Here’s some stuff going through my head tonight, and in my life this week, in no particular order:
1. Now that I’ve been learning Kanji for a few weeks now, I find myself recognizing — and actually knowing the meaning of — kanji I see in the real world. It’s pretty cool to suddenly notice stuff that’s been there all along but I just didn’t understand.
2. Speaking of understanding, sometimes when trying to communicate with people here, I’m not sure if it’s them not understanding me or if it’s me not understanding them. It’s a little bewildering at times.
3. My friend just text-messaged me inviting me to go see the new Narnia movie with him this coming week. I’m stoked. But it may be a busy week, so it may or may not actually happen. We’ll see.
4. I’ve been debating for a while about getting an electronic Japanese-English / English-Japanese dictionary. Pretty handy — even necessary — if you’re studying Japanese. After some research, I opted to buy a Nintendo DS instead, along with their dictionary software, KANJI SONOMAMA DS RAKUBIKI JITEN — both of which I just ordered tonight from Amazon Japan. The system and the cartridge together cost less than a lot of the dictionaries you see around Japan. And of course the DS has the added bonus of game play.
5. My boss — GP Asia area director Romy Caringal — is coming to Japan this weekend, and I’ll finally get to meet him in person when he visits Nagoya next week. That’ll be cool.
6. This past Sunday, our church had our morning service outside — at a burial site. We were actually inside this big tomb thing where on the upper levels people’s bones are. It was a Christian tome, so rather unlike the typical Japanese one, but still seemed an odd place for a Sunday morning service. But that’s contextualization. As someone explained to me (as I understood it), in Japanese religious traditions there is a great deal of respect — even veneration or worship — for the dead, and a criticism against Christianity is a lack of respect for the dead and their tombs. These kinds of services are a response to that. Only unlike the Buddhist or Shinto versions, we remember — not worship — the dead. And we remember with hope, not mourning.
And that’s a wrap for this week.