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10 May 2006 @ 10:57 pm
So, I'm sorta getting back on the wagon as far as studying Japanese goes. I'd pretty much stopped studying for about six or eight months, but now I'm back to working on a lesson or two of the Pimsleur CDs every day -- now in convenient MP3 format, since I ripped the set(s) long ago -- amounting to half-an-hour a day, an hour at most.

Anyway, I feel like some of the stuff I did know is coming back, and soon I should be back to learning new stuff. Small progress. It's not a lot of time, really, but it's certainly better than nothing, and it's certainly not effortless. It does mean I'm getting more out of 会話 again, since once a week is pretty useless by itself, and I really had been backsliding as far as my meagre skill goes. I suppose I wouldn't mind a tutor or something to really start pushing on it, but I don't know when I'd find the time (or a person who has time to help me).

There were some new people there today (not to mention some people that hadn't been there in a while), and that was nice. I ended up in a discussion group with some of them (a couple, American guy, Japanese girl. Not sure if they were boyfriend-girlfriend or married, I wasn't really checking for rings or anything). It was good, actually, because being strangers, the very first thing they asked was what level I was at (for spoken? Very low) and they went nice and slow for me, so I could sort of muddle through it well enough to get something out of it. And since they knew each other, it was both of them talking to me, instead of me sitting back and listening to other people talking, which is what usually happens in group discussion (and unsurprisingly, I don't get a whole lot out of that, since it's very seldom I can actually follow anything significant). At one point, though, she asked me (more or less out of the blue as far as I can tell) whether I was looking for a Japanese wife.

Which, uh... Well, how do you answer that? Am I looking for a wife? I suppose so, I guess, in the sense I wouldn't mind having one. I think. (As if such things were ever simple. I guess I'm not getting any younger, at any rate. But that's all kind of putting the cart before the horse, isn't it?) And then, obviously not, since I'm putting zero effort into any kind of search these days for much of anything, be it wife, girlfriend, or what-have-you. And either way, well, what country someone is from isn't something I'm particularly, er, particular about.

But one thing I can say with certainty is that I didn't pick up Japanese to pick up chicks. I'm learning Japanese because I love languages, and have since I was a kid. That's why I was approximately two classes away from majoring in linguistics in college. That's why I picked up German. The real reason I chose Japanese is because I thought kanji was both a challenge and very, very cool. Which is why I've been working on written Japanese a full year longer than I've been working on spoken. And why I want to learn some form of Chinese next. And that's why I want to go back to school in computational linguistics sometime in the next few years.

And that's really all.

Still, I'd like to visit Japan someday. Maybe even live there for a year or two -- not quite so sure about that, though, and I think that's about the most I'd want to do, and my motivation for that has everything to do with trying to get fluent.

And I suppose getting attached along the way wouldn't completely suck. But, you know, that's still a different question entirely.
In the mood: tiredtired
Now playing: Duran Duran - A View To A Kill
Laurel Amberdineamberdine on May 11th, 2006 05:53 am (UTC)
What an odd question. I wonder if they'd run into guys who had that reason for learning the language?
Douglas Triggs: domo-kun!doubt72 on May 11th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
Actually, thinking back, I wish I'd asked them why they were asking.

But basically, I answered (in far too many words), "not so much."
asakiyumeasakiyume on May 11th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
A lot of the American guys in Japan do seem interested in Japanese wives, so Japanese women have the idea that American guys who are interested in Japanese are cruising for a Japanese wife--for whatever reason.

My husband (who's British) teaches Japanese literature, and everyone is always amazed that he doesn't have a Japanese wife. Japanese wives function as 生き字引 (いきじびき=breathing dictionaries) for their academic husbands. I shot my husband's academic career in the foot when I married him! And pity the poor non-Asian female scholar of Japanese literature or history--she needs a Japanese wife too, but that's just not possible (well, except here in Massachusetts). A Japanese husband won't be so good, because (stereotypically speaking) he'll be busy expecting her to keep the house clean , not providing her with a free translation service.

Still, it was pretty rude of that woman to up and ask you that, unless she was saying it as a joke.
asakiyumeasakiyume on May 11th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
I mean living dictionaries, not breathing dictionaries. My head's not on right today.
Douglas Triggs: domo-kun!doubt72 on May 11th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
Well, I wasn't insulted or anything, just surprised. And well, given the vicissitudes of dealing with cultural barriers, I'm leery of applying the term "rude" without much stronger cause. Which is part of why I wish I'd asked why they were asking.

(And after all, forget people learning Japanese, think about the average overenthusiastic American male anime geek -- otaku, even -- there's a stereotype with some meat on its bones. Mind you there's a fair bit of overlap between the groups, but still.)
(Anonymous) on May 31st, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
Heh, I should read your blog more often. When you are ready to start writing in Chinese, I'd be happy to exchange letters with you. My calligraphy is sadly lacking style - I need to practice

There are sadly a lot of Caucasian men who have a fetish for Chinese/Japanese/etc. women. Being married to a Chinese woman I actually get variations on the question a lot. The problem with denials is that most people don't believe you. Generally, I have to list* the many reasons I did before they start. Is this a misperception on my part?
Once I started asking people, I found that,no, thats what they thought. Seems just about all white guys (and many gals) know a white guy who has a fetish... therefore they assume that all the guys who learn the language / marry outside the race...

I also learned Chinese before meeting my wife. I learned because I was really into martial arts flicks back then. Some of the best weren't translated (I was renting from a chinese video store). In fact, I've stopped telling most people that, because so many assume incorrectly that that is my lame cover story to cover up my real reasons. Heck, when I say it, it feels lame. Heh. Then again, I'm learning Old East Norse so I can read the sagas in the original language.

Initially I found it pretty funny. To me the idea was preposterous. After all, wouldn't I have gone after a Japanese girl? My best friend growing up was half-japanese. Of course, telling people that just makes the situation worse usually. Oh, so that's the reason...

Ask yourself how you perceive me? Do you really believe what I wrote? Or is there some little wriggling thought in your head that I'm one of those guys...

Oddly enough, since several of my wifes friends are Japanese (and almost all married white men) that topic's come up... and they didn't think there was anything wrong with it. So, Doug, the girl probably wouldn't have found you 'perverted' even had you answered in the affirmative. Heck, she might have even known some girls who would be interested in dating you... As to the guy.. well no telling which kind he was.

As for Japanese men being stereotyped quite possibly fairly by one of the other posters- I happen to know that my childhood best friend's father was decidedly not of that group. Of course, that may be why he disliked Japan enough to leave, get married, and settle on Long Island, NY. But that's not really just true of Japanese men. It's true of just about any man not from N. America/Australia/Europe and even from those areas if he's over 55.

So, Doug... what's on your wife requirements list?

Inquiring matchmakers want to know. (j/k.. sorta)


*The list of why I went out with my wife/ married her:
1. Her Smile (what great teeth! and no orthodonist either! ;p )
2. She was the schoolyard bully at her elementary school -- and she was proud of it
3. She's cheaper than me - and she was proud of it
4. She was at least as smart as me (I'm beginning to believe smarter) and she was proud of that too.
Douglas Triggsdoubt72 on June 1st, 2006 05:14 am (UTC)
Requirements list?

I dunno. I know what I like when I see it. Although "see" is perhaps misleading, since a lot of it isn't about looks and such.

So, no luck there, bucko, for playing matchmaker. :-P

BTW, you going to get a LJ account? If nothing else, it'd be useful for replying to posts.
thjazithjazi on June 2nd, 2006 05:52 am (UTC)
As you have asked, so shall it be.
This time anyhow.

Well, it wasn't going to be me. It was going to be my wife. She happens to know a few single Japanese women who would be interested in you.

Just kidding. I have no idea if they would be or not.

Having a list is a good idea for some people. Impulsive folks mostly. If you're not impulsive ... a list is useful only insofar as you can use it to preclude most of the women female relatives and friends try to foist off on you.
Douglas Triggs: cateyesdoubt72 on June 2nd, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC)
Re: As you have asked, so shall it be.
Hmmm, things to add to the criteria list... Must be willing to move to Colorado. And like hiking. A lot. :)

Also, not allergic to cats.

More items as I think of them. Especially if self-protection becomes more of a concern. Marriage-minded Japanese women can be scary. :)

(BTW, you've been friended.)