The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Japanese Language Study: Trust - A Man and His Words


I've been busy. This week there was a trade show in town, at which I had to work. I also had to take various bigshots from out of town (many of them from Japan) to various customer meetings.

It was a good opportunity to see how my Japanese Language skills have come along. The bottom line is, that I'm doing ok.

At full speed, I found that I couldn't keep up with my Japanese visitors, but I COULD catch some words, and I could generally get the gist of what they were talking about. My own vocabulary was limited, but again, I could generally get across what I wanted to say. So in the end, I could hold simple, but meaningful conversations.

Right now, I can understand the meaning of about 250 kanji, in addition to being able to read both hiragana and katakana. From labels and markings, I was surprised how much I could make out. Perhaps not the exact wording of something, but the basic meaning.

My Japanese collegue at work will be moving back to Japan early next year. I met his replacement during the show. He'll move here in January some time. His English is a little better (but not much) than my Japanese, but we were able to get by. We agreed to help each other with our language skills after his move. I'm looking forward to it.

My Japanese visitors, most of them being upper management, are very pleased and appreciative of my efforts. In this time of tight travel budgets, one of them extended his invitation for me to come and visit him in Japan; so I'm sure my management will take advantage to send me there sometime next year.

This particular bigshot took quite a bit of enjoyment in teaching me some new kanji. One of them was a component of his name. The kanji is: 信. The character on the left means 'person.' The one on the right means 'words.' The meaning is: trust, faith, fidelity, etc.

A man and his words.

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