2012年07月20日

Writing blogposts also in English

I have been complaining that I hardly have any opportunities to use English in my life in Japan. I take an English online lesson once a week and enjoy the book discussion with an American teacher and two students in the US and Spain. So far, that is the only opportunity to speak English for me. I cannot afford taking any more English lessons and it is frustrating. I am dying to speak English but I cannot find any place unless I pay for it. When I was young and had unlimited private time, opportunities to use English was everywhere around me. I could use English at job and I travel abroad as often as once a year. Now, I am tied to home. I need to take care of my three children and cannot work outside of the house. It is hard to find a part-time job in which I could use English. All the English-requiring jobs that I found were full-time and seemed pretty demanding. If my English is really good, I might be able to work as a professional interpreter on a part-time basis. But I am afraid my English has not reached that level and hesitate to apply for interpreting jobs.

As my hobby, I enjoy reading books written in English, listening to podcast and audiobooks everyday. But, the more I use English privately, the more craving I have for speaking English in real communication. Maybe I am not making enough effort to find such an opportunity but anyway that’s what it is.

But, thinking about it twice, I found that I was missing one big thing.
I can write.
I can write my blog in English. I have tried and given up writing my blog in English several times before. After a few blogposts, I started to think that it’s meaningless to write in English when all of my readers can read Japanese.
Now I think that I was limiting my opportunities. I should start writing in English again. There would be not a few errors but who cares!! The important thing is to convey my thoughts.

So, here I declare that I will write also in English whenever I post a blog entry in Japanese. It might not be easy but it sure will be worth trying! I’ll stop being afraid that people might suffer from reading my error-ridden English. (Oh... I am scared to find that I have been such a hypocrite telling my friends not to worry about making mistakes while I myself unconsciously do so....)

I also will stop worrying that there would be no reader if I wrote in English. I will abandon the idea that it is absurd to communicate in English when my readers and I share our native tongue, Japanese.
From now on, I will keep writing in English.
If you do not mind reading my blog also in English, please do so and leave your comment in English. Let’s enjoy using English!
posted by あきやん Angie at 16:21| Comment(4) | TrackBack(0) | じぶん英語 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする
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Good going, Aki-yan! What you say in this journal clearly communicates with me.

It seems like you’ve got to take care of your strong desire for English communication otherwise you might feel like you’re missing an important part of yourself. This E-Thing DID become a part of your life because you lived with it in the United States. It’d be almost impossible to go back to the days without it. So you should keep going. . Actually your recent entries expressing the burning desires for English communication have inspired me a lot.

However, hopefully let us put perfectionism aside. We should quit being our own ‘grammar police.’ And more importantly we should quit being too hard on ourselves. Self-discipline is a great asset for rational life but somehow we might need to learn how to break away from being a control freak. We cannot get away from physical or mental/emotional down times especially as we get older. Rather we need to learn how to cope with it.

Well, it’s easier said than done. Actually all those things are for me, hahaha. But at least I know that punishing myself will take me nowhere. What I need is encouragement instead. Though my progress in language, cultural adjustment and social life seem so little, once in a while I can look back and appreciate how far I’ve come. That’s a great encouragement. I should keep a long-term perspective.

Here’s a related remark by Ann Curry, who had to leave NBC’s ‘Today’ show, in an interview with Ladies’ Home Journal (August issue, 2012, page 65):

I don’t always understand my worth. I think it’s a chronic condition for women. I’m not talking about professionally. I’m talking about in our personal lives. We constantly punish ourselves with degrading thoughts when we look at ourselves in the mirror. We allow people to treat us poorly, we allow our husbands or boyfriends to get away with things or we have relationships with girlfriends or colleagues who don’t treat us well. We don’t defend ourselves as we would our own children. Women have demanded and gotten better jobs and more power. But the one thing we deserve is a better relationship with ourselves. We waste too much time beating ourselves up. I think at my age of 55, it’s time to stop doing that.

Lastly here are some "food for thought" websites for you. When I read your recent post, I came up with a question, “Are there any blogs out there written by moms who are so keen on language learning?” You might find such moms on free language exchange sites or something. But later on, I thought that of other topics that might interest you also (though you might’ve seen some of the Ted Talks stuff below…). Hope you’ll enjoy them.

1. TED Talks: Deb Roy: The birth of a word http://www.ted.com/talks/deb_roy_the_birth_of_a_word.html

2. TED Talks: Jay Walker on the world's English mania
http://www.ted.com/talks/jay_walker_on_the_world_s_english_mania.html

3. Not Just a Stay Home Mom (a mom blog)
http://notjustasahm.wordpress.com/

4. The Mom Blogs (This is where I found #3 above)
http://www.themomblogs.com/

5. Fluent in 3 Months (<-Catchy title…. Though I haven’t kept up with it recently)
http://www.fluentin3months.com/

P.S. In order to widen your readers’ range, I would suggest that you should write your profile in English on this blog because some readers might think that you’re single if they read only this page. hehehe
Posted by deziz at 2012年07月22日 06:29
deziz san,

Sorry for my late reply. I was really really glad to read your comment, your thoughtfulness and the resources for my food for thought. I think it's so typical of me but the abundant information seemed like a big homework for me and I felt that I had to write you back when I finished reading (or listening) all of them. It sounds silly now, though...
I will enjoy them one by one, taking time :)

And... yes... reading several self-help books(The most influencing is "Happy for no reason"), I have recently noticed that I tend to be too hard on myself. I really should stop doing that. I have to treat myself with more respect and in return, I have to sincerely make effort for myself. I was blaming and hurting myself for my laziness and then forgiving myself unconsciously just because I endure the suffering of mentally torturing myself.
Then I repeated the same vicious cycle...


Now I think that I am breaking that bad habit.
I'll take it easy and hopefully enjoy my life from now on... ;)
Posted by あきやん at 2012年08月06日 16:32
Hi I'm Sa. Sorry for putting a comment on such a old post!

I totally understand your frustration of lacking opportunities of speaking English. Luckily I'm here in England now but I'd learn English myself when I was in Japan and often had exactly the same frustration.

One thing I've found useful is speaking or writing including emailing and texting (and blogging of course!) with Japanese people in english still help you a lot.

Those things should make it clear what you have in your mind, what you exactly want to telll, what kind of phrases you need to know etc... and help you build up your convasation skills as well. I suppose you have some friends who also learn English through this blog?

By the way I just wanted to say thank you for motivating me to learn English and am looking forward to your new post in English!
Posted by Sa at 2013年08月05日 07:19
Hi Sa-san! Thank you for leaving your comment to my blog :) And sorry for my late reply.
So you live in England now. What do you do there? Study or work?

Thanks for your advice for using English in Japan. To be honest I sometimes think it's kind of silly to speak English between japanese people when we can easily understand each other with our native tongue even though it is for the sake of practicing English.
But yes, now I think that's a wrong attitude. I'll try to take the most of opportunity of using English to communicate with people.

I also do agree with your opinion about the importance of making yourself clear about what you want to say and what you want to learn.

I appreciate your inspiring comment! Although I am a slow-paced blogger, please keep in touch. :D
Posted by あきやん at 2013年08月14日 11:42
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