Earlier this year, I was accepted to participate in the JET programme. After what felt like an eon, I got my placement: Gunma prefecture. If you’re like me and don’t know a lot about Japan, you probably thought the same thing: “Where’s that?”
This was quickly followed by a google search and a fast and furious reading of the wikipedia page for Gunma. Capital city: Maebashi. A mountainous region once known for horsebreeding. It’s main economy is boostered by agriculture(konjacs and cabbages), silk farming, and car manufacturing.
I later found out that I would be placed in Takasaki city. A city famous for the Daruma doll.
My placement is not a big city like Tokyo, but more rural. As I am currently living in North Hollywood near LA, I’m definitely ready for a change of pace.
I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m scared. This is something I’ve been working towards since I was still in Italy trying to figure out how I could live and work abroad. Living abroad was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I have ever had. I can’t wait to do it all over again.
I will be sure to set my goals and intentions in a following blog post.
After I studied abroad in Italy for a year (2011 – 2012), I became fascinated with languages. Traveling Europe, I began to see how multilingual people were constantly in the process of learning and mastering other languages. This is incredibly different than the American mentality of monolingualism.
It follows the old joke:
What do you call someone that speaks three languages?
What do you call someone that speaks two languages?
What do you call someone that speaks one language?
And of course, as most polyglots know, as soon as you get far enough in your second language, you want to learn more and more languages. I guess I am no different:
Which language(s) are you learning – why those?
I am in the process of learning Japanese as I have applied to go through the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program. I am hoping to be able to survive, hold a decent conversation with Japanese people, and immerse myself once I go over to Japan. I’ve loved Japan since I was young watching Sailor Moon and DragonBall Z.
I studied Italian for two semesters before I left to live in Italy for 11 months where I studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence through the CSU International Programs. Much of my knowledge of Italian vocabulary focuses on art terms or cooking terms. While Italian is on the backburner, I do love to read Italian memes and watch videos on Italian cooking taught by old Italian cooks.
During my Master’s program, I was considering where I wanted to go abroad. While I was in Italy, the Arab Spring brought a lot of people from different countries to Italy so I met many Arabic people that I thought were very friendly. During my second to last semester in grad school, I decided to take Arabic 101. Man! What a difficult language! But I love the way Arabic looks and its potential for beautiful calligraphy. I am definitely interested in visiting either Morocco, Egypt or Jordan someday.
I applied for the JET Program (Japan Exchange and Teaching) in November, and interviewed early February. I won’t hear the results until late March/early April.
Currently, I’m in a Japanese 101 class (again). This is much different than the time I was learning Italian before I went to Italy. Now I am much more experienced in language and the language of language.
I will be using this blog to post more about my language learning experiences, as well as posting more photos from this year.