Monday, November 07, 2005

Language Completion

Reflecting back on the past 9 weeks of Japanese brings to mind all sorts of culinary metaphors, mainly having to do with taking a melon baller to various parts of my brain. That is Japanese study: little balls of gray matter scattered all over the floor. Particularly in the beginning, everyday left me drooling and somehow linguistically incontinent. I would open my mouth to speak, and only little dribbles of English or Japanese would leak out. As my roommate seemed to be experiencing the same in Arabic, it made for some interesting post-work conversations.

However, goal achieved. I'm no longer on language probabtion. Yippee!

Even though the Department is satisfied with my current Japanese ablity, I know that the amount of Japanese I have right now (or at least, what little was left after the interesting language 'valve release' phenomenon that seems to strike everyone post-testing) is not enough to function at post. Or at any rate, not enough to function rapidly and without glaring inconsistencies in grammar, vocab, and honorifics levels during visa interviews. It's frustrating, especially considering I now have 9 weeks of consular training and 9 weeks of Portuguese to look forward to. If I were learning, say, Spanish, this wouldn't be a problem; the same training time would have taken me to a much higher level. But State is not willing to invest the money and time it would take to get me to really smashing Japanese -- at least not until I'm tenured, and they're guaranteed a return on the investment. It makes some sense, but it's still a bitter pill to swallow.

On to ConGen!

4 comments:

Prince Roy said...

wait, why are they giving you nine weeks of Japanese AND nine weeks of Portuguese?

Katie said...

Roughly 1/2 the visas applicants at the consulate in Osaka are Brazilians; hence, Portuguese. I'll explain more later...

Editfish said...

If the Japanese are part of the Visa Waiver Program, then who makes up the remaining 1/2 of all applicants?

Katie said...

Visa Waiver only covers B1/B2 visas -- basic short term tourism and business trips. Anything more long term or more complicated (student programs, working in the States, etc.) still requires a visa for Japanese citizens.

And there are also Koreans, Peruvians, Chinese, and other TCNs in Osaka.