Since I’ve been home, I’ve spent a significant amount of time going through all my worldly possessions and – sometimes at the insistence of my mother, sometimes at my own insistence – throwing out what I don’t need or want anymore. I weeded out all the unnecessary books. Most of the stuffed animals can go. All my toy figures can go. I’ll try to sell some of the comic books. One thing I will keep is my college notes. Not all of them, but the ones that matter, and my Japanese notes definitely fall into that category.
I hadn’t studied Japanese before college, so I can pinpoint the day I began to study the language – June 25, 2001. For some reason I chose to study Italian my freshman year. Halfway through the first year, I knew that I’d made a mistake and that I really wanted to be studying Japanese. Initially I looked for study abroad programs, even going as far as asking my Italian professor to write me a letter of recommendation (!). In the end I signed up for the intensive summer course, because it was the only way I could get credit for the work.
I had class from 9AM to 1PM five days a week. Additionally, we were supposed to do six hours of study and preparation outside of class each day – 10 hours a day! I remember calculating the workload at some point, and each day amounted to a week of study during the normal school year: it was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it, and it enabled me to catch up with my classmates.
It’s been 超懐かしい to look through my old notes. The image above is the first page of my first legal pad. As you can tell, nothing got by me:
I also found the very first hiragana I ever wrote:
And my very first kanji:
I’ll be digging through my notes over the next few months to see if I can glean any nuggets of wisdom that I’ve forgotten over the past nine years.