Monday, June 13, 2005

More (Japanese) Words for the Week

Kanji n. Chinese characters adapted for use in Japanese writing

denwabangou n. phone number (et. from denwa, telephone + ban, number)

Asahiko n. "Child of the Morning Sun" (et. usually a given name; from asa, morning + hi, sun + ko child)

Some of you out there will already be aware that I am taking Japanese language classes. They've gotten a damn sight harder since I set foot in my Basic Two class. I used to be at the top of my Basic One class because I was the only guy in the room who had the time to really study, and even then I'd had prior exposure to the language thanks to nth generation pirated subtitled anime. I've fallen low since then, partly because I haven't had the time or the energy to study properly. And it's a damn shame; at least no one has really dethroned me as my class's resident Kanji scribe. It's to be expected too, I guess, because my Basic Two class is composed of the topnotchers from the other Basic One classes.

Arjayne-chan has consistently topped the exams. Running a close second is Lenin-san, a CaviteƱo with a Visayan accent who I've come to grudgingly respect: you can't question this guy's initiative and his drive. With resident topnotcher Arnold-san (also from Cavite) taken out of the running by family and work concerns, Lenin would top the class if he wasn't already saddled with his job and his accent. Me, I'm in a race to keep my head over perilous waters along with everyone else. These are times I wish I hadn't left my small pond for the minor lake. When I feel strung out, spread like too little butter on too much bread, I have to remind myself that I'm only in competition with me.

Asahiko-chan has by this time taken her flight to Japan with her dad and the Card Captor Sakura drawings she commissioned (for free), and maybe my Kanji workbook and a month's worth of my Kanji assignments for Jap class (she'll need it). I wish her all the best. Let me state that I am, yes, concerned about how she'll adjust to life in Japan. My teacher says kids are bullied there, especially if they can't speak the language.

No comments: