The long way to......

essays about my daily life. It will be something about India since it makes me happy and bothers me a lot.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


If writing can be a consolation to one’s pain, I think I should write this to console me even if this piece of article is a total self-complacency.

My friend’s casual comment about non-English speaking students learning in English somehow bothered me or hurt me knowing there was no such a vicious intent. It was about we, non-English speaking or native, are much in better position in learning in English compared with Indians learning in Chinese or French. I was rather sad to hear this than getting furious. There is no difference between non-English speakers learning in English and English speakers learn in other languages in terms of both are new and foreign.

I have been bothered by this insensitivity towards us learning in English in India ever since I came here. It was much better in the US, I guess. People may laugh at my funny English but have never looked down on me in that senes. And there was an understanding that I do not speak English because I am from Japan and am trying to master it.

The reason might be related to the fact that an education in English is prestigious in India rather than an education in mother tongue. That might be the whole reason of this insensitivity or making fun of it.

As for my own encounter with English, it was when I was twelve at a junior high school when I first learned alphabets. I still remember the first dialogue in my English textbook. It was “Hello, My name is Yumi Araki”, “Hi, My name is Mike Davis,” “Nice to meet you” and “Nice to meet you, too”. The next chapter was about Yumi, a Japanese girl, introduced her friend Ken to Mike. There were English classed twice or three times a week. But that’s it. In Japan, the education in conducted in Japanese even in the higher education like universities. Therefore, I had my education in Japanese throughout my life except one year in UC and two years in JNU.

It is true that Japanese are less competitive in the field of academics or whatever due to lack of ability of English. In addition, I should not use the fact that I did not have an education in English as an excuse for my bad English or for not being able to use the article properly . But at the same time, we rather I, should not forget about efforts of Japanese who tried to make Japanese language develop to the level that we can have higher education in mother tongue. Before and after the Meji Restoration, new western ideas which never had existed were flooded into Japan. Japanese thought hard to make up new Japanese words which can convey the meaning of those new ideas. For example, the four Chinese characters which mean the Communism and Democracy were invented at that time. Now, Chinese people use that word in China where those characters are originally from.

I guess what I can do is to be proud of my ability of Japanese and at the same time to keep brushing up my English . In this sense, Ha Jin is a role model for me. He teaches me that it is not too late to do that and I can make it someday. In addition, I need to remember those exciting feeling of learning new language, which I felt before.

Or whole this obsession comes from my own weakness. Because my wrong side is winning. If I were much stronger, I would not be bothered by what other people think.


Blogger Carina said...

Dear Aya,

I just found you blog, through Satya's. He's a very good friend of mine.

I like what you write and, let me tell you, you're English seems quite good too.

My skills in the language are decreasing... Portuguese is my mother tongue and I'm doing my current studies in French (with 1 or 2 courses in English), but then I also speak or just listen everyday to Spanish, Italian and, or course, English. Europe is such a linguistic mess!!;)

Unfortunally I didn't have the chance to meet you while I was in Delhi last year. Next time...

Good luck with your studies at JNU.

All the best!

1:57 PM  
Blogger aya said...

Dear Carina,

Thanks for your comment! Yeah, it is difficult to study in other languages but we should keep our mind high! In the end, we will be able to speak many languages.( I hope)


9:49 AM  

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