A work colleague and I are doing Japanese classes: he has been taking it even more seriously than I have, because he was hoping to visit Japan at some point. Well, after a few discreet enquires about how he might go about this… he flies out to Tokyo on Tuesday. All expenses paid, for more than a fortnight, to deliver a bit of training.
That, I suppose, gives you an idea of the work situation; we are subject to the most Draconian cost restrictions on everything we do, here in Europe, but when Japan decides they need one of us to give training, they can afford it. My colleague is incredibly talented and experienced, and is frankly wasted in his current position. I may be in a position to do the same, by the end of the year – but do I want to? I definitely want to visit, but if it means delivering training to a bunch of people who may not get my accent in either language, well, I have to be a little realistic.
Let me hang around Japanese-speaking folks for a year, at least, before I will feel comfortable speaking Japanese seriously. As things stand, I simply can not handle spoken Japanese yet, because of the speed, and because I’m only able to handle “polite” speech so far. I have 千と千尋の神隠し (Spirited Away) on DVD, and a copy of the screenplay in Hiragana and English. The Hiragana lets me read the words, but it’s taken only a few lines to come across phrases that aren’t in any of my dictionaries. My teacher explained a couple to me, but… I still have so much work to put in, but I also have time for this. If I go to Tokyo, I want to be more than just a tourist, if at all possible.