There are days when I feel as if I don’t know any Japanese (these are usually Thursdays as that’s when I have my last lesson of the week). I just can’t understand the words that my teacher speaks to me. Having one to one classes means that I can’t hide – there is no getting away from the fact that I can’t think of a single thing in Japanese to say in response to a question. Today, I was expected to conjugate verbs to the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. I just smiled and pretended that I didn’t understand English at that point and then said that I wasn’t completely sure about the tune. My teacher doesn’t know the tune and I decided not to tell her that Yodobashi Camera use this as their main jingle.
I think I’m feeling down today as I thought I was nearly finished learning the kanji I need for the exam in December. But no, it seems I have lots more kanji to learn for this as about a third of the kanji I have learned so far won’t be on the test. I know that it’s more important to learn kanji than it is to learn a test syllabus but today that’s just head knowledge. It also explains why, when I tried to do a past paper, I knew so few of the words. I have been taught about nature and the countryside when the exam is full of things about shopping and travelling. I think I am being taught kanji in a similar way to school children and that some of the kanji are there because they’re used in family names. Why else would I need to know a variety of ways to describe fields, trees and rocks?