2012/02/03 F – Ikimasu

Yesterday I borrowed my mom’s car to visit Ito (Itou) Dan, whose twentieth anniversary of birth it was.  I had bought a small aloe plant, since I’d given his brother, Tatsunari, a little rose plant on his birthday on 12/28.  (I’d visited them about two weeks before that too, to meet their dad, on his way back to Japan after a week here.)  Last night, Tatsunari and their mother, Ikuko, were there, and Juan Artal and then Miyamoto Mai came later.  Mai brought a delicious cake she had made.  Nobody else came by, Dan having felt too busy with his school work to invite anybody (it was Tatsunari who sent me a message).  I stayed for just over five hours, till nearly 1 a.m. (Dan’s class today was early, but Tatsunari’s was late).  Juan’s inner dancer eventually found its way out, dampening the mood a bit (for me, anyway).  He’d moved back from Orem to the same apartment building as the Itos.  Mai still lived nearby, up the hill, at the place diagonally opposite the capitol building, right above “Valley Hi”, where Tugsuu once lived.

I’d started teaching more Korean to Tatsunari at one point when Dan and Juan had left, and after everybody went home later, we resumed study.  We’ve only spent several days in total studying, spaced months apart, starting way back at their Provo home, and continuing through their next two Salt Lake apartments (one near the Smith’s train stop, and this immediately north-east of LDSBC).  Maybe he’s practiced a little, or a lot, on his own time.  If not, he’s just a naturally excellent candidate for the language.  He seems interested in and well attuned to it, already having a small cognitive stock of aural input from t.v. shows or whatever, and with a very sharp memory.  True to adage, I remember that on the second (or possibly third) day of diversionary “lessons”, I found he could remember the sounds of the letters and was already able to read.  The next time, much later, he needed a bit of review, and we hadn’t gone over all the letters yet, but from there on out, he’s been pretty handy with Han-geul.  He surely must have reviewed on his own.

I usually move directly from reading to basic verbs and their simple present and past tenses, mentioning the standard casual, polite, and formal levels, which we did last night, expanding our verb count.  Tatsunari and I often get side-tracked on Sino-Korean and Chinese (and the underlying sound changes, pushing us further into linguistical and sometimes historical conversations), since he seems to be interested in Mandarin (though I think I’ve sufficiently transmitted at least some recognition of Cantonese).  We don’t usually do Korean outright, hence his impressive progress in so short a time.  Yesternight we reviewed days of the week (shared with Japanese), and some time vocabulary.  As usual, I got a shred of Japanese out of it, but I haven’t spent effort on that lately.

Soon I hope to put some introductory lessons either here or on another page, and then this page can be searched by interested persons.  Resources for Japanese, and now Mandarin Chinese, now overflow the Internet (and I’m no good with those anyway); Korean is a ways behind, meaning that my lessons would not be highly unique, and will probably be more useful to myself.  Cantonese is harder to find; I’m not exactly sure how to structure lessons, though, since it’s not quite as logically ordered as Korean.  Mongolian is not really found yet, I think (though I know little of it anyway).  Plainly, I can only teach as far as I know, which is not extremely far, even though, with Korean, I have a lot more insight into Chinese and a few points of history than I’ve seen on other sites — not that it’s relevant for those just looking for conversability.  Again, anything I do will probably be for my own benefit.

Myeong-Seon, who’s come on week-ends, told me that she got a slightly lower-than-hoped-for score on her last test, which may preclude her acceptance to BYU graduate studies.  She’s still attending her classes at the Pace school.

On my part, I was waiting for the JET programme to accept me to Japan as a native-speaking assistant English-teacher.  Finally, I found that early this morning (if not yesterday), the results had been posted on the site of those who’d been accepted for a February interview, roughly 60% of whom will pass that interview.  Of the remaining 40%, probably less than half will be put on a list of “alternate” applicants who, if desirous, will wait from now till perhaps some time into the next school year to take the places of any programme-participants who are unable to begin or remain in their positions.  The list contained 1,549 identity numbers of applicants; against all of my expectation, mine was not among them.

(The announced successul applicants, absent my 1798179.)

I considered myself excellently suited for the job, from my peculiar background as well as my relatability to Japanese students.  Having wandered around an on-line forum for the programme, I thought the reported potential interview questions would be simple for me.  I concluded that I simply hadn’t been giddy enough toward Japan, as the other, mostly very young applicants were, all caught up in Japanese animation and music and so on.  A few on that forum looked a little more serious about their duty, but I doubted that even they had reached my sobre old age, which must have, with my other submissions, painted a picture of unwanted thoughtfulness to the application reviewers — many of whom I assume are former participants, maybe also among the newer generation.

Trusting destiny, sure of acceptance but unconcerned when rejection came, I was instantly relieved over not having to get any doses of radioactive caesium so soon after the disaster, and I started wondering where I would go instead.  There are a multitude of other placing and hiring entities of differing levels of compensation, apparent reliability, and application complexity.  JET was sort of an assembly-line operation; other places seem to require a lot more… entrepreneurship, or personal initiative, which comes across as higher-risk to me.  I’ll have to spend some time thinking about it.

Initially, I always wanted to go right back to the place I’d just been; Hong Kong again, then Korea, and now, Mongolia.  As I studied here, I started wondering about going for just a year to the new places down south, then working back through the old.  However, the old tend to pay slightly-to-moderately more than the new, which I care a little more about at this impoverished moment.  Japan had seemed a very good compromise, and I could still find another place there, but having been spared from JET (the most obvious advantage being a diminished concern for health), I don’t want to try for it again, at least till the radiation graph gets further along.  Perhaps comparable to a snow blanket in spring, most radioactive breakdown happens early on, while progressively denser areas persist for longer, some almost indefinitely.  I’d already convinced myself not to care, but now it’s fine to care again.

Well, I may have to just sacrifice the southern locations, Vietnam and Siam.  Without returning, even one year there would be a sacrifice of them.  I have no real social ties, and somewhat more abstract language interests…  I may never make it to Japan after all, except for a visit or something.

Maybe it’s not so terribly wrong to just go to Korea already, or Mongol.  I’ll probably just watch the job boards, and, as with JET, follow the chances that appear.

-Steve

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