Something to look forward to!

There was a blog prompt recently that asked the question, “What are you looking forward to?” At the time I had just found out something big that I was looking forward to: I had just learned that my friend in Japan is coming to visit next October!  We have known each other for almost four years now, but we’ve never met.  She’s never been to the United States before.

Her English is very good; she’s been studying for some time.  Her husband, who will be accompanying her, speaks little English currently.  I know a little Japanese, but I want to be able to speak a lot more Japanese before they arrive.  Our county library system has started offering a new program of language learning, called Mango Languages.  I’ve been doing the lessons daily, and so by being diligent I plan to be able to speak a lot more Japanese by October.

My friend and I talk for 2 hours every week on Skype; we always thought that we would meet face to face some day but I’m thrilled that it will be so soon!  We have said for some time now that when we’re 80 years old we plan to go to the Columbia River Gorge and go hang gliding, tandem style.  We’ve also talked about when I go to visit Japan, which may not be for a few years yet.  So it was wonderful to hear that she’ll be coming here in just a few months!

Nihongo o hanashimasu!  Jaa, oyasumi nasai!  (I speak Japanese! Well then, have a good night!)

4 thoughts on “Something to look forward to!

  1. That is so great! I can’t believe you talk for two hours each week. It’s great to keep in touch with friends–necessary, even.
    Are they coming on vacation or for business?

    Did we ever tell you that my daughter, Emma, is studying Japanese in college now? She’s always been interested in Japan–I think it started with her anime and manga fixations from a young age. She went on a trip to Japan while she was in high school and really liked it. For Christmas I got her a Nintendo educational “game” called My Japanese Tutor, and I think she’s even using it.

    Learning a new language is a good way to keep those brain cells awake!

  2. I didn’t know your daughter was studying Japanese, no; that’s great!

    When I started studying Japanese a few years ago I met my friend on a language exchange site. We corresponded at first and found we had much in common, and then we started talking on Skype once a week. We’ve only missed a week perhaps once or twice, and the two hours always goes by so quickly!

    My friend and her husband are coming to Portland to run in the Portland Marathon in October. They have run in some shorter races in Japan and are planning to do the half-marathon run here, which will still be longer than they are used to, but they are training for it. They will have about 5 days here, so we’ll have plenty of time to spend after the race.

    Over time I’d gotten lazy with my Japanese lessons because my friend’s English is so good. I know the hiragana characters and basic phrases and such, but I hadn’t progressed as much as I should have. So I have an added incentive to work harder at learning more Japanese now, and my friend tells me her husband is doing the same regarding learning English. We look forward to a really great visit in October!

  3. Hi Patricia, what a great blog post! I’m the marketing coordinator at Mango Languages and thought your story was very interesting.
    That’s awesome that you two talk every week on Skype. Do you speak English the whole time, or do you alternate between English and Japanese? That would be great practice.

    Japanese is one of the harder languages to learn, it’s impressive that you’re learning it to able to communicate with your friend and her husband in their native language.

    Very cool 🙂

  4. Thank you, Yana! My friend and I usually speak in English, though we do most of our greetings and weather discussion in Japanese. We also exchange emails once a week and I write in hiragana as much as I can. She’s been studying conversational English for ten years now, so although I had started learning Japanese a few years back, I became more dependent on her English and wasn’t trying as hard. I also found some of the programs and resources cumbersome and difficult to use, so that was discouraging.

    I was thrilled when I started learning Japanese in earnest using the Mango Languages system; it helps so much to hear the native speakers and use the voice comparison tool. My friend didn’t know at first I was hearing the native speakers and remarked, “Your accent is very good for an American! Most Americans don’t pronounce Japanese very well when first learning.” She said she wished the program for Japanese speakers learning English was available for her husband to use.

    I don’t find learning the basics of Japanese very difficult; it’s a logical language and follows the rules most of the time, and with a lack of multiple tenses and so much dependent upon context, the actual correct grammatical formation of sentences is pretty easy.

    The difficulty for me is in learning the three systems of characters. I have hiragana down pretty well, but am just now learning katakana and I know very few kanji characters. The pronunciation of some sounds (such as “ry” in ryokan) can be tongue-twisting, but with a little practice is manageable.

    By the way, my daughter is also using Mango Languages to expand on the French she learned in high school.

    For Mango Languages — duomo arigatou gozaimasu!

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