A closure to Japanese Culture
It has been three years and almost five months since I studied Japanese language. In that span of time, I learned a lot, and as I said in my paper in my university that, there is much more to learn, much more to experience in the Japanese culture.
I studied the language by force not because I like J-pop, anime, kabuki nor Noh. I studied the language as part of my university’s curricula. No foreign language no graduation. Among the languages that I could choose from are the following: Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese. Unfortunately there was no available professor in my former university otherwise take it on the metropolis; I was forced to have Japanese instead of French.
During my early days as a college student, I took the words of my professors as the truth; it was as if I am indoctrinated to follow this, to accept that Marxism is good and other stuffs. It turned out that, religiously I studied well in my academic subjects but, it did not paid off in my foreign language. I got an almost failing grade in my Japanese 101; suffice for me not to be qualified for the academic scholarship.
My journey did not end with an almost failing grade. By summer of 2009, in our church plaza, I saw an advertisement, searching for Japanese students who want to learn how to write, read and speak Japanese language for free. It was a summer workshop on Japanese language; together with my classmate, we went to the address, and see for ourselves if it is worth to give it a try.
The outside university affair
It was an unforgettable experience for me. The outside university affair served me well for my Japanese class, and at the same time, gaining friends that I might never met if I did not pursue the outside university affair.
I had a Japanese sensei, who was a retired teacher in Japan, taught Japanese language in high school and a strict professor as I can say. He might be strict, yes, but behind those “ carrot and stick” principle, I know that he wants the best for the both of us ( me and my Japanese learning buddy). We are continuously studying the language and keep aiming high both for our careers and most importantly, our dream to go to Japan.
Why Japanese language?
It has been a perennial question that my classmates would ask me. Why?
Of all the languages in the world, why settle for Japanese language? The answer might be a tough one. Imagine, Japanese language is not an official language used in the United Nations, in ASEAN, perhaps, it might be used. But beyond those technicalities, I settle for the Japanese language not because of the fact that it may serve me well in the International fora, but because, there is more personal reason – I want to change the way Japanese people see the Filipinos in their country.
Too idealistic? I guess so………
I could still remember that, during my elementary days, I used to read in the newspapers about those Filipino entertainers who go to Japan, work and go back to the country with money.
When I enter senior high school, a good friend of mine, who has an elder sister working and living in Japan, used to send her Japanese textbooks and even mp3 players. One time, I borrowed her book, practiced memorizing ohayou gozaimasu, konnichiwa, the counting principle and a lot more. One of my teachers told me, why study Japanese? Do you want to work in Japan as Japayuki?? It was odd, yes, but as I remember it now, I can’t help, but to smile. Even our own ‘kababayans” has the same thinking as any other people that I’ve known. They looked down on their own “kababayan” without knowing that, in the first place, they did not want that kind of job, it was just that they don’t have any choice at that time, weather to take the job or starving to death?
Fast forward – when I enter university, I am lucky enough to have a professor who is a multimillionaire (I think) and he has a placement agency. His first client? – The Japanese. He used to send Filipina to Japan and later on, go back to the country. Sounds interesting.. ?? I guess so…J
The things that keeps me holding on to Japanese …….
First, I spent my 4 years studying the language, I invested my time, effort and of course money in going to my sensei’s house every weekend. I’ve learned from my friend who is an investor; “you’re investments should work for you and it should be compounding in interest”. J
Second, it is only the Japanese language that binds me with my mentors and friends that I may never meet if I did not continue this journey. Yes, they may serves as my mentors, my coffee buddy, my life coach, and of course, they are one of the reasons why I can’t let go of the rope. J
Third, speaking from the perspective of former Foreign Service student, the geopolitical mapping of today’s generation has shifted. We started from the industrialization of Britain, to the revolution and hegemony of US, to the balancer of International Relations – Asia (Tripartite relations). Tracing out the history of international relations; Japan, served well the region where it belongs and the international community.
Fourth, at the current status of Japan – Philippines bilateral relations, both countries are enjoying flexible and not so flexible agreements. To cite one, the JPEPA, where in, the Philippines will be given the chance and opportunity to send its overflowing number of nurses to the aging population of Japan, in condition, these nurses that will be send, should pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test – level 1 or 2 (mind you, even I who studied the language for the past four years struggled to pass the exam in my first try). Aside from the condition for qualifications of the Japanese government, they are also entitled to send their old rubbish to the country. (this is one of the explanations for the growing number of Japanese surplus shops in the country)- Benevolent Realist?? – とても たいへん ですね！
Fifth, there are very cute toys and accessories from a cat with a very cute smile and face! – Kitty chan!!! I can’t resist to look at it, smile, relieved my stress and voila! I am happy again!
Sixth, 日本人 の 恋人 が ほしい です！！Ehem! J I think this is a bonus? Of course, you can not dictate to whom your heat beats, but surely it will, and hoping it might be Japanese! J
Will I be able to end my relationship with Japanese culture? I guess I will have a hard time to do so, unless, they will close all shops that sells hello kitty, Sony, sharp, Panasonic and other Japanese brands. I will definitely let go of the rope, but as long as I can see those products, I think I will not let go of the rope yet. Mada. J