Dolly’s Japanese Total Immersion Challenge

Cure Dolly Returns to Japan
Cure Dolly Returns to Japan

So much is happening to your Dolly right now. The book covering my first month or so in Japan has come out just as I am in the final stages of preparing to go back to Japan.

Last time I went to Japan, my self-challenge was to speak and communicate only in Japanese. I was one year old at the time, in Japanese terms. That is to say I had only been learning the language for one year, but very intensively,  the loose “system” outlined on this site.

I succeeded in this challenge, even though my Japanese was far from wonderful. Even when the police questioned me about my suspicious wanderings (I got lost and apparently had wandered where I shouldn’t be) and asked if I spoke English, I said えぇーと、ちょっーとand generally looked as if English wasn’t exactly my long suit – because really, I had disabled my English circuit board – and they decided to manage with my Japanese.

This time’s challenge is bigger. I am three now, after all. My challenge this time is to think in Japanese. Of course it is much easier to control one’s outward actions than one’s thoughts and I cannot expect to have the 100% success rate I had with only using Japanese outwardly.

But, as we discussed in How to Think in Japanese, outward usage is the key to inner thoughts. Last time I was in Japan I wrote extensively about it, in English. Some of those writings formed the basis for the new book.

However, when you are going to write about an experience in English, especially if you are a writer at heart, you can’t help thinking about the experience in English. And thus experiencing the experience in English.

You are always thinking. “Oh, this is lovely! How will I describe this?” or “These feelings are so deep and so subtle, how can I convey them?” And of course you aren’t even thinking that precisely. What you are doing is internally verbalizing the experience itself in the way that you hope to convey it.

So this time I will be writing about my Japanese experience only in Japanese, and I will be isolating myself as far as possible from written as well as spoken English. Cure Yasashiku has kindly volunteered to translate my Japan Diaries into English for a few non-Japanese-speaking friends, so that they can stay informed. Everyone  who knows no or little Japanese is being very understanding about the fact that I will not be in direct contact with them during this time. The translations will not be made public, neither will I see them.

We have started a new blog, which will publicast my Japanese diaries proper, called 人形の日記 .This is the first website we have made entirely in Japanese, and I am really excited for it. Please follow it, and please feel free to comment (but only in Japanese, of course).

I will also be putting my diary entries on the Kawaii Japanese Forums. There I will likely engage in a little more dolly oshaberi at times that may not be suitable for the official Diary. Feel free to join the conversation (again, of course, in Japanese). Don’t worry if you need Rikai to help you read and don’t worry if your Japanese is a little basic. If you just say こんにちは I will be delighted!

Remember that the way to really make Japanese your language is to use it. Get your hands dirty, make mistakes. Use a fun Japanese-only identity if you are worried about silly people sneering at you, and know that you will end up way ahead of them with their sanitized “best china” Japanese that they never dare use in case they get a chip in it.

I have written a few articles in advance that will be posted when I am away, so you won’t be entirely without English Dolly blather (sorry if I raised your hopes there), and in case you don’t read Japanese, or you just want to get the backstory of what happened the first time I was in Japan, my book An Alien Doll in Japan has been released just today.

I am kind of hoping my two-year-old adventures will be a little bit less disaster-fraught. However, since the language wasn’t the main problem last time, that may be over-hopeful.

It will also be interesting to see how my Japanese reflections differ from my English ones.

So, mata aki ne, dear, dear readers. I want to thank you for supporting our humble little site over the last few years and for growing more numerous with every passing week. I always really enjoy talking to you and sharing my thoughts and findings on my Japanese journey.

That sounds a bit “farewell-y”, doesn’t it? It isn’t. I will be back during the Fall and continuing to share with you all, and I hope you will be here too (yes, you. Did you think I hadn’t noticed you? I am always happy to see your face).

And if you can manage a little Japanese, I will be very happy if you would give me a little ouen (support, cheering on) on my My Diary or on the Forums. If I’m honest, going alone to Japan is just a little scary. I am very shy and outside Japan I rarely cross a street alone. So if you just pop me the odd comment it will help me a lot! It will be good for your Japanese too!

I know there are a few hundred regular readers for every one who comments even once, but remember, even if you can’t manage a comment, Dolly loves you all!

<Wave ; style= tiny Dolly-sized handkerchief>

さようなら。

</wave>

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