Travel Feeds Your Soul, and Language Feeds Your Mind

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So, today I’m trying something a little different. Today I had Le Frenchman (who happens to also be my partner in crime) write an article about what he thinks about the whole travel, expat, language learning life path thing. (For background: he is a French expat living here in America and is also an avid traveler) I gave him free reign in this assignment and here is what he came up with for you guys. I hope you enjoy!

 

As I was l was contemplating my wonderful thirties while taking a break from reading a Japanese comic (seriously, being in your thirties is great!), I randomly recalled that my grandmother could solve complicated math problems when she was well past 90 years old. Despite her age, she was witty and had an incredible grasp on the contemporary world. This forced me to conclude that I needed a crazy brain challenge if I wanted to avoid becoming senile by the time people only interact with one another through olfactory-enhanced Virtual Reality. Which is to say when I’m 90 years old.

Naturally, I think I have a solution to that. Being in a multi-linguistic relationship seamlessly led me to the goal of learning yet another new language. A very complicated one, if you will.

With four writing systems, it’s fair to say that Japanese is probably one of the hardest languages to learn for a westerner, if one wants to be literate. However, I decided that preserving my brain into old age was worth accepting the challenge. Being a longtime admirer of Japanese culture as a whole, it was an easy decision.

That was three weeks ago.

Now I can more or less read one of Japanese’s syllabaries (hiragana), and I have re-discovered the amazing feeling of learning something entirely new. It is an incomparable sensation of awe and pure joy! It is a mix between archaeology and the simple pleasure of tasting a new flavor of your favorite food.

Having fun while learning is the recipe that makes the dish delicious. So why not trying something entirely new and a tad crazy? If you’ve decided to get out of your comfort zone and dive into the unknown, please share!

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My first kanji (the Chinese characters used in Japanese writing), which means “kanji notes” or “kanji notebook”.

 

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Hello there! I wrote this blog entry for Jessica (guilty!) and I wanted to thank you for your kind words. I do believe that there is no secret to learning languages: you have to make up some time for it and traveling to a country using that language is a huge help. Without some kind of immersion, I don’t think you can really speak a language that well. ありがとうございます!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BIGtinyWorld says:

    こんにちわ! We visited Japan for the first time last year, and I was determined to learn a bit of Japanese before we went. I took the equivalent of a year at my local college, and it certainly is a challenge! I envy that you have an opportunity to practice other languages on a regular basis; one of my life goals is to become fluent in a second language. I fear that will take a lot of dedication and a lot of time without the benefit of immersion. Good luck with your endeavor; language will certainly help you remain sharp! がんばってください!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica says:

      Hi! I can’t even imagine learning a language with characters I can’t read (hence why I haven’t applied myself). However, do keep trying with languages. It takes time, patience, and dedication, but the rewards are incomparable!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Jessica says:

      Also — Le boyfriend replied to you on this thread 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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