Lingo-bot Life

Occasionally, I feel a bit lame and down about my seemingly lessened and lowered Japanese skills.  But then I have experiences like tonight, where, when speaking with a Japanese man, he was unable to come up with the right Japanese words immediately or at all – we all take longer to process, when we aren’t using a language all the time; even native speakers.  When it happened tonight, I told of the many times I, myself, was unable to come up with an English word while living abroad.  When immersed in one language, it id much more difficult to recall another, native or not, language.  So, I just need to immerse myself more often in each of my languages, and that will help significantly – it is all still there; it just needs a bit of encouragement and exercise.  😛

Not that this is news to me – it was merely a welcomed reminder.  🙂

Post-a-day 2019

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Girl Rising

Tonight, I finally watched a film recommended to me by a couple of high school senior girls, called “Girl Rising“.

Before it even was finished, I found myself rather wanting to find a way to get myself funded to go over somewhere where teachers are needed, and to teach children (girls especially) everything I possibly can.

And I am now somewhat worried that I might actually end up doing something radical… like just that… or even finding a way to find a girls boarding school here somewhere, to bring girls who otherwise can’t afford anything, let alone education, and that will be this school I have considered and discussed so much in recent years, the one I have though about founding…

That seems even more absurd than my just going somewhere… somehow…

P.S. I recommend the film.

Post-a-day 2019

True to your heart

You know that feeling of being in just the right place, doing just the right thing for yourself and your life?

Today, surrounded off and on by Japanese people who live and work in Texas (mostly as language teachers) and a few non-geeky-but-maybe-a-tad-dorky-about-Japan US Americans, I found myself in just that feeling…

And it was delicious, and perfectly timed. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Dream it, girl!

I am bursting at the seams with joy and delight tonight!

Remember just the other week, how I kept running into 渡辺 謙 (Ken Watanabe) things all over the place?

Remember how one of them was that quick-change from the Tony Awards, and how it made me really wish I could see that performance of his, in “The King and I”, even though it ended, like, over a year ago?

Believe it or not, due to a reason I know not, that production is, for two nights only, being shown in select movie theaters here in the USA.

Obviously, I (re)arranged everything, and I attended tonight’s showing of the performance.

It was spectacular, and almost even better than an actual live theater performance, because everyone and everything was so much bigger and easier to see, up there on the big screen. 😛

And, let’s be real here, I hadn’t seen the show since I was itty bitty, so I totally balled my eyes out at the end…

Also, the curtain call always makes a show feel complete – this one was no excuse – and I think that’s what’s missing from regular films, is a curtain call… a tiny nudge back to real life after the show, and a chance to show one’s extreme appreciation for the performance just given.

Plus, clapping and cheering and hollering, with a glint of tears in the eyes, is a totally fun way to end the event.

Anyway, thanks, whoever you are, who decided to show this performance for me tonight – miniature dream just came true! Woohoo!

Post-a-day 2018

Bilingual Ballet

I found myself thinking of (and, of course, missing) my ballet class in Japan.

I was the tallest by a lot, and it was mostly older ladies (not old, but definitely older), and everyone was super sweet and happy and even a bit giddy every class.

And the teacher and I had an unwanted but accustomed distance-by-language-barrier, because my technical Japanese was utterly iffy, and her English possibly below that… that is, we had this distance until the night that we delightfully discovered that we both spoke French rather fluently… then we got on quite comfortably, and even more familiarly than I did with any of the others, because we could say so much to each other now.

I had always asked on occasion for the teacher to repeat something she’d said or done (in Japanese, of course), and I continued that…, but now I could and would ask for clarity at times when I still wasn’t certain what the goal or instruction was (if you’ve ever done ballet, you can understand how important it is to understand what muscles are doing what in a movement), and that part would be in French.

All in all, Monday nights at ballet class were always great, and I miss them now, especially with it getting cold outside (that was when I’d first started going to the classes).

Post-a-day 2018

Japan all around

Japan is on my mind and in my life right now.  Recall that I watched the film “The Last Samurai” a few weeks ago.  I then watched it with the director’s, Edward Zwick’s, commentary the other day.  I had a cry-fest the first time, and was utterly touched and in love with samurai even more so than I already had been – I’d respected their skills and revered them as a whole function of class – and then I had a mind-whooshing wonderful exploration and discovery with the second, specifically leading me to appreciate even more the talents and passions of 渡辺 謙 Ken Watanabe*, the man who plays the lead samurai in the film and who plays ‘the Japanese English-speaking character’ in almost every Hollywood film these days – a man I’d already appreciated for his acting skills in “Inception” and other Hollywood films**.  And so, here I am, weeks after first watching the film, and I’m still thinking about the samurai, and I’ve added 渡辺 謙 (Ken Watanabe).

Therefore, when selecting what to wear for today that was unique and warm – the weather is suddenly chilly here, though it was genuinely hot and humid two days ago – I settled on one of my haori (use 羽織 to search online and get the right pictures on Google), the sort of winter jacket piece for kimono***.  The half turtle neck I usually wear with it was unfindable, and so I selected something else that was the same color, but textured really neatly (and then found the other shirt, but preferred the textured one, anyway).

That’s all my own conscious doing.

Today at work/school, the classroom we were using for the yearbook class for which I was subbing was an English classroom.  I happen to sit in a student desk, instead of the teacher’s, and what is directly in front of me?
This:

image1

I asked the students what book possibly was being read that had this on the board, and they concluded that it was a history book.  That is, students had merely used the board in the classroom during a free period, and had put up notes in preparation for a test or quiz in history class that was on that time period.  I was totally ready to read whatever novel it had been for English class, though… Oh, well…

And then, this evening, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop with my mom – her having the intention to read and I to work on my paper for school, but both of us kind of just chatting and catching up on things for the first almost-hour – explaining my outfit to her, one that she has declared to be genuinely great in terms of style and in terms of how it looked on me (and which multiple people had done throughout the day, including people who never comment on my outfits, which was really funny and cool all at the same time), and it turns out that the textured shirt I’d selected, though I hadn’t realized it when I’d selected it, was also from Japan.  I’d just remembered that I hadn’t worn it yet, but had been wanting to for a long time, and just hadn’t found the right situation and clothing combination, and had genuinely forgotten that it, too, was from Japan.  My mother, as we chuckled about the specific funky shop where I’d bought said shirt, then says that, ‘See, there are things you really liked about Japan.’

I agreed with her entirely, and mentioned how I know I want to go back and visit plenty; I’m just not so sure about ever even considering living and working there again.  However, I’ve just had a lot of Japan on my mind lately.  Learning about 渡辺 謙 (Ken Watanabe) and his language situation for the filming of “The Last Samurai”, made me consider whether I could be that kind of person in Japan, in Japanese film.  I have a natural tendency to pick up on accent quite well, and Japanese was no exception to this for me.  Could I go back and model and act successfully?  It’s definitely possible, but is it very likely?  Could I get the visa to give it a go, even?  Hmm… These are the thoughts that have been on my mind the past few days (though not for the first time).  I want to go back to Japan, but I also want to have something to do while there, even though I’ll only be visiting, technically.

And so, I suspect that I’ll just keep this all in mind, and, eventually, I’ll find a way back to Japan (and have a spectacular time while there).  Perhaps, either here or there, I’ll find a way to meet 渡辺 謙 (Ken Watanabe).  Maybe he’ll let me do an interview with him.  That would be stellar.  And possibly a really good idea.  Hmm…  Well, we’ll see.  For now, I’m just surrounded by Japan, intentionally, unintentionally, and even from outside sources… and I kind of like it…

🙂

*Yes, the Japanese version is with the last name first, read Watanabe Ken.  And I tend to say it that way now, though I didn’t do it intentionally and I didn’t used to do it.  I guess it is just automatic for me now, after having lived in Japan, to say a Japanese name ‘Japanese style’, so to speak.  In my head, every time, I say “Watanabe Ken-san”, but I already tend to leave out the -san with people who don’t understand it, and so the same happens with 渡辺 謙.

**When hearing what Edward Zwick had to say in the commentary of “The Last Samurai”, it had me question if that film had been 渡辺 謙’s (Ken Watanabe’s) first real role in a Hollywood film, thinking that it quite likely must have been.  I found it amazing, because I feel like I’ve known him as an actor for so long, that it must have been before 2003 that I first saw him.  After some consideration, though, I realized that, seeing as how 2003 was 15 years ago, it did actually make sense.  Sure enough, after dong a bit of checking, it seems that “The Last Samurai”, in 2003, indeed, was his first Hollywood film.

***Fun Fact: Kimono literally means “wearing thing” or “thing one wears”.

Post-a-day 2018

Africa

I’ve started singing lately in an unknown language that sounds African… it reminds me of Swahili at times, or Zulu or Sotho or Xhosa…, but also totally not those… no matter what, though, it always sounds African to me….

And it has me wonder if it is linked at all to that deep-seated longing I have to live with the lions in Africa (or something to that effect)… perhaps, as I was considering tonight, I was in Africa in a previous (or another) life, and perhaps that was when my mom was Indian, and we somehow met through that proximity, and agreed to have this life together…

Wouldn’t that be neat…?

P.S. If you aren’t aware, look up an audio pronunciation of the language name Xhosa… I first heard it spoken aloud in the audiobook of Nelson Mandela’s A Long Walk to Freedom, and I loved it almost instantly.

Post-a-day 2018