I realized recently that most blogs are more about writing and less about photos…most of my blog posts are just photos with a little bit of writing. Oh, well. I guess I will try my hand at writing more. From this point on, I am not sure I will be taking as many photos as I have thus far because I feel like I’ve taken photos of most of the interesting things in Nagoya.
It has been a very quiet week here in Nagoya for which I am most grateful. It has been good to be in the middle of five books, have plenty of time for endless Japanese study, to listen to music, write in my journal, and enjoy a good sunset! I am genuinely excited about the fall, mainly because I feel like the hardest part of being in Japan is behind me (the period of just getting used to my new life). I love my little Nagoya world of Christ Bible Seminary, All Nations Fellowship, our Maison Yamada apartment complex community (many foreigners live in our apartment), etc. I am settling on my fall schedule and I am most excited about the extra few hours of formal Japanese lessons as well as three new English classes, two for adults, one for 5-6 year old kids.
I am trying to carve out at least one hour a day for Japanese study. I cannot even begin to say how much I love studying Japanese KANJI, meaning the Chinese characters. I study five characters per day and have a little practice notebooks that kids use to write their letters. There are three alphabets in Japanese – hiragana, katakata, and kanji. Hiragana and katakana have 46 characters which I learned before I even came to Japan in 2001. Kanji is derived from Chinese and one needs to know over 2,000 characters to read the newspapers. These days I am constantly trying to read the signs all around me and write down unknown characters on scraps of paper and ask a Japanese person how to read the KANJI for practice. I think I know about 400-500 kanji which goes to show I have a long way to go.
I am also trying to get used to the constant switches between Japanese and English. It’s something I still need to work on. I often wish I were completely immersed in Japanese because going back and forth can give me a headache sometimes. The most stressful situations are when I am with a Japanese person who does not speak English and another person who does not speak Japanese so when I turn to the right, English, when I turn to the left, Japanese…back and forth, back and forth. It’s not that those situations happen a lot, but it makes me wish I were more fluent in Japanese so it wasn’t such a big deal. I can’t really evaluate my Japanese, but I will say I am at a point where I can live without speaking English at all. I think the next year of study will be the most important period of my language learning since it is getting easier and easier to remember words and I am not afraid to make mistakes when I speak; in another words I am not shy in speaking Japanese like I used to be.
Well here are a few photos- my cooking teacher invited me to an ikebana exhibtion. Ikebana is the art of Japanese flower arranging. I was really touched by the exhibition, especially at seeing all the ladies in kimonos walking slowly around, drinking in the beauty of the flowers. Japanese people appreciate nature so deeply – they love to take photos and stand around admiring nature such as flowers. I love purple and pink so I took the most photos of flowers of those colors. 🙂
Pink pineapples in the arrangement
This one was my favorite!
It was lovely to see all the ladies in kimonos oohing and aahing at the flower arrangements. Maybe one day I will try my hand at ikebana if I have the chance.