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.