Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Back to the Future

Ah, the wonders of the brain. Today represents the time when I recovered about 50% of my previous Japanese learning in a day.

Things are happening quite fast. My assault on the three main East Asian languages continues on all fronts unabated. So much so, it is hard to detail everything. Last night I went to a Korean class, but it was just beginners so I observed for free. Strangely, I bumped into a former student there. Inspired, I went to the library to study more Korean. Then I went home and listened to a Chinese listening. At this point, my Japanese was a minimal as ever. But things were about to change. The first sign of things to come was arranging my first language exchange, which was Japanese for Thursday morning.

This morning, I was listening to the Chinese radio, my mind now breathing Chinese while being immersed in English. Then I visited a Korean lecturer and found another conversational opportunity. But while I was exploring the floors of the Auckland Uni Asian Languages building (a building I am very familiar with), I saw a small ad. It said there was a course starting tonight for level 2 of the Japanese Proficiency Test. Originally I was only planning to do level 3 (level 1 being the hardest), because I had passed it before (in 1997) and had failed level 2, in 1998. But, suddenly in the grip of language fever, I decided to give the level 2 course my best shot (I still have plenty of time to decide what I am going to do at the actual test). I e-mailed them, and was told I had to sit a test tonight.

Oh, suddenly my mind switched into recovery mode as I swatted old textbooks, reading it brought back many words. Then I went to the test, and the Japanese people there blurted things that I just couldn't catch. Then I listened again. Suddenly it was like changing the channel. I could catch things. I looked at some words. I couldn't understand them at all. Then I stared at it. And the pronunciation came out of the deepest darkest corners of my mind.

The actual result of the test wasn't great but it was enough to give me confidence. And then the testers chatted with me and suddenly I was speaking it. Although I sometimes accidentally switched to Chinese (zenme shuo... oops... dou iu...), overall I suddenly found the meanings I wished to say were forming naturally in my mind. Then I went into the usual conversation groups and suddenly things were easy. I caught the meanings and I produced my own sentences with much ease.

This all being said, the mountain of knowledge contained in a single language, and even the language required for level 2 Japanese is unbelieveably huge. It is scary to think about it. But I will be preparing myself for the first lesson next Wednesday. I will be exploring newly accessed grounds of my inner mind in language exchange tomorrow and will intensify my language acquisition on the Japanese front.

I have also secured a Korean exchange partner, which will be prepared for before next Monday. On the whole, I think I have naturally and rationally adjusted to my semi-unemployment. I am getting around three quality language courses courtesy of myself, mostly for free. Well the Japanese course will cost a lot, but it is over seven years since I received any instruction in Japanese, it would be nice to have a teacher to take up some of the burden.

So in effect I have changed into a part-time student, but with the flexibility that my time exactly coincides with the time I have free. Excellente! (I am still applying for jobs too, so don't think this is just some elaborate Danielesque procrastination technique, although starting Spanish probably was one such thing)



Crypticity said...

Hmmmmmmm, excessive language study has the potential to keep one awake at night.

For some reason my brain just kept on remembering new words throughout the night. Bookshelf, ceiling, arm, neck, and on it went. Maybe it is still like a dust storm in my brain, I have disturbed something that has been dormant for so long, it is hard not to have the resulting mental upheaval.

James said...


Anonymous said...

Ya might want to stay from martial arts, especially if languages keep your mind agitated all night. :) --K.