Wednesday, May 22, 2013

6 week Challenge update : refusing to speak English

I am still playing catch up with the challenge and life tends to come in the way a bit at time. I can't possibly turn my life to 100 percent Japanese but at least they are some areas which can be worked with. 
One of them is limited interaction in English on social media, adopting the sorry-guys-but-I'll-talk-to-you-later-or-you-can-also-learn-Japanese attitude especially for other writers editing works, beta-reading novels, commenting on writing groups. It works more or less but I still like to preform some English reading especially with other bloggers from the Week-end Writing Warriors.

One other parts of my life I worked on this week were for official phone calls and hospital stuff. I "annoyed" people until I could actually understand what they were talking about.
For the phone call it was more or less some kind of "accident". I needed a new credit card as mine was expiring so I had my boyfriend calling, I mean that's important stuff, I lack confidence and well it needs to be well done. The problem here is that the people on the phone refused to talk to him, to let him translate what they would say to me and to let him translate what I would say to them. So far so good to make things easy for me. So I told them, 日本語で頑張ります technically I'll do my best in Japanese, the poor girl decided to finally give up and to send me someone who could speak English, but there was no one at that time so she asked me to call later and I refused. Fact is that was the second time calling and in between I had send them a form which hadn't been taken into account, I can't really survive without credit card, seeing that it pays for some of the bills. So she had no choice but to speak slowly and to let me give her the information in Japanese. Result: It worked. I have something to totally brag about and a new credit card. 
The same experience happened few hours later at the hospital. The nurses ended up discussing the best way to explain things to me as if I wasn't 50 centimeters away and actually refusing to let me come back with a friend to help (health stuff is that confidential) even if I was the one asking for it. I ended up explaining them what I understood from their conversation and it worked somehow. Results I know a lot of things about contraceptive pills that I ignored before but don't ask me to reexplain it in Japanese, the new vocabulary slipped out of my mind when I left the place. 

One other good thing is friends. I don't have anyone to talk to in Sendai but at least I have a lot of friends in Chofu and they organise events at the week-end. Ending up with me spending the day speaking Japanese. 私は英語分かない、フランス語も分かない(I don't understand English or French) That makes them laugh a bit but then I got the drift and talk to me in Japanese like there was nothing else to do anyway. Sorry guys I'll help you with your English after the challenge (when I'm fluent ;) ) Result: リンダの日本語上手くなった。 I say epic win.

I also restarted to read ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖 at the beginning (13 pages so far) and a friend stopped a bit to explain me some characters' readings. I can "get" the meaning but I can't get the sound of those kanjis yet. Everytime someone stopped near me to ask "You're reading in Japanese? Can you understand?" I was saying "hum, no." which is kind of true, I have a lot of trouble to define how much and which part I can understand but somehow I can follow the story. I had the same experience in other languages so I know I'm doing it the right way but if I can't explaining to myself I don't see how I can explain it to other. So they end up looking at me strangely like "that crazy girl is pretending to read a book but doesn't understand it and it's a really complicated one" and I just smile and say 日本語頑張ります。Why am I not reading 魔女の宅急便 or 星の王子さま which would be easier is another mystery.

I'm still 16 hours behind but that should become 11 by the end of the day at least, Japanese music is playing in my ears right now. 


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