Japanese 101

I love languages.  I’ve loved the idea of them almost as long as I can remember.  In fact one of the first jobs I dreamed about was being a translator at the UN.  In Grammar school I loved them because I got to learn fun songs in French.  In junior high and high school I loved them because I got to fill out endless worksheets in a cute Spanish workbook, and I understood exactly why and how I could use this skill in the future.  In university and in my spare time I loved them because I could finally understand bits of what my Russian coaches were saying about me.  Through the years I’ve had pen pals from Japan, Germany and Russia.  While we wrote mainly in English, I adored that they spoke another language and always tried to use it as much as I could.  To me it always seemed so special to be able to communicate in another language, sometimes to be secretive and sometimes to reach out to someone.  Lately my work has taken me all over the world and even just knowing hints of another language has helped me not only get around, but feel less like a tourist.


Japanese has never been very high on my list of languages to learn, it just always seemed much too complicated to even begin.  I remember writing to one of my penpals from Japan when I was younger, we always wrote in English, but I got a phrase book and copied some fairly simple Japanese Kanji as part of the letter.  She sent it back fully corrected in red ink.   I continued in English after that.  A mere 12 years later, I think I have the gained confidence to try again 🙂


But why Japanese?  I’m headed to Tokyo for the month of October to perform in various festivals.  I don’t have too many details, but I trust the people in charge and I’m super excited!  One caveat, our show involved a lot of English.  The plan is to simplify the show language wise, and learn the essentials in Japanese.  An amazing side benefit being, if we can create a simplified version of our show and translate it into Japanese, we can do the same with other languages and be able to perform in more non-English speaking countries!!  I’m also probably going to skip trying to learn Japanese writing for now, and focus on speaking.


So I guess my goals for the month are two fold:

* Learn as much basic Japanese as I can for day to day conversations/ getting around

* Write and memorize a basic version of our show in Japanese ( I think we may need some assistance for this part!)

Ready, Set,  Itte kudasai!  (GO!)



Mmmmm Green Tea, do you think it will help me learn Japanese?


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