J is for "joking na lang" which is a Filipino way of saying "just kidding." Like when uncles and aunts gleefully point out your weight gain (imagined or not) and then add, "joking na lang." Right.
J is also for Japan and Japanese. I was an exchange student in Yokohama during the summer of 1986, and then studied Japanese all through college. It was my first real taste of life as a stranger in a strange land, although not so strange - I ate rice everyday already. Also, people thought I was Japanese. Or, at least, they didn't think I was American, not like the tall blond teenagers who were the majority of exchange students. My host family was fun. My host mom actually won a trip to the US from entering an essay contest where she wrote about all the exchange students they hosted. I think she tried to live her travel fantasies through welcoming clueless students like myself. Unfortunately I was in Australia during her visit to California so I didn't see her. What I'll always remember though is that she and the three kids hugged me when I arrived. When I asked her about that later - since hugging is not part of Japanese culture - she said that she'd heard Americans like to hug so she and the kids used to practice on each other.
On October 2nd, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Hey, Sylvia! I don't have your email address handy and didn't get something in the mail to you in time, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I like the encyclopedia. It reminds me of things I knew about you and adds new stuff too.
Bad news though, my school district's firewall now bans blogs. I can't get through to anyone on blogspot anymore. I suspect LiveJournal will soon get filtered out too. For now I'm reading on borrowed time...
The same goes for me. I regret not following it sometimes, but when the decision came that I wouldn't be dedicating my life to living there, I let it go. I love kanji, the puzzle aspect of figuring out text and the aesthetics of learning how to write, but I became very frustrated with the lack of facility that I had in reading and writing, as well as conversation. Maybe in my retirement...
You know, I had that experience recently, when I got a lift back to my guesthouse in Joburg. I was with two half-Congoleezers, a couple, presumably both raised in Paris (one was, anyway). The car ride was about 20-25 min. and at the end, the woman thanked me for speaking French with her since she's been in Joburg 2 years and people rarely do. I try to stick to French in the work context, but sometimes I have to switch - fortunately most of my colleagues have very good English as well.
You do. I'm sure I've said this before but other people's lives are always more fascinating because you don't have to live through the boring bits or deal with the 'challenging' parts, you just get to enjoy the story. I'm enjoying yours.