Your room is a little bit stink

by EJ

Looking around the living room and kitchen I realise it’s time to tidy things up, even though I’m currently on holiday. Chips on the floor, laundry hanging out, dishes to be washed. The title of this post popped into my head accordingly, spoken by the girlfriend at the time of a long ago Tokyo flat mate. He had to go over to her house the whole time and she never wanted to come over to our apartment. When he asked why she replied with the all-time classic line; “Because your room is a little bit stink.”

I continue my Japanese studies. Years later I still torture myself with low level grammar and the same vocabulary learnt, forgotten then learnt again. It’s a real groundhog day. But I’ve resigned myself to it and will press on regardless of my snail’s pace of progress and frustrations. I really do think that JLPT is out of the question. I’m turning into the Australian equivalent of Aki, the ancient Nova student with a transistor radio for a hearing aid, who had completed every lesson in the level 3 “text” book literally thousands of times (each page of his “text” book was slate grey from the blanket of pencil scribble that had accumulated therein over the years). He took great pleasure in shouting out answers, entirely devoid of context, every time the instructor would so much as open their mouth to ask a question.

It’s largely nostalgia, part functional necessity. Family and I still get over to the mother country regularly (me once a year or so) and here in Australia most of our friends are Japanese couples who all speak the lingo when they’re together, so I’ve got plenty of reason to want to continue to improve. Back in the day I couldn’t speak a word, and I remember dudes in the Nova teacher’s room reading a column out of the Japan Times called Kanji Clinic. I would shake my head and marvel at their perseverance, never once thinking that I should also take up the habit of learning the language of my host country.  

I looked up Kanji Clinic online a while back and it really was like time travel, reading those old columns again. The writer was a lovely American lady who had a really gift for imparting the great sense of achievement that comes from getting your head around a foreign language. I’ve posted the link below for old time’s sake. Take a look and enjoy a relic from my earliest days of learning Japanese.