Stumbling back into Japan 

A couple of weeks ago I returned to Japan for a short working visit. It has not been a smooth transition.  Firstly, getting a firm grip on the language again has been harder than I expected. Speaking Japanese is not like riding a bike. It is not like riding a bike at all in fact.

I learnt Japanese after qualifying as an adult, but those language lessons feel like a long time ago.  Sometimes I have absolutely no idea what someone is trying to tell me. It is quite worrying, until I remember I have exactly the same problem with the English language.

The smaller size of things such as chairs, tables and people have been a shock too.  In previous spells living in Japan, I was never exactly elegant, but I don`t think I was quite the destroyer of worlds I have become, stumbling about all over the place like an elephant trying to put on pyjamas. A written apology stapled to my forehead would save a lot of time.

After a long time back in England, Japanese food has become extraordinary again.  Burdock is back to being an exotic delicacy again; raw horse or boiled locusts are not normal anymore, and seaweed for breakfast is back to being vaguely amusing.

On TV the other day I saw Pumpkin curry has gone on sale to celebrate Halloween. This advert features a boy band. I watched it gobsmacked, full of questions. So pumpkin curry is the new Halloween tradition. But what is Halloween for? And what is tradition? And what about the poor burdock?

I can`t really feel at home here; I don`t think I ever really did.  But I do feel comfortable and curious, awed by it all, if a little confused sometimes, like an old goat at a badger`s birthday party.  Know what I mean?

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2 Responses to Stumbling back into Japan 

  1. Rurousha says:

    Wait, woa, what? You’re back? As in blogging again and as in back in Japan? おかえりなさい、時々ーさん!
    “It is quite worrying, until I remember I have exactly the same problem with the English language.”
    Ah. I missed this. Glad you’re writing again!

    • tomointokyo says:

      Thank you very much Rurousha. I have missed it all too. I have been back in England, trying a few vaguely Japan-related business ventures. Recently I had the opportunity to go back to Japan leading tours. It was great – I hope to go again next Spring and do some more tours and exploring – hopefully it will provide some blog material too.
      時々 (Thank you for that – my new signature)

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