Yesterday morning I went to Cardiff for a friend’s birthday, and I’m just now back, over 24 hours later. It was one of those “epic weekends” that people seem to have in films and I never experience in real life…”epic” as in, I’m really really tired, everything hurts, and I can’t work out whether I need another cup of tea, cheese on toast, or 1000mg of paracetamol (so I’m typing instead? Sometimes I don’t make sense even to myself).
I had an amazing time in Wales. However, between the bowling, eating, indoor go-karting, driving around lost, and being asked by a queue-jumping Welsh woman what I, an American, was doing in Cardiff (“Because it’s s**t, really” – her words, not mine), I didn’t experience any Japanese.
This is kind of a big deal for me. I’ve been doing the as-much-immersion-as-realistically-possible-given-my-current-circumstances thing with Japanese since July now. (I’ve mentioned it before – see this article for some more background.) My usual day involves about 3 hours of J-pop on my iPod, along with a couple episodes of anime audio as I fall asleep and some news here and there. Oh, and kanji flashcards. Oh, and learning 25 kanji.
Basically, if I’m going about my daily life, it’s sort of harder not to experience Japanese because it’s always right there at my fingertips. Which is the best way to change behaviour, they say, and they’re right (whoever “they” are – actually I read a really good article about this once but can’t find it now. If I do someday I’ll add it).
So going a full day without Japanese started to feel really weird around 11 pm.
I made myself feel a bit better by remembering that in the car on the way there, we had listened to four songs in Japanese, although afterwards it was all the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack (instrumentals and songs in English/French). And my iPod and phone are both in Japanese, so when I looked at them maybe I was absorbing a bit.
But now that I’m back in England, I’m fully back into Japanese as well. I’ve got NHK news on now, and it feels great. I didn’t realise I was this addicted. Maybe that will make me learn it faster – who knows.
Anyway I think I will have that cheese on toast and then spend the rest of the afternoon watching Death Note.