Nihongo Chats in the Time of Covid

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I haven’t posted anything in 2 years! I say this every time, but I should write more. It is my first love, after all. What’s a blog now anyways? Everything’s on Instagram – so check out @sandy.somewhere to see my latest adventures on my featured stories & posts.

First, I want to thank all the healthcare providers in NYC. I appreciate you. I have so much respect for you. I am a nurse and having worked first hand in the COVID units in NYC hospitals, I can tell you, that…we deserve more money. We are not going to pay bills with round of applause. Just saying.

Ok, now let’s get back to travel. Since COVID19 and the subsequent stay at home orders in NYC, I haven’t been able to travel. I love going to new places and seeing new things, but understandably, this is not the time to asymptomatically spread COVID19.

How have I been dealing with my wanderlust? I’ve started taking language lessons. For those that don’t already know, I’m a native Cantonese speaker and I picked up conversational Mandarin in my college years. I also learned Latin and Spanish in high school (like many New Yorkers), but haven’t practiced it in many years. I speak Level 2 French after taking 2 courses in French Institute Alliance Francaise and ABC Languages. Level 2 French pretty much just gets you around Paris as a tourist, but in no way is it fluent or conversational.

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I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese because, let’s be honest, I’m a huge nerd. I love anime and manga. Also, I LOVE TERRACE HOUSE. For the longest time, I rejected that part of myself. I didn’t want to be weird or socially awkward anymore. But, I went to Paris three times and I learned French. I went to Japan three times and I still felt weird picking up the language. I hated being labeled that weird girl that only learns Japanese because she likes anime.

But, I’m in my 30s now. The good thing about being in the third decade of your life is that mortality is much more real, life seems so much shorter, and whatever bullshit relationships you had, has already been dealt with. I just wanted to live my life authentically and happily. Nobody has time in their 30s to care what people think of you or deal with unwarranted criticisms of how you should live your life.

I decided to take Japanese Level 1 at the Japan Society. In my first class, I realized how happy I was and I embraced it. I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese. I came home from my first class and I couldn’t stop talking about it. I felt committed to continuing this language. It’s hard for me to commit to many things; I’m always distracted by the new shiny toy. But, for once, learning this language felt like I was being true to myself.

I stuck with Japanese and I’m now in Level 4! Can you believe it? I was shocked when I could finally put sentences together and speak with my conversation buddy! I felt excited that I could speak, but scared at the same time because there is so much more that I don’t know. Now, I signed up for conversation meetup groups. Who am I?

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Many friends recently reached out to me after I shared my language progress. I didn’t know so many harbored dreams of learning Japanese. I also found out that I had a lot of friends that already knew the language and I learned something new about them. If there is anything holding you back from pursuing a passion, just go for it. Time is a limited resource and it only gets shorter as we get older.

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For those that are interested in taking Japanese, I recommend Nakanishi Sensei at The Japan Society – she teaches level 1 and 2.

Photos are from my third Japan trip in November 2019.

Until the next post, Carpe Diem friends!

4 thoughts on “Nihongo Chats in the Time of Covid

  1. I love your photos! Really wish I can visit Japan sometime soon, but given the lockdown situation, it might be a couple of months before that even happens.

    Liked by 1 person

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