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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mai Nichi


Mai Nichi

This post will be short and more of a note to myself of my own intention.  I've been reading a lot of blogs in the Nihongophile Blogosphere (!) to see how other Japanese learners get their work done - how they go from beginner to advanced, or even semi-fluent to fluent in this seemingly unattainable language.  Time and again bloggers write about starting out just like me, a little flirtation with the language, then a growing love until it becomes almost a complete obsession.  Daily learning is a must, and putting other things aside to attend to the language that calls you is also imperative.

I was at a meeting last month about the power of the Year of the Dragon.  We were all to write down the three things we most wanted to accomplish this year and then three adjectives.  I wrote "Japanese, Yoga, Writing."  and "Focus, Strength, Flexibility"  I was surprised that Japanese came first above writing and that writing was last, when clearly it should be first on my list.

In all of the intentions of accomplishment (Japanese, Yoga and Writing) the intentions of focus, strength and flexibility are apt.  For Japanese studies, focus IS key -- and i find myself wandering away from daily study, or studying in a very unfocused way.  Maybe listening to tapes but thinking about other things.  Strength, in this case might mean strength to be able to say no to things that will deter me from my studies -  I am easily distracted.  And flexibility is to be accommodating to myself, to go with the wind a little, to let go of  rigid expectations I might have of myself and accept the slow progress I have achieved.

For instance, I am now reading a very few kanji quite easily, something I haven't even really tried to learn, but through regular study the kanji characters have come up and I've memorized them. Six months ago I would not have thought they would form so quickly in my mind when reading them.  And that's the way of language, isn't it? Suddenly it's just there.  Can you remember learning to read?  I can't, not at all!

 I just know that I was reading in Kindergarten.  But at some point it must have been like this very thing I'm experiencing.  食べ is instantly recognizable to me now as the stem of the verb "to eat."  (doesn't that first little kanji look like a nice warming hut full of good food?)  I didn't try to learn it, but I have inspite of my reluctance to begin kanji studies.

So I've decided, like all of the other Nihongophiles I admire so much, to study every day, in earnest.  Mai nichi,  mai shu, mai toshi, (毎, 毎種、毎年) --every day, every week, every year -- I will study Japanese with focus, strength and flexiblity.

Ganbare! 頑張れ (I can do it!)