Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Tired of Tanaka-san: adventures in Japanese learning

My story with Japanese is long and involved. I first got me a copy of Teach Yourself Japanese when I was in high school. I was fascinated by the East, I had a knack for languages, the book was cheap… oh, come on, do I really have to make excuses?
The Teach Yourself book was good but as a high-schooler I had too much to do already. I had much more success with the Teach Yourself French book. We’ll get back to that.

My brother did take Japanese and Chinese in University, and then worked with Japanese artists as a music promoter. Back when he was doing it, his Japanese was good. Today he says he’s out of exercise, but that’s just his perfectionism speaking. He’s good.
Some of it brushed off on me. At the turn of the century I could manage a basic survival exchange, and if my counterpart was not talking too fast, I could understand what they were saying. I could read about sixty kanji. Basically like a Japanese pre-schooler.
I took a formal course, paid with the income from my very first job.

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(Not) A writing weekend

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?

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