Rya, Ryu, Ryo
I spent last night burning cds with Takao, laughing really hard about silly things that have happened at the school (Takao is a new teacher at Edosaki this year) as well as laughing about silly things that have happened to me as a foreigner here, and silly things I've said to people as I've learned the language. I had my horribly messy Japanese writing scrutinized, and some of my self-instructed homework examined, and spent an hour trying to figure how to make three sounds in the Japanese phonetics system that will be the death of me. Rya, ryu, ryo. We don't have these sounds in English, and I find them really hard to say. I even avoid many words that use these sounds, as I know I don't say them well. This is sad, because I avoid saying "I cooked" (ryori shita) and will choose "I made" (tsukuta) instead. This is fine, as I probably say "I made nani nani" in English as well, over "I cooked nani nani", but this is just one case. And I'm sure I say poor Ryu's name, my buddy from last entry, a little awkwardly. But after an hour of what probably sounded like zen meditation to my neighbors (rya rya rya, ryu, ryu, ryu, ryo, ryo, ryo) I have a better handle on the sounds, though my "ryo" still needs a little more work. It sounds more like "riyo" than "ryo". Hey, I can't trill my r's either, so Spanish would be out of the question. But I'm trying.
And also, the more I learn, the harder it gets. I think it was easier for me to improvise speaking with less grammar. The more I learn, the more I want to use the new grammar, but it gets harder and harder, and I have to concentrate more intensely than usual to speak now, unless I fall back on simple sentences. But I don't want to do that, so I've got to keep trucking, I guess.
Onwards and upwards, or is it upwards and onwards? Either way, it's in that direction I've got to go.