When I was six years-old my father put me in an after school Japanese class. At the time, our entire family was studying a relatively rare defensive martial art taught by only three instructors in the United States. All I needed to know for the "put people in a great deal of pain" class was very basic written and spoken Japanese:
- "Stop, that fucking hurts you asshole". Nihonogo: "itai!!!"
- Body parts
- "Again, please." Which actually in context meant, "hurt me again, please." Nihonogo: "mo-ichido, kudasai."
Being a pompous control freak and a little smart ass with no friends I absolutely despised anything my father was forcing me to do. Japanese class was fun for about six months. Then I began to feel, in all my six years of wisdom, that my father was making me take this class for no good reason and I could be spending time jumping on my trampoline at home instead. After all, all I really needed to know for martial arts were the above statements.
I started faking sick every chance I could get. I managed to never offer up the real situation to my father, "I don't want to do anything you tell me to do, because I'm a damned genius in charge of my own destiny and you can't control me!" But I got out of the class at some point anyway. Score one for passive aggressive behavior.
Like most decisions I attempted to make with pompous estimated foresight, this has bitten me in the ass like a rabid Tyrannosaurus Rex. You know, just like in Jurassic Park.
Cut to twenty years later. Here I am living with Jab and learning that later this year his band will be touring in Japan. His labelmates are already extremely popular in Japan. His bandmate lives down the street from us and is from Japan. We spend a lot of time with him. Jab wants and needs to learn Japanese. If only I wasn't an anal little know-it-all from such a young age, I could be teaching him and showing off and looking more attractive than he already thinks I am.
Then of course there is the utter frustration of sitting at a table with his friends, all of whom are from Japan, and they go on in a conversation that Jab understands but can't involve himself in. And I hear bits and pieces that I vaguely recall, I recall using in conversation, I know deep within my neurons and gray matter that I at one point could write it in kanji. Perhaps it's a bit like being the sensation of ghost limbs after being an amputee.
It gets even better: I may go to Japan as well. I won't have a translator, I will probably be on my own more often than not. I'm sure as hell not going to let this preclude me from a fabulous adventure, though.
So there you go dad, my weird twisted life of fates that taunt me like cookies in a cookie jar on top of the fridge have gotten me. You win. I should have stuck with Japanese.