Archive for May, 2013

Why Japan?

In my second last year of a business degree at University of Manitoba I needed to pick some electives. Up until that point most of my classes were all accounting and finance related. I decided to give my brain a break and take something completely unrelated to accounting in any way.

In my first attempt at University I took a film studies course that I thoroughly enjoyed. First stop in the course guide – film studies. All of the courses I wanted were full or unavailable. History was another interest of mine, and I noticed a listing for History of Capitalism and History of Communism. Both of these courses were also unavailable.

At this point I started randomly flipping through the course guide to see if I could get any ideas. I happened to stop in the language section. Two courses that caught my attention were Intro to Japanese and Intro to Cantonese. I briefly considered into to Cantonese due to my love of Jackie Chan movies. However, my interest in anime, video games and technology pushed me in the direction of Intro to Japanese. This turned out to be one of the best choices I made in University.

My Intro Japanese course was a full year course starting at the very basics – hiragana and katakana. The class started with about 40 people and 15 dropped out within the first few weeks. In the end there were about 15 Chinese students, 5 Koreans and 5 pasty white Canadians like me. The Chinese students had a big advantage when we started learning kanji because they were already familiar. The Koreans had a big advantage with pronunciation because there are very similar sounds in both languages. Everything was new for me, so the class presented a big challenge.

By the end of the year Intro Japanese was one of my favourite courses because it was a challenge and so different from my other courses. My good experience in the class got me interested in learning more Japanese and the possibility of travelling or teaching in Japan in the future. From randomly flipping through the course guide, I ended up having one of the best adventures of my life.

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Preparing for relaunch

Until a few minutes ago I was having a very productive evening copying my old blog posts, adding notes that I didn’t or could write at the time, and writing posts to fill in the events in between. My original blog wasn’t necessarily censored, but it did leave out a lot of stuff, especially relating to drinking, complaining about my job, or people I met.

I was on a roll, but realized that frantic typing at 1:30am is not conducive to the wife sleeping. Time to call it a night. Old blog posts through the end of September 2003 are now scheduled and ready to go.

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The Ex

In 2003 I was in the 5th year of a relationship with a woman who will from know on be known as “The Ex”. One of the reasons why The Ex became The Ex is due to my travel to Japan. Although The Ex is not a direct part of my experience in Japan, she is an important figure in the time leading up to my departure, and will occasionally pop up in the story.

Anytime someone talks about an ex-girlfriend, especially one from a long term relationship, there is a risk that the content will end up becoming an angry rant. I will do my best to prevent this from happening. The Ex is an intelligent, hard working person. We just weren’t the right people for each other. 10 years later we are both happily married (to other people, duh) and life goes on.

If anyone is reading this blog (and I hope there is), and you feel that I am being unfairly critical of The Ex, PLEASE feel free to call me out on it. I will try to present a balanced perspective. Thanks!

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