Thursday, July 14, 2005

Eigo wa hanasu hito wa imasen-ka? *

Long long time ago, when I was an under grad student, someone told me that chances of employment in software firms are high if you know Japanese. (Apparently it has something to do with the fact that the company may have clients in Japan and you might have to go onsite and then your Japanese skills become wieldy and so you are the more attractive candidate for the job. More on pre-placement myths soon. Watch this blog! :-) ) Then my industrious cousin M started going for Jap classes (I can't tell you more than this about M, he's threatened to sue if I make fun of him on my blog) At about the same time my friend D who had taken up Japansese in her college, wrote my name in Japanese on a scrap of paper. The squiggles looked so cute and I felt that I just HAD to learn how to do them.

Then PS 2 happened in Bangalore and dutifully I went around searching for classes. I found one and almost paid the money when I discovered that the place was called "Learn Spoken English". Worse still they had a huge board advertising this outside the building, on the building and in a few places leading to the building. Since I had got the number of the place from someone and had conducted the preliminary investigations over the phone, this fact had eluded me for long. That was a cheesy position to be in! The snob in me decided that I couldn't be seen entering that place, lest people (read handsome guys who had the potential to be future bfs) think I know no ingles! I told them I would be back in 2 days to pay the money and successfully avoided that place by taking a more circuitous route to work.

Then I was back in Pilani for my psenti sem (final semester) and the first thing I noticed when they gave us the timetable book is that Beginning Japanese was now offered as an audit course (Audit course means you pay extra for that and it doesn't contribute to your CGPA) Expectedly I was one of the first to register and roped in S also. The first class was nice, we sat on the first bench. The instructor squiggled on the board and I dutifully re-squiggled them on my new note book that had "Beginning Japanese" (in capital letters) written on the cover. And then the instructor asked me to come and squiggle on the black board and feeling like kindergarden kid I wrote (or drew) something on the board and blushed with pride when she told me my answer was right.

Campus interviews were on and like 95% of the BITSians I also made a job in the first week. And then my enthusiam for Jap waned a little. Now that I had a job at hand it seemed silly to learn Japanese. But a cursory query revealed that audit courses could not be dropped - not only would you lose your money, but it will listed on your transcript with an E grade (Unsatisfactory). I was no A student, but the thought of an E was somehow disturbing. Then I remembered that it was all about cute squiggles and I started attending classes.

The classes graduated from boring to un-non-sleepable. The squiggles weren't so cute anymore. And writing on the board was embarassing 'coz I didn't know any answers. S became the star pupil though. She discovered that she had been a Japanese citizen in her previous birth and attacked the language with a vengeance. And I started doodling in class instead of squiggling. I mastered Hiragana when the class had almost finished Katagana and when I started learning Katagana, I forgot Hiragana. And by the time we started doings kanjis, I had given up on my Japanese dreams and started taking care of my life. Meanwhile S carried on being the starriest student in class and by association the hapless instructor assumed I was good too. When I stopped attending classes, she passed on umpteen messaged through S, asking me to be regular. And caught me three times on the road and once in the temple and made me promise to attend classes - which I didn't!

One fine day, in the middle of the farewell parties, S nonchalently told me that the Jap compree (final exam) was scheduled for the next day. I scowled at everyone in sight and spent the whole night discerning Hiragana, Katagana and Kanji. The day dawned with a fierce dust storm (the fierecest I have ever seen in Pilani) and I trudged to FD I (the building where the exam was taking place) and squiggled away to glory. I knew a few answers and "inteligently guessed" the rest.

I got my papers a few days later and made a E anyways. I swore at my Japanese instructor, the Japanese language, Chinesese language, software firm with Japanese clients, my Japanese instructor again, sushi, Hiragana, Katagana and Kanji and my Japanese instructor yet again in order.

The sem was over and holidays flew by and I joined my present company. People told me that there was there was this guy who was BITSian too and thamizh and from Chennai and from my school. The heart went out to him as a fellow survivor and I was determined to make his acquaintance. Just before I could go and meet him, the person who told me about him said "You might have heard about him in BITS. He is Prof T's brother-in-law. Yeah his sister (T's wife i.e) took Japanese classes too". I stopped in my tracks and till date haven't exchanged even a smile with him! :-)

* - Is there anyone who speaks English?

24 comments:

Jinguchakka said...

Eigo wa hanasu hito wa imasen-ka? appadina yenna? By the way your frequency of posts has increased, it seems. Project deadline over? :-)

janani said...

@jinguchakka - I have put a * beside the title and translated it at the bottom of the post. Anyway it means "Is there anyone who speaks English?" :-)
And I AM STILL BUSY!!!!! :-( My blog is "supposed" to be my break. :-(

Vetty Max said...

Japanese or Tamizh, Kanji sucks. :P

These language teaching people have their own ways of recruiting students. I learnt German(but with much better results than your Jap) believing it would help me somewhere...but no use so far other than some vetti bandha.

janani said...

@vmax - Wait you mister wait, when you don't have your mom or your hostel to feed you everyday. Then you will realise what a good (read easy to make) breakfast kanji is! :-)

So Sprechen Sie Deutsches gut? :-)

harini said...

hii akka...
oh my god..i m rolling with laughter reading ur xperiences..lol...but i shudder to think at one pt of time i 'considered' learning those 'cute squiggles':):)...remember u totaly convinced me tat learning a foriegn languge was always better...i was just an inch away 4m joining those yucky classes...tat was when the'lazy side' in me prevented me 4m joining those classes...:) thank god...4 once i adore my other side..:) btw who said "laziness never helps"? mabbe sometimes it does help;);)

janani said...

@harini - Both your sides are lazy! :-) Even if learning Jap was extremely crucial for employment, I am sure you wouldn't have joined any classes. :-) Just one word for you - SSi. lol!

harini said...

helloo...i think u remember tat u r talking to a future ---------:)...my lazy self comes into picture only when i hv nothing to do...;)...n abt SSI i finishe half the course only the other half i didnt i m joining it today...its just tat i took a break 4m it 4 placemnets "work compensates work" dosent it??:)

Kaps said...

Moshi Moshi
O genki desuka?

janani said...

@harini - We will take this off line and continue it next time I call home. :-)

@kaps - Genki-desu! :-) This is all I know. :-)

Sagnik Nandy said...

what Pilani allows you to audit classes ???? officially?? is this the same Pilani that i went to - people attending classes for fun :O hats off woman!

janani said...

@sagnik - Unfortunately you can't audit all the courses! :-( Just a small list of courses dealing with foreign languages and musical instruments! :-)

Subs said...

ha ha ha ha .. ha ha ha ha ...
ha ha ha ha .. ha ha ha ha ...

yennla siripa control panna ve mudiyala ..
remember - the snap we took with our jap mam .. ha ha ha ..
unaku kooda vara ishtame illaye ..
ha ha ha .. ha ha ha ..
Japanese - ne ozhunga class ku vandhu irundhena - sure aa nalla panni irupa .. first test neyum nalla dhana panna .. nyapagam iruka ..

btw - do u have our books ..
i was searching for it recently and didn't find it ....

aanalum .. jap class samma comedy dhan ...andha rendu seniors nyapagam iruka - jap class influence use panni - compnet la velaya mudichupome .. ha ha ha ..
samma koothu di namma senti sem !

P said...

hahaha! Jan... anthanal nyabagam right! that was a good one!

janani said...

@Subs - Jap classes were a disaster! :-( My only wish is that I hadn't taken them at all and not I wish I had attended classes. :-)

@prabha - Nyabagam varude nyabagam varude nyabagam varude! :-)

Mukund said...

Japanese is a difficult language. I too had a very bad experience with it.

Feel sorry that, I was a small inspiration for you to take that course :)

And big thanks for posting just the good things about me in your blog (now that your blog is getting more hits these days).

sandeep said...

haha! ur Japanese final test..how can i forget it!

janani said...

@Mukund - Unfortunately you were kinda an inspiration for Jap! :-) And yeah inime I will project you as the goody good boy. :-)

@Sandeep - :-)

Anonymous said...

Eigo wa hanasu hito wa imasen-ka.....
which is the word that means "English"????

janani said...

@anon - Despite the lengthy post you still feel I know Jap? :-) Anyways I remember this 'coz I found it funny then - eigo means English. :-)

Deaths Head Roy said...

haha....quite a riot....and ur writing held me interested in the tale all along....

janani said...

@roy - Thank you kind Sir! :-) Btw scary name you've got. :-)

dan said...

Miki
Email me and I will send you the mp3 file of the song

DANNY

http://hiraganasong.blogspot.com

Let's Nihongo: "Hiragana Song" Teaches Japanese to Foreigners

Monday, July 25, 2005

CHIAYI CITY, Taiwan (Wireless Fresh) – Dan Bloom, an English teacher
in Japan and Taiwan since 1991, has released a novelty song via a
RealPlayer file called "The Ah-Eee-Aye-Oo-Oh Song", which attempts to
teach the difficult hiragana sounds to beginning learners of Japanese.
Song available and interviews too. TeL in Taiwan: cellphone

Email me and i will send the MP3 file to you.....SMILE

CONTACT: Dan Bloom
danbloom AT gmail.com

Copyright (c) 2005 Wireless Fresh News Inc. All rights reserved.

Fathima said...

I haven't read the post yet. But saw the topic alone, saw the asterisk and came down to c the xplanation.
Is it the starting lines of any new Tamil song?

Fathima said...

Read the post. ROTFL:-)