One Year Studying Japanese

Originally Posted February 1 2016

いま、いちねんぼくはにほんごをべんきょうしています。にほんごはむずかしです、でもぼくにほんはだいすき。

It’s been a long year of studying, and there are many days that I am reminded of the teachers who told me I had no head for language… Because they were right! Learning Japanese is HARD!… But I don’t regret it. Learning a new language is more than just learning words you didn’t know before. You learn a culture, meet people you couldn’t have before, hear things you never could have in English. Deciding to learn Japanese was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while, and it has changed so much for me.

It feels depressing some times to see how much is left that I still don’t know even after a year. Kanji is still near impossible for me. Hypothetical sentences are still beyond me, but then I look back and realize all the things I can do now that I never could have before.

We focus so much in our culture about perfecting our knowledge, getting high grades, or even passing grades that we can scare ourselves away from attempting to understand difficult subjects. But learning isn’t about being perfect…. It’s about constantly moving forward in spite of how little you know. If you finish a test with only 5 out of 100 questions right, that is 5 things you didn’t know before that you now do! The only way to fail at learning is to not attempt it!

So to anyone who wants to study a new language, or any subject that seems too complicated for you, I encourage you to give it a try! Even if you move too slowly to keep up with a class, or use it the way you want to, keep trying at it! Because one day you’ll look back and ask yourself… “How did I get this far?”

がんばてね!

Runners in the Race of Life

Originally Posted January 29 2016

I’ve noticed three main types when it comes to people who want to help others. The first would of course be those who focus on destroying the problem vs helping the victims and I have ranted about them more than enough in life, but I thought I’d focus on the other two.

If life were like jogging, these two would be like two types of runners. The first lives for the adventure and seeing what lies ahead. They’re driven and athletic and nothing can seem to hold them back. As they run about in their merry journey they may come across less fortunate runners who either are running the wrong way, have fallen down and hurt themselves, or are just too scared to even consider starting to run.

When this first group sees such people they feel it is their mission to pick these people up, set them on the right path, and inspire them to run far. Once they’ve done this they quickly run on ahead looking for what life brings them next and if there’s anyone else they can do a good deed for.

The only problem is that they are far too focused on what’s ahead to look back. They don’t see the people they’ve just helped, struggling to keep up with them, scared to be left alone again, and desperately wanting to stay with that person who took the time to care about them. When they finally realize they can’t catch up, or that if they did, that runner has already moved onto the next person, they fall back down again feeling yet again abandoned and meaningless.

Then there’s the second group I’ve noticed. Those who run a little slower than the first. Yes they want to see what lies ahead and to keep moving forward, but that’s not their only priority. When they see the same fallen people they tend to walk along side of them, keeping pace and watching them build confidence. They put a lot of time into those people, months, years, and more making sure they understand the importance of their journey and have confidence they can take it. Then when the people they’re helping become self sufficient runners they let them go off and live their lives as they want, be it continuing to run with them, or with someone else they’ve met. All the while though they keep them within their sight so they can make sure they’re there for them if they need help.

Am I saying the first group are horrible people? No. There is merit in being motivated, and if we don’t keep moving ahead we’ll never be able to help those who need us… But be wary. If you focus on what’s ahead, pay attention to what’s left behind. Lives are not like passing ships. We impact each other in ways we don’t even realize. Take your relationships old and new seriously, because at the end of this race, it’s about how many finish, not who finished first

World Frustrations

Originally Posted January 19 2016

Things I find frustrating about the world:

We have the ability to say things to anyone in any country in the world but more desire to talk than to listen

We have the technology to do amazing things but creativity is destroyed by fear of doing anything new when the old stuff sells just as well

We have access to more information than you could ever read, but no desire to learn

We shame failure and condemn success

What we call a temper tantrum in a child is called leadership in an adult

We believe thinking is about memorization not application

We believe in fighting against something instead of fighting for something

We believe if we put off having opinion we won’t have an opinion

We believe the answer is more freedom and less responsibility

We live in a world with so much noise that one must learn to ignore majority of what is around us

We live in a world where people are too scared of losing what they could have that they will lose all they do have