They grow, they do.
One thing I can say about having been to Oahu recently is that it gave me ample opportunities to read Japanese language — and overhear conversation, which isn’t of much use at this point, except for distinguishing regional dialect.
I read the name of what is likely my family’s dialect [chugoku-ben] in one of my books (Okamura, 2014), based on the region my ancestors came from, combined with the historical context (that is, why and when they came). It’s fairly clear to D and I that there are some speakers (mostly older, at this point) who are easier for us to understand; this likely has to do with both dialect and generation. That is, if it is chugoku-ben that we recognize and understand, it’s likely the chugoku-ben of older generations, not as it is moving on (as many things continue to do) in Japan.
I can only read nihongo partially right now, due to the fact that I don’t know a lot of kanji as things stand. However…if we do move to Oahu, it’s a pretty sure bet that I will have the resources and immersion necessary to actually learn the language. That, in turn, should give me greater access to one of the cultures which has been likely key in my formation. (Most of my adult life has been spent seeking out my own identity; so to be able to recognize the influences on me, would help.)
As stated prior, there are a good number of kanji that I see and recognize, but of which, I just don’t know the corresponding meaning or reading. I was reading through the Table of Contents of a Genki textbook the other day, and found a bunch of these. Because I have so many resources, I’m thinking of hacking it and taking bits and pieces from multiple sources to hasten my learning.
Right now I’m trying to figure out if and where to get rid of my old Japanese-language manga (these are tankoubon, not like an issue of Shounen Jump [I don’t know the technical term for one of these: zasshi?], which would be more akin to a large phone book with multiple individual installments of various running manga published by Jump Comics).
I’ll probably end up taking them to a comic-book store or a used-book store. The thing is…I would give them to the library, but I suspect they’ll be sold at $1 a piece in the bookstore, which is far below their value. I also am not certain they would sell Japanese-language books. However, I’m not sure they’re worth packing up and taking to Oahu (especially given that these series are so old).
Not that I think I’d ever really get back to these, but for the sake of records:
- Bastard!! #5 (this is the actual title, I’m not randomly cursing)
- Inu Yasha #22
- Last Final Election, The (a collection of YYH slash doujinshi)
- Rurouni Kenshin #1
- Tenshi Kinryoku (Angel Sanctuary) #1
- Yuu Yuu Hakusho #7
- Yuu Yuu Hakusho #14
When I got these, I was so young that I may have colored in some of the graphics, but I honestly can’t remember in which of my manga I may have done this…
And yeah…my Japanese instructor from college told me that it’s best not to learn Japanese entirely from manga and anime, or your frame of reference gets distorted (that is, you end up talking weird, and thinking it’s normal).
Nevertheless, these (like my Sailor Moon books which compiled screenshots of the multiple series that never made it into official English translation) did provide me translation fodder when I was a kid.
Now if I found something like Urusei Yatsura, or another classic, that would be different…(come to think of it, a lot of the anime we had [like Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer] was on VHS, and is thus unreadable without a working VHS player…HELLO OBSOLESCENCE).
Then again, it’s what — seven books?
And holy…I just opened to a random page of Inu Yasha and knew what point the story was at, because I could read most of the words with the help of furigana. I also knew who the characters were, and what the time period was, in which the story was taking place.
I still don’t want Rurouni Kenshin or Tenshi Kinryoku, though. That latter one is super depressing, and the former…just too silly. Though Samurai X (the movie), which was the precursor to Rurouni Kenshin, was good.
So now I’m down to what — five? (I’ll just have to cut something else out.)
I picked up Bastard!! because I liked the drawing style, though seriously, that manga is basically adult, for the U.S. I have one of the videos, too, which is kinda soft-core. Not kidding. Don’t try to watch that one with your parents in the room. Not even if you’re an adult. Just don’t.
And…yes, I actually would be okay with giving away Tenshi Kinryoku and Rurouni Kenshin to the Friends of the Library…
…but not the other ones.
I’VE MADE STRIDES! 😀 😉
I’ve also found that letting go of the desire to create a graphic novel has paradoxically made it easier to play around with paper, pens (I’ve recently discovered [non-desiccated] Posca markers), and Washi tape, and make some interesting stuff.
I’m thinking of trying to write letters (physical ones) to family on the island, now. It would give me motivation and an aim in getting back into Art Practice, though it would likely be Art Letters or something, where I’m doing something that’s between an art journal and a letter. I’m thinking back to Van Gogh here, but I’m sure that illustrated/designed letters have existed elsewhere in the past.
Anyhow…I’ve got way too much to read, especially if I’m going to be dumping a lot of this stuff. I won’t be able to tell what’s worth keeping without looking at it, that is.
Maybe I should set aside things that are on my shelf which I have never read…
Okamura, J. Y. (2014). From race to ethnicity: Interpreting Japanese American experiences in Hawai’i. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.