Ok, as it turns out, using a line from an 1980's pop song as your main form of communication with someone who only speaks Japanese, is probably not the best way to start making friends in new places. And beginning this summer, we'll be living smack dab in the middle of a small island filled with faces from across the globe - many of them, no, a majority of them from Japan. As I tend to do fill in jobs in hospitality when helping balance the books, including some writing for the tourist trade, it seemed like a golden opportunity when a friend mentioned her high-schooler would be taking a six-week intensive in Japanese, effective immediately.
"I'm in!" I shouted, as I often do, without considering the, ahem, consequences. But it's done you see, Mouse will be trudging up the freeway once a week to immerse herself in a new language - a really foreign, foreign language! For six weeks. Oh my, I can do this right?
"Daijyoubu desu!" (no problem).
It is rather amazing how quickly your entire world can/will shift. I'm not, by any means adventurous (even if outward appearances are deceiving), and as good as "Hawaii" seemed on paper six months ago shuffled in with many other worldwide/statewide choices, it's a whole different bag of potato chips (or seaweed rice crisps), when it's actually at your front door, knocking and waving it's hips in a hula skirt. My mind has been a little preoccupied of late with all the coming details, events and changes, and perhaps immersion in something new is actually just what the doctor ordered. It's that, or anti-anxiety medication, so we'll try sushi and simple phrases instead.
Our California public school choice for second languages is most often inspired by our European neighbors, that is when it's offered at all anymore. The extent of my immersion so far has been in Spanish, maybe a little French, and occasionally some German (but only for parties). Japanese is totally out of my comfort zone, except that I am one of those spoiled Marin County brats who grew up quite comfortable with Japanese food. So here I go, clinging to what I know (sashimi), and looking forward to knowing more ("Hello, my name is Meloni and I'm sorry if I'm slaughtering your language", or "Watashi no nihongo wa heta desu").
And my husband and kids? Well, no worries for them, as sushi is big round these parts, and this means mom can practice while we eat out.
Hey, any excuse for sushi, right?