What Difference A Day Makes

My goal for the longest time now is to start writing in Japanese. Writing about it feels like playing a broken record that repeats itself at the same spot time and again. I delayed starting to write many times, and I had many excuses for not starting. One of the first was “I lack the necessary grammar and vocabulary”, “I want to write about interesting things”, “I want to be able to express myself like an adult of my age.” There are probably more that even I have forgotten, but this is perhaps one of the saddest of all excuses I could have come up with “Communicating in the language is not that important to me, getting better at reading and listening is, so starting to write can wait ad infinitum.” Wanting to write but feeling unable to do so is frustrating. The easy way out of it is to find excuses why something isn’t working, as opposed to working on the problem to improve.

The last few days made all the difference to me. It seemed as if everything comes to me, my reviews became a breeze, I read websites like it was nothing, I start a game such as ドラゴンクエスト I+II and I understand big parts of it, I tune into my favorite radio stations and can enjoy the music and conversation. Of course, this is not the reason why I am convinced now that I can start writing. Can you hear the crackled sound? The needle moving back and forth? Yes, I am going to write in Japanese, going to write in Japanese, going to write in Japanese … I will keep a diary in Japanese, I will write comments as often as possible, I will work hard on my style, usage of words, and everything else that needs to be worked on. Am I convinced that I can do it now? Yes! And here is why. It all started very innocently. I was visiting youtube to watch a video of a Japanese artist I admire. After discovering the video, I just had to comment how great I find his works. My comment was published, not a very long one, but nonetheless. It was written in Japanese, and I didn’t even have to think much about what I wanted to write, it was just in my head and I had to type it. After a check to confirm that it was valid, meaning correct wording, it was there to read for the general public.

Shortly after this comment I posted another. And I made the same experience as with the first one. It was clear what I wanted to say, and without much thinking, the words formed in my head, and found their way to the keyboard. Of course this is not the reason why I will start with it now, convinced that I can all of a sudden write whatever I want to. If I did, it would be a boastful lie. Actually it all started with a comment left by a nice follower who also learns Japanese. She has made it a habit to start writing right from the get-go, with whatever vocabulary she thinks she can use. I admired her for it. In the weeks to come I started keeping bookmarks of websites that might be useful for the time I would start. As it proofs now, none of them is even remotely helpful, to guide me in the process of writing. Something I thought I would need, a book, a website, just something that makes for a smoother start. The websites were mostly there to write, here is one of them I was planning to use, called mindia I enjoyed writing on such a website in german some years ago, so it was luck that I found something similar in Japanese. Last year, around September or October, I found a book called “Writing E-Mail in Japanese.” Back then, I was reading it just for the purpose of being able to read it, but also because I thought I could start writing that time around. So, books also weren’t the answer. But some day, maybe. *crackle*

As it was with most of the actually helpful resources, I discovered them by sheer luck while searching for something totally unrelated. I am convinced that some things just want to be found when the time has come. Yesterday was such a lucky day because I found mori7 This website is all about writing, with pointers and hints, with tips and an abundant wealth of articles to work with. It is for children, not everything is free, but what is free is utmost useful. There are short essays from children, there are corrections for them, articles that give deep insights not only into the topic of writing, but also about how Japanese people look at the world. In short, it is incredible, and it came at the right time. It is because of this website that I am going to start, *screeeeech*

There is one other thing and it happened yesterday. Or shall I say, started yesterday? I was back to my Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, reviewing basically, and to check my understanding of sentences. In the notes sections, sometimes other grammar points are listed, and information is given how they are used, when to use them, and how they can change the meaning of sentences. While reading an example sentence, and after reading the explanation, I started to change the some sentences in my head. Different words, a different grammar point, making it more vague, a little more polite, and so on. In short, I was using actively without being aware of it at first, what I learned in the past three years. This, I think, finally tipped the scale. When I can think it, I can write it, and I can say it if it has to be. I just have to do it, and I will do it.

A day can really make all the difference. To brill in writing will take longer than 24 hours. It is quite a step up from short communication, or short answers and comments I have had before, to longer ones. But what is time anyway? All I know is that I have to work even harder now, and it will pay off twice as much.

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