Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Bit of a Rant

Caution: This is kinda harsh. Ordinarily I probably wouldn't post this, but this blog is all I have to chart my feelings and frustrations over the semester I am here. I don't want to sound like a bitch, but this is one of the few rants I have. Please don't read this one if you think it may offend you or anything like that. I don't want this to anger anyone, it is more or less for me to read later. Please keep that in mind. This blog is mainly for me, for my reflections, and for my feelings. This just happens to be one of the more critical ones...

This rant has toned down quite a bit over the week or so since I bitched about it to Reese. I wasn't going to write about it, but now I think it will be an important piece to look back on. I may still agree, however I am pretty sure I will be far over it. Again, this is not directed at a specific person or group of people. It is just me expressing my innermost feelings so I won't forget it later.

When I first got here, it shocked me how many exchange students have either 1. never taken Japanese in their lives or 2. have studied Japanese for only a semester or a quarter. Like a lot, lot of people in my dorm know little to no Japanese. I mean, I'm not in the position to brag or anything. My Japanese is far from an acceptable level, but at the same time I feel like I have actually attempted to learn the language. I guess it just angers me because I wonder, how much can you actually get out of this experience if you cannot even communicate with people on the most basic level? I feel like that is why so many people hang out in the dorm, talk in English, and perpetuate the gaijin bubble that we are in.

I know people who decided to enroll at Sophia, are planning to graduate from here (4 years from now), and don't know any Japanese. It seems so counterintuitive. Sure this is a great place to learn. But why did you pick a college here? Is it too hard to learn a little bit of Japanese before you come? You will be here for 4 years after all! It totally makes no sense to me.

I think it just makes me angry because I wonder, is there no way for you to learn a little Japanese before you come here? Did you not even consider the communication problems? Like for a long period of time (a semester-4 years) do you think people should just cater to you because you are a foreigner? Being able to speak English is not enough everywhere.

I know someone who lived in Japan, went to an international school, and cannot speak any Japanese. How sad is that? With the opportunity to learn everyday, literally living in the country, and not making an effort at all to learn the language, that is such a quintessentially American thing to do. Times like these I am embarrassed to admit that I am American.

When I was complaining to Reese I went on and on about "Who would go to study in Japan without even learning the language?
Who would live in Japan and not even learn how to speak Japanese?, etc." He told me to change the sentances from "Who would..." to "I would never..." That's when I realized I really cannot change what anyone else is doing. Its all personal choices. I don't agree with what everyone else chooses to do, but really its up to them. It still frustrates me though. I wonder when I'll get over it...

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