A loss is not a waste of time

Next month, I will be taking the N2 level of the Japanese Language Placement Test (JLPT). My renewed interest in Japanese prompted me to sign up a couple months ago. I certainly understand more now than I did during my disastrous attempt 2.5 years ago, during which I was woefully unprepared. Still, I don’t feelContinue reading “A loss is not a waste of time”

There’s always something new to see

I’ve lived in the same suburban town here in Japan for over 3 years. So, I don’t believe it’s an exaggeration to say that I’ve been in and out of its main train station hundreds of times. Yesterday, I went for an evening walk and short stop in the supermarket. When I was heading backContinue reading “There’s always something new to see”

My interest is enough (Part 1)

My history with Japanese spans almost 2 decades, yet I still would not say that I am fluent. I took Japanese classes in high school, college, and graduate school. I majored in Japanese Studies. I did a summer homestay in Shizuoka. I took part in Japanese cultural events in my hometown. I’ve lived and workedContinue reading “My interest is enough (Part 1)”

It’s worth pursuing

We know that flowers in flower shops do not last long, but we buy them anyway. We whisper to them, hoping our messages reach our intended: “I’m sorry”; “You mean so much to me”; “I’m here for you”; “I’d like to treat myself for a change”. We enjoy their vibrant beauty as the light upContinue reading “It’s worth pursuing”

Consider your own impact

“You seem to have it all together.” I’ve been told some version of this by several coworkers. Yet instead of that, my mind is often occupied with comparisons to the other teachers around me and how I *feel* I fall short to them. What I assume are their perceptions of me are actually self-criticisms inContinue reading “Consider your own impact”

Just go for it

This year, Haruki Murakami fans experienced continued disappointment at him being denied the Nobel Prize for Literature yet again. I was reading the comments below The Japan Times’ reporting of this, and found mixed responses concerning whether he was deserving of this award: enthusiastic yeses and emphatic nos, assertions of his brilliance and scoffs thatContinue reading “Just go for it”

How much do you want it?

I had an opportunity to apply for a one-week program in Japan organized by my high school, but I allowed fear to get in the way of me going for it. Five years later, as a college junior, I came across a summer study abroad opportunity in Japan. I was aware of other opportunities, butContinue reading “How much do you want it?”