As the first draft of my book is now on the hands of my editor, I spent much time of today for reading issues of the famous weekly magazine TIME, which I buy by subscription.
When I am occupied with my writing, I cannot have enough time to read them. Although I dare find a chance to read one even in such time, it would be as short as 5-10 min a day, then I can’t read through one page. So an issue with lot to read left is accumulated every week.
“If you really want to master English,” my husband says, “You ought to be able to read a whole issue within 30 min, as you can do it with a japanese magazine.” He is right, I think.
Recently I started to think it quite an unusual process to put a foreign language on oneself. Can you think of something without making a single word in your brain? I think not. Thought is controlled by language and vice versa. “If you really want to master foreign language, you have to use it every time, you should think everything with it, and even speak it in sleep” , it would be true.
I have heard about two cases of Japanese who has mastered English completely. One was a young man who had shutterd himself out of society, because of his nervous problem towards others, and read English papers and magazines all day long. The other was a woman, who had learned English so vigorously, in order to see a Hollywood actor she had admired, been to US and stayed there for two years wandering without a place to live. Possibly such drastically alteration of one’s whole life will be needed, in order to introduce and habituate a different system of words into his mind.
“I don’t think it so far,” says my husband, though.
I had a friend who came from a country in asia. He could speak Japanese very well, and he essentially spoke English, but his mother tongue was his countrie’s.
He once told me, he talked to his sons only in English, because they could learn Japanese at school, with their friends. The word used in one’s circumstance has a strong effect. if they used japanese at home, too, they would have difficuty in English, he said so.
“But to my wife, I use our mother tongue, or she would not answer to me,” he said smiling. Or it just might have been his joke.
“Then what language do you use when you think of something?”
I asked him. So he said,
And he would not explain it further. There must have been some secret, or imminent necessity which I should not ask to tell. So I stopped the discussion.
Anyway (today I’m writing so rough and long because I have a lot of time), I will continue to read the issues, so I would be able to get accustomed to English documents and spare more time to read them.
I sometimes write a feedback to the editors by an e-mail. To my happy surprise, the first message I sent was adopted on the Inbox page! Though it was quite snipped short and corrected to a better expression (thank you, editors!)! In other words, it would have meant that feedback from Japan was so few, that even my humble remark was worth picking up…
So I keep sending them messages time to time, where it would be adopted or not, to tell them I am here in Japan, watching the world.