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Taking the Plunge

I was probably in my teens before I realized that didn’t like the fact that I don’t know Japanese. Until then, it’d just been another language that other people knew and I didn’t. My dad knew ancient Greek and ancient Hebrew (and a whole host of other long-dead languages), and I didn’t, and that wasn’t a problem. My ballet teacher and his pianist spoke Russian, and I didn’t, and that wasn’t a problem (though I did learn a few words, and the alphabet). I was learning Latin and French, but I didn’t know them as well as my dad and my mom, and that wasn’t a problem. My parents both spoke Japanese, and I didn’t, and all of a sudden, this was a source of frustration.

I realized that it wasn’t okay with me that I needed parents to mediate if I wanted to talk to one whole branch of my family. At the same time, though, it seemed like such a monumental task to learn that particular language. I knew I’d drive myself nuts by not getting the accent right. (I can’t understand many words, but because I grew up around the language, a bad accent is like nails on a chalkboard.) I was also intimidated by the challenge of learning two syllabaries and a character set. And I think there was an element of not wanting to struggle to learn something that my parents just knew. I’m also just not really great at learning languages, though I do love them.

Well… yesterday I took the plunge and ordered a course in Japanese from Rosetta Stone, and today I bought a Japanese-English/English-Japanese dictionary. I think it’s finally time to admit that I’ll never learn this language by wishing it. It’ll take work. And it’ll be worth it.

I’m so excited. Why am I also nervous?

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3 Comments

  1. David David

    That’s awesome, Iris. Way to go!

  2. Megan Megan

    Document your experiences with the Rosetta Stone software for us! Pretty please… I’m interested in hearing about it.

  3. Jenica Jenica

    Ooh, do tell about Rosetta Stone. I’m curious, too.

    And good for you for chasing a dream! May it only lead you to lovely places.

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