The Place of the Wild Things’ Residence

I’ve been in Japan for nearly a year now, and I’m happy to say that almost everyday, I have studied at least a little Japanese. One day at my elementary school, I decided to put my ten months of diligence to the test. During a free class period, I headed for the school library, dictionary in hand, determined to read something a Japanese elementary schooler could handle. Not wanting to set my sights too high, I went straight to the first grade section. As I browsed the various picture books, my eyes lit up when I recognized a classic: かいじゅうたちのいるところ – Where The Wild Things Are. I immediately found a vacant tiny chair and turned to the first page…

At the sound of the bell forty five minutes later, the main character, Max, had just been sent to his room. That’s right, readers – I hadn’t even gotten to where the wild things are. For you WTWTA fans, you’ll know that the entire book comprises about twenty pages, with Max being grounded somewhere around page 5. You’ll also know that each page has approximately three sentences; simple sentences, no more than seven words each. That puts me at…just over two words per minute. This includes:
1) Reading the word.
2) Sighing because it’s a word in a book for first graders and I don’t know it.
3) Looking it up.
4) Repeating Steps 1-3 for all words in a sentence.
5) Trying to make sense of the sentence because Japanese syntax is very different from English (Ex. E: I put the book in the bag, J: I in the bag the book put).

Needless to say, I quickly flipped through the rest of the pictures (being illiterate doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the awesomeness of the wild things), put the book back in its proper slot, gently placed my self esteem beside it, and exited the room.

Back in January, I was asked what my New Year’s Resolution was. I said I wanted my Japanese to be better than a kindergartener’s. Looks like I’ve got a’ways to go.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Harris on June 2, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    It is time for mid-year re-resolutions! Your once a year chance to revise lofty new year’s resolutions. Take the opportunity with impunity… but I know you can make yours.


  2. Posted by kotonii on June 3, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Maybe if the book was written in Tsugaru ben you’d be able to read it with no problems!


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