One of the major reasons why I do not converse much in Japanese is because, I dislike misunderstandings. If you look at the numbers, you can understand why I can’t do conversation.
In my current situation, when I am reading I understand about 3,200 words. However, that does not mean I have perfect understanding when conversing. Furthermore, daily conversation requires about 5,000 words. When I’m participating in daily conversation, I have to guess at least 15% of the material! The active vocabulary of an average college graduate is about 10,000 words (31%). This kind of margin for error is gigantic!
That said, a little bit after 8am this morning, someone with whom I had just become acquainted wanted to talk about my opinions on international politics in a room with a number of reporters. YEAH RIGHT. I’ll take a rain check on that one.
In the depths of my 2012 unemployment, I made a mathematical prediction that I would not find employment with a company for another 27.7 weeks. I just decided to fact check it!
7 weeks after that statement, I took on work as an independent contractor analyzing search results from the end-user’s experience according to a rigorous set of parameters. The work was very interesting, but sparse and stressful with it’s time restrictions. It sometimes involved me watching countless editions of “Gagangnam Style,” and “The Harlem Shake,” while fighting with my room mates for bandwidth. I continued searching for a better job. Eventually, I cracked and applied somewhere I absolutely knew would hire me. (Jesus called me for an interview less than 24 hours after I submitted my resume.)
I began my first day of work for a brick and mortar company (which operated under an aegis or two) after ~20 weeks. I promptly exited that company 6 weeks later due to personal reasons. Two weeks after that, two incredibly fitting, (but low paying jobs) practically fell into my lap less than 24 hours apart and I had to sit down with a spread sheet and cost out the potential educational and earning benefits between the two jobs at the 28 week mark.
My employment prediction would not be inaccurate, if I adjusted it to say, that I would find a job that I was somewhat satisfied with in roughly 27.7 weeks, rather than that I would just find a company that would hire me.
I was in the book store today, and I really started looking for a book I might be able to read…
I saw one that seemed to be labeled as a part of Japan’s zero tolerance for bullying campaign. Thinking that was relevant to my work as a teacher I picked it up…I was surprised at how well I could understand the story through the first few pages. It was about a 15 year old girl who had dreams to be a scuba diver, and have a nice family of her own. Of course aspiring to have a home and husband is either pervasive (or for some weird reason one of the few topics I can understand, hence pervasive) in literature targeted at females in Japan. It was written for young adults. Then I decide to translate the title (which I could not read before opening the book) and it was something to the effect of, “My Suicide Note.”
I instantly didn’t want that sort of book to be the first full length work that I purchased. I put it down and walked away.