Get Used to It

The title of this month’s column is directly stolen from former FuJET CIR Daniel Morales. One of the major themes of his blog (along with how to find good beer) is not to think too deeply about Japanese but rather to just get used to it.

I often get asked “how do you say ………………in English/Japanese?” and often my answer is “you don’t”. One of the great challenges of learning a language is to force yourself not to say what you want to say, but rather what is appropriate in the situation. Listen to what people around you say. Read more

Body language

I had just spent a day in the bright sunshine of Guam, snorkeling in the Philippine Sea and hiking to a remote waterfall. I felt far away from Japan, especially as I sat down in a well-worn booth and ordered a medium rare steak with mashed potatoes.

“Would you like the soup of the day or a salad?” asked the friendly waitress, her pen posed to jot down my response. But instead of words, I involuntarily found myself tilting my head, sucking in air through my teeth, and looking off into the distance as I considered my options. Read more