Sunday, February 21, 2016

Familiar First Steps to a New Journey

  To pursue intellectual growth is both frightening and invigorating, and each trial of the mind presents us with its own unique perplexities.  We have all overcome great odds throughout our lives, and the ability to improve ourselves is often a battle fought against the natural and societal forces which inadvertently present themselves against us.  These battles must result in victories if we are to advance ourselves, and as individuals we have the capability to do just that.  It is with this confidence in human nature that I have once again set out to broaden my linguistic horizons, and I hope that you will accompany me on this journey.

  Every challenge is daunting at its inception, whether it's the first time behind the wheel of a car or the first day on a brand new job.  And yet, with time and persistence, we are capable of turning the extraordinary into the ordinary.  If you have succeeded in being able to be taught how to operate a vehicle, perform your duties in a place of work, and to comprehend English well enough to read this paragraph, then I sincerely believe that you are capable of learning every other language you wish to pursue.

  All journeys needs a place from whence to begin, and a path on which to place your foot for that first and most harrowing of steps.  Choosing a starting point, physically and mentally preparing yourself for the road ahead, and then actually going out and committing yourself to taking on the journey is -- believe it or not -- the simple part.  You already know what you want to achieve, what basic tools you'll need to meet your goals, and the general direction you'll have to head toward.  The difficult part is then encountered while walking down the route you have chosen, and while overcoming the obstacles which will present themselves on your way.

  For context, I must explain that English, Spanish, and Japanese had all presented themselves to me at different points in my life and in very different ways.  As I was raised in a traditional Northern Michigan Yooper household in the United States of America, I was born into the English language and subjected to several of its dialects.  In my early teenage years, I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in a brief student exchange program with my home town's sister city of Ryou-Cho, Japan, and was thus introduced to basic Japanese (which I sadly let rust into an unusable but fond memory).  Spanish came to me as a necessity of adaptation when I began work in the railroad industry as a track maintainer, and it was either sink or swim -- y ahora, hablo espanol basico, which I padded further with time working in the construction industry in Florida.  So, with English thrust upon me, Japanese pursued for social interactions, and Spanish practiced for capital interests, I have come to appreciate the joy of overcoming the barriers that language places between yourself and another person.

  It is only very recently that I have taken to studying the Japanese language in an effort to rekindle an old flame.  I prepared for this by searching for literature on popular and effective training methods, schools of thought, and tried-and-true techniques.  I had put together a reading list, given time to Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur free trials, and scoured the internet's vast and friendly open source network of videos and free media.  Sadly, nothing truly gripped me in a way which I hoped to find as engaging as my desire was strong.  The motivation and drive are within me, yet the excitement was quickly drowned under monotony and rehashed repetitious training regimens.  So, I figured I would give my hand at learning in the best way I knew how: Chaotically!

  Yes, chaotically.  I am the product of a generation raised on video games, violent movies, foul language, sexual liberation, designer drugs, religious oppression, constant bloody warfare, political corruption, and vivacious music scenes.  Our future appears destitute, our past serves to give us little insight on how to proceed, and yet here we all are, living each of our little lives and progressing toward the future, minute by minute, day by day.  It's a chaos akin to the nature of the universe as seen in everything from the melting snow to the bursting of a super nova.  It's terrible, it's beautiful, and it's honest in its bluntness.

  So, with that dereliction of order as the very essence driving the beating heart of my machine, I have decided to pioneer my own methods through trial and error, and to share my experiences with all of you as I progress throughout this process.  I hope to both entertain and teach, as any good educator would.  However, I also hope to learn, as my methods here are as much to meet my own ends as they are to help you meet yours.

  And with that, I say rock on, and let's begin, shall we?

\m/ (>_<) \m/

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