Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2004 at 12:10am by Brett.
(Monday, April 19th, 2004 at 1:10pm Japanese Standard Time)
A couple nights ago as I was trying to fall asleep, my mind started to wander. I was idly thinking about which classes I am going to take this trimester. Since I ended up in a higher-level Japanese language class that I had planned, my options for non-language classes were severely affected...but yay, higher level language classes.
So I was thinking about the Japanese language courses here, my time spent in Japan...stuff like that. I decided that I don't think I learned as much of the language as I had hoped. Being fair, though, Japanese is a hard language. Look at most other languages taught in colleges--by your senior year, you will have achieved near-fluency in most of them...especially the romance and Germanic languages. By your senior year if you study Japanese, you will probably be able to survive in Japan, but you will need lots of help from a native speaker.
I was thinking how much better it would have been for me to probably have lived with a Japanese family in a home-stay sort of setting. That got me thinking about the time spent in Kyushu with my relatives and my tutor's family. Then it just kind of hit me: I'm in Japan.
Aside from my grandmother--who is Japanese, if you don't know--I am the only person that is able to communicate with the Japanese side of my family. For me, this encompasses second and third cousins, great aunts and uncles, and other extended family members. For my mom, though, these are cousins, aunts, and uncles. I am from a decently sized family, and it's odd to think that there are two people out of all of us that can speak with the Japanese side.
I think that night was the first time I fully appreciated that I am in the country of my ancestors...and many living relatives. Especially in America, true ethnicity can be elusive. Most of us are mutts, with ancient ties to some European countries. I am 1/4 Japanese...I can trace my roots to Japan directly by relatives that still have moderately close ties...relatives that still share the same blood.
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