Sunday, July 7, 2013

New Beginnings in Japanese (Kaneko-san Opening Number)

I wonder if "Sundays with Kaneko-san" could be sustainable material for a musical.  The story of a teacher and a student, a retired insurance salary man and a young cellist far from home, the motivations for their meeting uncertain, but necessary.  Belonging in a new world, making connections in a new life.    As the plot unfolds, opaque confusion dissolves away revealing two individuals looking for the same thing.  Each lesson something new, worlds unfolding....

Today was our first lesson without the staple of the textbook.  And it was also the first lesson shaded by a new development in my Japanese learning, the presence of an additional private tutor.  And from these things, I think this might be a new beginning for us.

Several people at HPAC who have been serious about their Japanese study highly recommended Fukunari-sensei.  Since I'm in Japan and have this unique opportunity to learn the language, I want to communicate and understand those around me as much as possible.  I had a lesson with her last Thursday in which she served me tea and an ayu fish-shaped pastry.  She explained that this type of fish is caught in the rivers in June and that stores sell ayu themed things in June and July.  I'll have to look out for it next year more closely.  She had me talk and read, and looked over some previous work that I had done, and assigned me work to do in two textbooks.  The whole lesson was in Japanese, and was (mostly) understandable.

I'm really looking forward to having her guidance, but of course, I can't leave Kaneko-san.  And somehow in this lesson, as he started to have me work through essay exercises from lesson one of the book we just finished, I relished the opportunity and thought little about progress.  I just enjoyed sitting with him, asking him to make things more clear, enjoying the process of clarifying.  Under his guidance I wrote a short paragraph introducing myself in which I had to fabricate some information because I don't work at a normal company with regular hours to fit the model example provided by the essay prompts.  But afterwards we worked on making my case more clear, how I could explain to someone that I don't have regular work hours, that they change every week so my free days are uncertain.  We had the usually dictionary battles, the confusions and the laughs of struggling and misunderstanding one another.  But we are closer.  Somehow a new space.

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