Journal Entry: August 8, 2013

The view leaving my apartment complex.

The view leaving my apartment complex, one year ago. Not much has changed, honestly.

2013年8月8日の日記

The hikikomori leaves his house to a bright new world.

Background Info

Is completely unnecessary seeing as it picks up right where the last entry left off!

JAPAN JOURNAL

6:00 am – I got up at 5:30 this morning, which I felt was too early at first before realizing that I’d gone to bed around 9:00. Not only had I gotten enough sleep, but I think this is actually a reasonable time to wake up in the future.

Flipped on the news this morning, and was pleasantly surprised with what was offered on the 5 channels. Nothing outside of your typical channels (news, weather, a program to learn Arabic, etc.), but it was nice to get some exposure [to Japanese].

It’s said that most of spoken Japanese is “和語”, which are essentially the words Japan has had since ancient days. Unfortunately, a considerable amount of my studies have been with kanji and kanji compounds, specifically. When I see a word without kanji, for instance, I tend to not look it up. Honestly though, I should have been doing that this whole time. It’s fine though; I do have something to stand on.

Okay, time to take a shower. I should probably do as the Japanese do and have a bath as well. But if I were really Japanese, I’d do all this last night. Oh well. Live and learn. And what should I do for breakfast? Rice and natto? Life’s interesting, isn’t it?

11:05 am – うぁー, what a sweat! I’m back at my apartment after exploring a bit more of Shichikashuku. I now know where many important buildings are. For instance, I found a sign advertising ramen. Not sure if they’re open though.

While walking, I bumped into an old couple. Not sure of their names…perhaps, Saitama? Sai-something anyways. Bumped into them again at the end of my journey. They invited me over sometime. I asked “when”, which was probably a strange move. Definitely not Japanese. 笑 In retrospect, I should have said something like 「いつか」. Anywho, they seemed very good.

Also, someone waved at me from a car. I wonder who it was? Tomoaki-san, was my guess, but I honestly have no clue. Just a guess.

Shichikashuku was a lot bigger than I imagined. I mean, I’m sure what surrounds me is where 90% of the people live. But that being said, it’s far less of an 田舎 than I give it credit. Things are within a short walking distance—that’s great!

Well, 4 hours until I get picked up. What should I do? Play more of Dragon Fantasy II, a game on my computer? Or perhaps watch some TV or study? Maybe start writing?

Whatever the case, I am loving it here so far. It’s not easy, mind you, but it’s beautiful and it has a lot of character. So much to explore too. Can’t wait!

Thoughts

和語 are words like 白い compared with 漢語, words like 白色 and 外来語, words like ホワイト. Japanese uses a lot of onomatopoeia, like your ぐるぐるs and your ぷにぷにs. I’ve always liked Kanji and the ability to read words that were previously unreadable. I’ve always (well, not always, which is a strange thought) been able to read words without Kanji, so I’ve focused on the unreadable parts. It was only coming to Japan that I realized how literary my language had become, missing out on all those words that I could read but not know their meaning. Still, it’s hard to complain about since so many people struggle with Kanji, something I’ve had relative competence in.

Anywho…

That family I met while walking, 齋藤 (not Saitama), became recurring characters in my life here, letting me taste their stash of 花梨酒 and giving me a chance with their daughter. The former worked out great, but the latter… not so much. Bumping into them is still somewhat awkward, but hey, they’re still friends.

As for asking いつ? instead of いつか, I now realize that the appropriate response would have been to say 今度. Some vague “soon” is better than both “when?” and “sometime”. The things you learn.

And finally, Dragon Fantasy II is super nostalgic. When I came, I played that almost daily. It was all in Japanese and really helped with learning some fun words. Haven’t played it since last winter though. Oh well, I’ve been playing a lot of games since.

Come back tomorrow for some sweet children’s songs and the debut of my very own hanko!

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