A couple of days ago, I got a pretty sweet invitation. It’s the opportunity to go to Japan in a year or so, with a group. The chance also possibly (depending on the ticket lottery) involves the chance to see the 2020 Olympics.
It is pretty much the chance of a lifetime. I would have a chance to use the Japanese I’ve been working really hard on learning. Maybe I’d even like it there…
… and I declined. I’m not going.
The honest truth is, I have no expectation whatsoever that I will go to Japan before I die.
There are about three reasons that I had to refuse the invitation.
- I do not fly well. By which I mean that I’m white knuckled on even the shortest of flights. I cannot imagine flying fifteen hours and then knowing that my only way home is another very long flight.
- I will be in a country where I know almost no one, speak just enough of the language to get around, and if I get sick or something happens to be I’m screwed.
- Considering the amount of time such a trip requires, working around that with my job would be difficult.
I don’t know why I’m learning Japanese. I don’t know anyone in Japan, I know few people from Japan, I don’t really consume anime and only a little bit of manga. In the Austin area there are very, very few Japanese speakers – certainly not enough for it to be a necessary skill. I basically picked the least useful, most difficult language out there just to do it. And right now I’m having a crisis of confidence on multiple levels.
To be quite frank, there are better things I could and should be doing. But I continue spending time on this interesting but dead-end pursuit. It’s, frankly, no less a waste of time at the moment than staring at YouTube for hours on end.
I guess it’s a mystery and always will be.