid to step in when they see something going on. I’ll think about that if a similar situation ever happens again.

Photoshoot and Updates on Life

  • My friend Belle and I did a photoshoot last week. The photos came out great, and thanks to her I have a couple of photographers who have contacted me to get some work done.
  • I recorded another video as a re-submission for avex Star Search 2009.
  • I’m using what I’ve learned in my Computer Science class (and what I already know) to design a website for myself as an online résumé for the entertainment industry.
  • I’ve been doing Wii Fit Plus regularly, weighing in at an average of 113 pounds and doing 30-minute workouts everyday (except maybe one or two days when I’m extremely busy).

After finishing my midterms this week I’m feeling really refreshed and ready to start the second half of the semester. Things are really looking positive and God has really blessed me all this time, so I’m looking forward to what may be coming up in the future.