November 18, 2005

The Education of a Recovering Spendthrift

The other day I realized how much money I spend on food here in Japan. Too much. I will grant myself some things--I have a more sizeable appetite than most Japanese, I have a generous income, and most decisively I have no culinary inclinations whatsoever to counteract this downward spiral of eating out every other night, "other night" meaning "a night in which I don't want to cook." All of this has changed now, for the time being at least, as I try to raise money for future travelling, for myself down the road past the fork that marks the end of my JET career and the beginning of my toils with financial stability.

What was on the menu this week?
Monday: Spaghetti with canned tomato sauce
Tuesday: Instant ramen with Bok-choy and raw egg
Wednesday: Mah-boh Tofu (stir friend tofu with chili meat sauce)
Thursday: A Big Mac, McDonalds salad & leftovers from Wed. (I am stooping very low, folks, to save precious yen)
Friday: What shall I cook tonight? How about natto sitr fry?

Even all of this is not interesting to me. I spent most of my Thursday night studying Japanese grammar for the level 2 JLPT test. It took me three hours to review the 173 points that I have mastered (more or less) for the test. The disheartening fact is that my reading ability of Kanji, what I thought was my strong point, is not so impressive. After two practice tests and many drills, I can't seem to get over 55-60%. I must, I must, I must increase my vocabulary. Here I am taking giant steps toward that goal. Each minute I spend here at the computer another Chinese ideograph fades from my short term memory.

Why can't I install my electronic dictionary into my brain? Maybe I just have to wait a few years for that. Until then, I will remain content with my borderline test scores. Captain Kanji, signing off...


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