As I am still learning 日本語, I came across an app HelloTalk, where you can meet natives of your target language, 日本語 in my case, and have your grammar corrected in return via a friendly exchange.
There are also Japanese natives in HelloTalk who want to learn English and Filipino. Strange as it may seem, other nationalities are also craving to learn Filipino not only for the sake of wanting to learn Filipino as a language, but also because they wanted to become a Filipino, starting with the language.
I’ve gone through great lengths of getting frustrated, motivated, and obsessed while learning, and back again. And I’d give a resounding “YES”, I am STILL that desperate to learn the Japanese language by any means.
In fact, whenever I see a post from a Japanese native, I can’t help but turn green with jealousy wishing I can also write with the same fluency as a native. I know, I am unrealistic sometimes and I can get upset that easy when I feel that I can’t seem to achieve swiftly what I wanted to achieve.
Collaring myself and asking why
But really, I tried to ask myself, despite the frequent frustration when I see how far still am I to my goal, why do I keep going back to wanting to learn?
And why do I even persist given that I cannot even assure myself that I will be able to go to Japan, and much more work or live there? And why am I that stubborn to learn the language even when I am already aware of the many pressing issues that the Japanese people are facing nowadays?
No such thing as a perfect country
My country isn’t perfect and so does Japan. All countries have two extremes, the commendable and the not so cool stuff, both deeply embedded in the culture. But I chose to stick with the duality because, well it’s part of everything. It doesn’t mean condoning the wrong. There’s always room for improvement in everything.
One does not reside in the light alone nor one is completely ignorant of the light. One gets a taste of the other occasionally as the balance tips over either the dichotomy.
Exchange of spirits and minds
I tried to write the first part of that explanation in 日本語 (with all the faulty grammar and wrong choice of words) until I can no longer go any further due to my limited vocabulary so I continued it in English and posted it in HelloTalk.
And then a native replied.
Just enjoy the learning process
I can’t help but smile at his Tagalog which is a “textbook” type of Tagalog. And maybe it is the same with him, laughing at my unnatural and bookish 日本語 instead of a conversational one. But neither of which mattered. I am learning piece by piece, and the same is true for him and perhaps all the other language learners out there.
What mattered is that we are enjoying the process of getting wrong, getting corrected and improving. And slowly but surely we are getting closer to our previous selves one word and grammar at a time.