Jikiden Reiki

Jikiden Reiki is the Reiki from its birth place, Japan.
Nothing is added or amended from its original teaching from Mr. Chujiro Hayashi, one of the 20 students of Mr. Usui, the founder of Reiki.

5 Apr 2012

Mission as a translator

I moved to Canada in 1999, August.

I was born in Montreal (but my family went back to Japan when I was 2 yrs old, so I have no memory nor English/French at all), my mother was graduated from a Christian school,
so she had many connection with missionaries and their friends. 
My hometown Nagasaki is famous for having old churches and also Sasebo-city has American Naval base, and I saw many Americans in the town especially in the weekends.

As you can see, I had many opportunity to meet people from foreign country, 
and I was not shy to communicate with them with my poor English.

I liked English in school, however, my English wasn't that good at all. 

When I decided to spend time in Canada for 1 year in 1999, I thought I had to be able to understand what people are saying in native English, so I started to learn 
English, a little bit differently than the school time which focuses on reading, writing and grammar, than hearing and speaking.

I started to watch the american TV show.  My favourite shows back then was Beverly Hills 90210, and Ally Mcbeal.

I recorded the show and watched in English first, even though I did not understand the story, watched it until the end. Then rewinded and watched the whole show again in Japanese.  Then rewinded again and watched in English after I understood the story.

I repeated over and over, and this was my way of preparing the trip to Canada.

However, I was not aware of the weak spot of this learning process. I was so happy
to be able to understand the native speaker's conversation, but once I came to
Canada and realized,

" I can not speak. "

I vaguely understood what people were speaking, but I could not say what I wanted
to say !!! 
By the time I understood the conversation, and trying to make the sentence to reply, 
the conversation moved on forward. I often just stayed quiet,
because I was just not fast enough to make the sentence in my head. 

The first 3 days in Canada, I had a brain-ache.  It was very obvious that it was not 
a normal headache, but brain really ached.  It was probably like the muscle sore after
the first day of the gym training. 

On top of this, I came to this rural town called Chilliwack, and there was no
Japanese in this town.  I did not have any chance to speak Japanese for 4 month,
other than the international phone with my sister for few times.

Finally, I made a Japanese friend who happened to visit Chilliwack,
but lived in Vancouver.  For the first time in 4 month, I went to Vancouver,
the big city (for me), and was in shock.

There were so many Japanese people. They could almost live without speaking English in Vancouver! Also I realized that I was losing my ability to speak Japanese !

Me : "What was the place where airplanes come and go?"
Friend : ",,, um. You mean, airport?"
Me : "Yeah, airport, airport! I almost forgot the word "airport"! "

In my head, 
" I did not speak Japanese for only 4 months, and I could forget the simple
word like "airport"???   My English isn't that great, and I am now losing my Japanese? "

"Where did my communication skill go??? " 

My first year in Canada went by really quick, and it has been almost 13 years since then.

Back then, I would never thought or imagined that I would take this responsibility 
that I now have occasionally .

It is a "translator" . 

To be continued


Gisela Stewart said...

I know the feeling Mari, being between two languages. I now can't remember so many common words in German and when I read a book, I get that excited feeling when you read something in another language and you think: Oh, yes, that's how you say things! But as soon as I open my mouth here in Britain people realise I'm not one of them, i.e. a foreigner... At times uncomfortable, but still there's a lot of freedom in such an inbetween state....

Mari Okazaki said...

I am reserved about my English ability, but I also notice my Japanese is funny sometime. So I keep watching Japanese show on internet to keep up my Japanese! :)