It was supposed to be a writing weekend, but this living outside of space and time thing that comes with writing full time does have its drawbacks: I had completely forgotten tomorrow id the 2nd of June, the Day of the Republic in Italy. Not that we are so devastatingly patriotic here in this household, but we got the dreaded call from a relative, with the equally dreaded message “We’re coming to see you tomorrow! We’ll have lunch!”
The first reaction is, of course, Oh, no you aren’t!, but really, can we keep our family away?
The second reaction is, Oh, my goodness! We have to clean house and mow the lawn and pull down all those cobwebs and…!
The third reaction is, No, wait… have they just invited themselves over for lunch? What are they, hobbits?
So in the end writing took a backseat and we cleaned up and mowed and fought against the Empire of Spiders and I am now trying to work out a menu for lunch tomorrow that will not keep me cooking for the whole morning.
And while we were trying to put some order in this place we call home, I found my brother’s three volumes of Japanese for Busy People, the textbook he used in university for his Japanese course, that had been buried under a pile of unwashed laundry (don’t ask). And as I was at it, I put them aside for future reference.
As I think I mentioned a few days back, I’ve spent a lot of time, these last few months, listening to Japanese music and watching Japanese films, TV series and cartoons in my spare time.
The side effect of this leisure activity – what with subtitles and song lyrics translations and all that – has been that the memories of the Japanese lessons I had taken almost twenty years ago were stirred and revived.
And so now I sort of get one or two words out of five, which makes catching the gist of the discussions or the songs more or less viable, but also really frustrating.
The problem is, of course, that without practice, without using it, a language so distant from my own shrivels and dies – and while I keep going back to it, I’ve had difficulties keeping my Japanese fresh enough to actually use it.
But now, here I am, catching a handful of words out of ten.
So I’ve been thinking about giving a full brush up to the whole thing, taking advantage of this strange condition I’m in – put some order in my chaotic memories and finally get back in the saddle, so to speak. I’ll never be able to read kanji, but at least understanding the spoken language without the need for a cheat sheet would be within my reach.
But that’s in the future. Right now, I’ll have to check my cookbooks and plan a lunch for six for tomorrow.
It was supposed to be a quiet writing weekend. It won’t be.