The Dreaded “Day of the Speeches”

Class days like today are really, really frustrating. We only had morning classes, and today’s topic: Keigo, or extra-polite Japanese speech. A topic that’s fairly esoteric for the terminally informal American, and one that actually spans two full chapters in the Genki 2 textbook. And we tried to stuff it into 3 hours. It’s something I really want to know about and understand, since I think it’s very important in being thought of as well-educated in the language. But this was even less time spent on the topic than 2 years ago. I have no other choice than to battle-through on my own at home, which is really a shame.

At last, the dreaded IJP Speeches (Happyoukai 発表会) arrived, and with 17 participants it was a true marathon. I think I did just fine and people usually pickup right away that I’m a teacher and seasoned presentation-giver, even with my elementary-school Japanese vocabulary and topic. If the program gets any bigger, they really will need to re-think how—or if—to do speeches. It was rather grueling…

But then comes the best part of the speeches: the incredible feeling you get after the extreme weight of it all is lifted from your shoulders! In the evening, I tried to fumble my way through the largest homework assignment we’ve had to date: 6 pages about Keigo—another frustration.

Tomorrow there’s only a brief morning lecture, then we’re off to see one of the most famous festivals in all of Japan—Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri. I’m really excited for that!

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