Sloth Hath its Rewards

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For a year, my calligraphy has floundered along with my Japanese studies. Realization is constant and nagging. I need to find the energy and focus my heart again. Having said that, it is interesting to note that sometimes things have a way of working out.

My girlfriend and a few others have commented on how my Japanese has improved sharply over the last year. A significant part of this is that my speech sounds more natural. My firm belief is that this isn’t learned in a class, and certainly not from independent study, but through practice speaking with natives. Living in Japan means that I have unlimited access to language practice. I can walk into any business, public facility, etc., and start a conversation about anything with a native speaker; whereas, if I were living in America, I would have to hire a teacher and talk about a more limited range of topics.

I find that my girlfriend communicates in an elegant fashion (which she considers normal) and this has elevated my speech as well. My hope is to be able to express myself freely in Japanese. Let’s be clear that this is a long-term goal.

Saturday, I made late brunch for my girlfriend and we discussed a lot of important issues. As a result, I once again skipped shuji (習字) class. I sent a note by cell phone, apologizing to my teacher and asking her not to forget my face. She sent a message back telling me to pick up my work from January when I show my face, because I have been elevated to pre-second level (準二段・jun nidan). I was a bit surprised because I only practiced once in January and I don’t remember my final copy being that impressive. Although, I do recall being a bit relaxed, which always makes for better cooperation with my brush.

For a moment I wondered if they advance people out of pity ocassionally, but I don’t think they would risk their reputation by licensing someone who wasn’t ready. I had another experience last week which might help give me the energy to study. More on that later this week.

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3 Responses to “Sloth Hath its Rewards”

  1. Stefanie Says:

    Will you post photos of some of your calligraphy sometime? I’d love to see it.

  2. verbivore Says:

    I agree that real immersion is the only way to really get fluent in a language, and I hazard to say that Japanese is even more particular about this. I’m not surprised your Japanese has improved since you started dating your girlfriend, there is nothing like sustained and varied conversation to do this…and all the better if she has a nice way of expressing herself, you’ll definitely learn a lot!

  3. A Real Piece of Work « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] much time to study, and because the levels get tougher, it has been a year since I last advanced. That day, I was very relaxed and could write smoothly, even though it was my only practice that month. Particularly nice are the […]

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