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Showing posts from May, 2006

I'm Turning Japanese

I've dabbled in many languages in my life, even an effort to teach myself ancient Greek before I started college in the fall of 1976. Not that I can speak anything besides English -- I'm more a dilettante waiting for the day when I can activate my meandering studies in a real-life situation (as in, get a job that requires me to actually understand, say, Portuguese).

Last week I moved farther afield than ever when I started a five-week Japanese Language and Culture class at my company. I don't know why the class is being offered. It has no bearing on my professional responsibilities. However, my linguistic spirit of adventure had me sign up.

The first week's language segment focused on greetings and the simplest one-stroke letters. Over the weekend son Shmoikel relentlessly drilled me so, incredibly, the polysyllabic words began to make sense. The cartoon pictures that serve as memory aides for learning letters -- "Mt. St. Helens is quiet today" for "he&quo…