May 24, 2005


O! Joyful Day!!

Thus I commence with the first full day of christening my new toy, a purchase resulting from my quasi-book wormishness (or, upon looking in my newly-acquired 電子辞書, my 本虫さ). Yes, I shelled out the big bucks (a daily occurence in Japan, whether its a toilet roll or a Rolls Royce) yesterday for an electric dictionary, which I can't seem to use very well for reading uknown kanji. But hey, it's great for looking up Japanese words and getting detailed explanations of them in English! Just keep my ears peeled for new words that I hear and maybe I will start making progress after having frozen for a while in my study habits. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to impress my neighboring teacher, Mr. Hiramatsu, whose dictionary doesn't hold as many volumes as mine. With a whopping 90 dictionaries crammed into my pocket-sized reference powerhouse, nothing can stop me from assembling the most extensive, cryptic, and impractical Japanese lexicon this side of the Kinokawa! Nothing except the Facts: I can't read most of the Kanji that shows up on the screen, or if I can, I usually forget it in a few days. If there were only a Kanji pill to take which would allow our brains to absorb Kanji like a sponge fills with water. Maybe I do that every day, only to have the process of sleeping, or doing anything else besides studying, ring my brain dry. Yes, learning to read (we'll leave writing alone for now) Kanji is like trying to drink the Pacific Ocean with a teaspoon, but hell, even if I feel like I have gorged myself so far, I know that all these human beings who call themselves Japanese also do not know every single kanji in the world. It's like every time you learn one new character, you take a bite from a piece of chocolate cake that gets bigger and bigger, richer and richer. "Please, no more!" I please, but kanji is like the crack for many gaijin in Japan with spare time and an abnormal predilection for learning such bizarre things like words. So now, without further ado, I return to my extremely unfruitful 探究 (search, quest)、my 閲覧すること(browsing, reading, and researching for pleasure), which has probably left my Kyoto sensei quite skeptical about my utility as an Assistant Language Teacher. How about changing the acronym to make it more suitable to what we really do? That is, Always Leaving work early To go home.


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