I believe in determination

Ashley - Lake Villa, Illinois
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in Determination

I believe in the determination needed to learn. Ever since Middle School (When I loved to watch Japanese cartoons on TV), it has been my dream to speak, write, and understand Japanese. I found myself fixated with the language and the symbols, which seemed as impossible to understand as AP Calculus would have been, had I ever attempted it. Except, I desperately wanted to learn Japanese.

In High School, a friend introduced me to the Japanese pop band Antiku Café, and I fell in love with their music (and the lead singer). The more I listened to their music and watched their videos the more deeply I wanted to understand what they were saying. I decided to learn Japanese on my own since high school did not teach it. I focused on the writing forms first. I printed the symbols out from hiragana.com and spent a couple of months copying and tracing them; but I couldn’t remember a single symbol even if I traced it a hundred times.

I thought about giving up, but then I met Cecile, a girl at my school who was teaching herself Japanese. She gave me a box of kana cards-Japanese language flash cards- but still I could not remember the symbols even though I learned the meanings of a few Japanese words. Still, I kept trying.

At the end of my senior year in high school, I learned that the college I would be attending taught Japanese. I felt excited, but my parents did not want me to study Japanese because they thought I should choose classes that were more practical, but I really wanted to learn Japanese. Finally, my parents agreed.

The class was harder than I thought it would be. At first, we had a test or a pop quiz everyday, which was very stressful. Even though I was working really hard, I was barely passing and honestly, I wanted to quit. But, I still loved the language. Plus, I wanted to prove I could learn it. So, I started studying more, and I even did the homework twice just so I could memorize it. The teacher announced we would be having a hiragana test. I freaked out because I could remember 5 symbols out of 46. I went to bed dreading the next day.

I got a 100 percent on my test. I can now read hiragana and katakana fluently. I’m even reading Japanese comic books in the original text. Now, when I listen to Antiku Café, I can understand some phrases. I am determined to continue studying Japanese so I can understand all the lyrics and I can live in Japan someday.

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