I had my first Japanese lesson today, with Ego-San. Oh, speaking of names…the guy who I called ‘M’ is actually Yoda-San (I don’t know his first name, it might start with M). The other friend I go to work wit his Maurita-San. I don’t know if I’m spelling their names right, I’m just spelling them how they sound to me. Ego-San (Nihongo Sensei, Japanese Teacher) edited my Japanese introduction for my presentation on Friday. I was surprised – there were relatively few and minor changes, and she said it was very good. I’m better at writing in Japanese than I thought! The hardest part of learning a new language is recognizing it when other people say it. I can learn to write it and to say it, but when people speak, everyone speaks in different tones and speeds, so words sound very different from one person to another. That will take the most practice. I think my 3 minute Japanese intro will be shorter than 3 minutes, but I’m not about to try and change it now. I’m just going to work on perfect pronunciation of what I have, speak slowly, and enunciate.
There are a couple things that are everywhere, in Japan. And by everywhere, I mean within 100 metres of each other. These things are: drink vending machines, cigarette vending machines, and ‘Pachinko & Slot’ facilities. The legal age for cigarettes is 18 or 20 or something like that, but the vending machines are everywhere, with no restrictions. Apparently Japanese kids aren’t rebellious and don’t buy things they’re not supposed to… The number of Pachinko & Slot (gambling places) makes me wonder how anyone in Japan has any money. They’re everywhere! That’s it for Japan details today…I got caught up in studying again, and I should have been in bed 10 minutes ago. Speaking of studying – I’m learning! I can recognize most Hiragana & Katakana characters. Now I just have to learn the words…when I recognize the characters, I can put a word together, for instance: ‘mi-ru-ku’. But then I need to remember that miruku is ‘milk’ in Japanese. So it’s still difficult to read. Oh!! Also…I got my ‘inkan’ today! Inkan is a small stamp that is equal to a signature. Mine has three Kanji (Japanese Chinese characters) on it – for ‘Su-Te-Hane’…the translation of my name. The characters mean ‘Red-Heaven-Feather’. It’s so neat! It comes in a little case with it’s own small stamp pad. It will be one of my favorite souvenirs from Japan, I think. That’s it for now…good night! :)