Suddenly I See!

katakana_map.jpg

Our pastor’s wife Eri is teaching me Japanese! The first thing she says I need to do is learn to read it, which is exactly the thing I thought I’d NEVER even attempt! Mind you, that there are three sets of characters you have to know in order to be literate in Japanese–Kanji, which is those intricate Chinese picture characters you probably think of when you think of Japanese or Chinese (also used for most tattoos); Hiragana, which is a phonetic/morphemic alphabet used for native Japanese words; and then there’s Katakana, which is the other phonetic alphabet for foreign words). For someone with very little Japanese vocabulary, Katakana is instantly gratifying to learn because there are so many foreign words sprinkled on signs and ads all over Japan, so when I read a sign in Katakana, it is the equivalent of an English word, and I know what the sign says!!! So against the norm, I am learning Katakana first.

I found this awesome book with mnemonic devices (I’m SUCH a nerd, I know!) to learn  kana, and I think I earnestly studied for about 3 hours all together the last couple weeks, and I’ve nearly mastered it. Two weeks! If I had known it was this easy, I would have started a lot sooner. It just looks so FOREIGN and intimidating. But it’s actually not that hard!! Really!!
And suddenly I see! The whole world looks different out there, and I can’t stop trying to read every sign I pass, causing me to drive a bit erratically, slowing down spontaneously just to give myself time to process a sign. My first word was “tenisu” (tennis) on the back of a bus and if I hadn’t been driving, I would have been jumping up and down, I was so excited. We’ve been here for 4 and a half years, so it’s a little embarrassing to me actually that I’m just now really starting. But better late than never, right?

One really funny thing I’ve learned is that Claire’s name translates into KU-RE-A. It’s three syllables in Japanese, and sounds a whole lot like Korea. And Keith’s name is Ki-i-su, which sounds a LOT like kiss in Japanese. Awesome!

It’s been a long time since so many neurons were firing around in my brain! Whew!!

About cashclan

Lisa is a grateful, born-again follower of Jesus Christ who has spent her adult life on the Gospel in several global contexts. She is the wife of one wonderful, jungle-gym of a man, who is to her the single most ravishing piece of flesh on planet earth (stolen good-heartedly from Christine Caine). She is a dedicated home educator to their four beautiful children, ages 6 to 12, whom she would be happy to gush over any time. She is an avid reader and a storyteller, an aspiring writer, a missionary to the nations and a singer of His praises, a loyal friend, an obsessive-compulsive Googler, and comedienne extraordinaire on her best days. She would also like to think that she is a loyal and loving, truth-telling friend.
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One Response to Suddenly I See!

  1. Christina says:

    🙂 I’m so proud of you! 🙂
    watch out though… not all of Katakana is English… and some of the ways they write stuff really throughs you for a loop!

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