Thursday, January 24, 2008

Catching up, rambling and a cute baby pic

Ok...I had to show this photo....I took it today. Isn't she cute!!!! She is my little student's baby sister and she has the biggest cutest cheeks I have ever seen!
I can't believe how busy I have been!! I'm not fact I'm over the moon with joy. When I started my shop on Etsy, never did I think it would take off like this!! I have learned that I can't do this on my own. So, I hired an assistant. She started in late December and my original plans for her have changed....I am going to have her come and work with me a lot more.

I am also training a teacher to take over my Friday classes so I can work on my business!! I'm so happy about this!! I can totally see that I will soon need to have Thursdays off too. But between my assistant coming more and having Fridays off I should be able to get a lot more done including blogging!! I LOVE ETSY!!!

I have so many blog stories planned so keep checking in.

Also, one of my rubber stamp sets has been featured in "wickedly chic" under "daily ditties"-check them out!

Also, I will be interviewed for another blog....I will post the link once it is finished.
It is almost 3 am here so oyasumi (goodnight)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Losing My English

Today is actually January 13th but I started to write this last Sunday but then got busy and couldn't get back to it until now (that is why the date says January 6th). So....this is what I was thinking last week.

I'm sitting here enjoying my last bit of freedom before I start work tomorrow. Not that I can really complain-I have a great boss, great hours, great money etc. I am embarrassed to say it but I am an English teacher. I'm embarrassed only because....I've forgotten so much. Perhaps this sounds strange to did to me the first time a friend told me that her brother basically couldn't speak English anymore after living in Quebec for more than 20 years. I really thought that it was impossible to lose your native language. I was wrong.

When I first came to Japan, I stayed with the teacher I was replacing. She was showing me how to use the washing machine....she said "now we will make the water go away"....I looked at her like she was insane.....I said "You mean we will drain the water." I was shocked. I'm not shocked anymore.

I've been here for more than 9 years and my English has gone to hell. It is amazing what you can forget. But for about 6 years I only watched Japanese TV (you'd think my Japanese would be great by now....sadly that isn't true). I remember watching a TV show where they have this famous foreigner speaking both languages and when he spoke English I actually cried cause I used to be able to speak like that. I used to be a teaching assistant at university-now I couldn't tell you if something is dangling or spelled wrong etc.Thankfully my boss teaches grammar (he teaches it in Japanese) or I'd explode from stress.

You have to understand that for 6 years not only did I only watch Japanese TV but I spoke classroom English everyday, spoke to native English speakers (my friends) only on the weekends and I dated non native English speakers (not Japanese). I was surrounded by either no English or strange English. And now, like many foreigners here, I mix both languages ALL the time so much so that my family even understands some now! (Thankfully now I have satellite TV so I can watch English TV-I swear it has helped!)

This isn't a big problem here but it is a HUGE problem when I go back to Canada. I can't tell you how many times I have gone to a store and forgotten a word in is one story: I go to a store to buy a fitted sheet for my mattress back in Japan. I walk into the store and start by saying "sumimasen" (excuse me in Japanese). After I realize I'm speaking Japanese I switch to English..."I'm looking for a ....." I pause because I had FORGOTTEN the words "fitted sheet". I didn't know how to say it in either language. The lady is looking strangely at me so I start to describe it ...."it goes on the mattress and has elastic...." She says "you mean a fitted sheet?" I smile in relief and said "yes, yes, yes." At this point I explain that I live in Japan and have sadly forgotten so much English. That starts a conversation about living in Japan and I forget that I just looked stupid.

One interesting thing about language is dating someone who speaks great but not perfect English-I don't think I would ever want to be with a perfect English speaker again.....he has said somethings that have had me laughing so hard I couldn't breathe (thankfully he laughs too). Here are some cute examples...

My honey: "what is that bug with a light on its ass?"
me: (thinking hard)...."you mean a firefly?"

My honey...(looking at a bruise on my arm) "did I put the blue on you?"

Not sure if you thought they were cute or funny...maybe you had to be there but I LOVE his English and his accent!

Going to Canada sure will be interesting this summer....the 2 of us speaking Japanese or a mix of both and I can totally see me having to sometimes translate his English into real English....that is if I can!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Living Among Munchkins

As a foreigner, I stand out. I expect to be watched, stared at, followed (by kids), touched (by old ladies), run away from (by kids) etc. Most Japanese, of course, don't understand what life is like as a foreigner in Japan. One exception is my fiance. He totally gets it. He is constantly asked "Anatwa nihonjin desuka?" meaning "Are you Japanese?". He is constantly watched, stared at and run away from (by kids) all because......he is tall. He looks Japanese . He speaks Japanese. He is Japanese. But he is also 197 cm or 6 ft 5 inches tall. This is pretty rare in Japan.

He constantly has to be careful about hitting his head-but it happens all the time. He has to bend to get on and off the train. Leg room is an issue and shopping for clothes.....a nightmare. He wears a size 13 shoe which isn't huge in Canada as you can buy that size at any store....but here...might as well be a size 22.

Though he hates shopping here, he really needed a shirt for work so we went into a shop. The clerk looked (up) at him and said the familiar word "oki" meaning "big". We asked that he be measured for a shirt and the guy looked around and found the ladder. I'm betting that the ladder has never been used to measure someone. It was such an amazing thing to see which is why I took this picture. It says everything, doesn't it?


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