On Inspiration and Foreign Language Study

Uninspiring story #1:
The Japanese girl who really went to Los Angeles in pursuit of life ala Beverly Hills 90210. (seriously.)
Uninspiring story #2:
Her best friend, who followed two weeks later.
Inspiring story #1:
My former female coworker, who taught herself English by reading the newspapers used as stuffing in the pineapple boxes shipped from Hawaii to the fruit stand she worked at as a child.
Inspiring story #2:
Japanese (especially schoolkids) who can’t even return basic greetings in English, yet can instantly extend a middle finger and shout a healthy “FAKKU YOU!” like it’s second nature.
On a related note, I’m one of those people who learn languages the fastest by concentrating on the following areas first and foremost:
A. Learning how to order food
B. Learning how to ask where the crapper is, and
C. Learning how to say “wench,” “ale,” “stanchion,” and the other real essentials
(Bonus: “Cowper’s gland” in Japanese is, simply, “Cowper,” yet “Fallopian tubes” is not “Fallopia,” as one would expect, which is a damn shame because it would have made a damn fine name for a 660cc sub-compact made by Mazda.)
Fuck a classroom. It’s all about what inspires you.

4 thoughts on “On Inspiration and Foreign Language Study

  1. Hey, that “fuck a classroom” line has to be the most dead-on and refreshing statement about language learning I’ve heard in a long time.
    I recently finished a year stint as a part-time English teacher to Japanese businessmen, perhaps some of the least-inspired (and inspiring for that matter) language learners around. I wish I had thought of that line so I could scream it into their faces when they gave me blank stares and tried to feed me some line about Japanese food being delicious and healthy. Not that they’d understand it mind you. I just would have felt like I regained some of my long-lost dignity.

  2. > it would have made a damn fine name for a 660cc sub-compact…
    I say Subaru, though – Forrester, Justy, Impreza… Fallopia
    It just fits.

  3. so how DO you say ‘wench’ (as insulting to a girl) in Japanese????? I’d really like to know (for a comic book). Can you give me the worst insults to say in Japanese also (like lots of ’em)?

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