Japanese Class, Day One

I attended my first Keizai and Business Japanese class at the Japan Society the other day, as mentioned in my previous post. For the first time in a long time, I felt in over my head with Japanese. And it wasn’t that I couldn’t understand what was going on. I could. I just couldn’t read the article we were going over. Granted there was a lot of new vocabulary, which is of course helpful to know, but I do not have the readings skills needed to be at that level. I went and spoke with the teacher after class and she said that I should stay in the class, hang in there and have it be a challenge because I will learn more. She’s right, but to do so will require time – time I am not sure that I have. On top of the class being difficult, she expects us to come prepared each week based on the weekly homework assignment and be ready for a quiz. It’s like I am in college again.

The problem, however, is that once the class is over in ten weeks, I will not have a chance to use the Japanese I just studied. It could be easily forgotten. I do not currently use Japanese at work or at home and I do not live there or travel to Japan freqeuntly. For now, it’s nothing more than a hobby for me with perhaps the hope that it could one day become more. When people learn I speak Japanese, which, I don’t think, is disclosed in a boasting way, but in a matter-of-fact, Japanese-is-a-big-part-of-my-life kind of way, they often believe that there would be numerous job opportunities available to me and that I might have an edge to people with similar backgrounds. That is hardly the case. When I have tried to play the Japanese card as a way to help get my foot in the door at certain law firms or banks, it has done nothing for me. And, as was evidenced by my first Japanese class this week, if I ever was given an opportunity partly because of my Japanese, I do not have the skills that many people in this city have. Speaking Japanese in New York is like speaking Japanese in Hawaii – it’s nothing special. But I will keep trying to find work more focused on Japan because I believe that it is something I would still like to do with my life. In the meantime, maybe I can find a way to use all of my new vocuabulary from my Japanese class.

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One Response

  1. Hi Jerry, glad I found you. I’m the guy you walked to the station with after the Keizai/Business class that night.

    If you get the chance, I’d like to know how to get in touch with the Nichibei Exchange.

    I decided to take the other Japanese class on Thursday nights. The teacher is not as challenging (believe it or not, I was actually looking forward to those quizzes in the Keizai class), but the other students are much more talky.

    Hope I hear from you.

    Jonathan

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