Indeed, it’s mission comprete!
While also it seems the changing L’s ro R’s joke has already started and I’m not even in Japan… and I can only imagine it is going to get worse with time.
‘Oh yeh o-samu-chan you can do that cos you went to good correge’ was one of the one’s that almost made me spit out my beer during lunch today.
But enough of the quasi racism (for now), because… I did it! Did what? I completed Mission total Immersion 2: Mission semi immersion: Japan in Milan. What was that? Ah man could someone please care about what I am up to…
The specific goal of MTI2: Japan in MIlan was to be spending 3 hours in contact with the Japanese language everyday while in Milan. Well I absolutely smashed that objective as a month after it’s announcement I find myself wearing slippers, drinking green tea, and writing this from a Japanese family’s house, in which I am as of now a resident.
Am I paying rent? No. Am I eating delicious Japanese Italian food? Yes. Am I going to tell you how I ended up here? No… it would only ruin the mystique. Like David Copperfield pointing out that he was just standing behind a mirror, by explaining my ways, the wonder would only be demolished, and my trickery and wicked feats would no longer be nearly as intriguing.
Ok I met a Japanese person and then met their family and they had a spare room and I asked if I could live there and they said ok. There, you’ve now peaked behind the smokey and awe-drenched mirror, to the cold and honest changing room where the grown magicians cry after every show. I hope it was worth it.
On a more serious note though, I am pretty impressed with myself. Just like with all MTIs, I never know what path they wish to take me down, and again after another announcement, I now find myself in another strange situation. Not only strange though, but unique. To have said that I wanted to be learning Japanese, to have said that I wanted to spending time everyday with Japanese people, and to then be a month later staying in a Japanese house, speaking Japanese all day with the mother, while we do the preparation for the often arduous task that is Japanese cooking, that’s pretty cool, and I safely can say I’ve done a good job.
I’m starting to believe that not only is an adventure not bike-dependent, but I would also now have to say that I don’t consider it to be location dependent anymore either. At home, If you live in a city, nowadays there is a whole world around the corner from your house, just like what I’ve found now in Milan. The only reason I’m finding all these things now is not because I left London, but because I’m trying, because I’m willing to let go of everything else that I’m doing in the pursuit of new experiences and people.
Now I hope that doesn’t sound preachy, it’s just what I’m doing, and I’m really not saying that anyone else should do the same thing. The last thing I am is one of those rampant travelers who can’t understand how people can enjoy life when not looking at Thai people making rice or getting diarrea in some poo infested hellhole in India. In fact I’m sort of to the contrary and, as this journey continues, find myself sliding more and more towards the idea of the gentle life back at home in England with my pals and fam. But until then, there’s sushi to eat, and a lot of bowing to do, while thanking people 100 times for doing something trivial.
Slippers are great though, and learning the Japanese custom of keeping them by the front-door and instantly changing into them as you enter the house is something I’m already glad I decided to get into Japanese for. And also that was the cool thing about returning to London last weekend. Unlike my last return when I felt like I was missing out on lots, this time I just felt like it was my home, a place I knew, a place that is always there for me. And on top of that I’d then come back with little customs, habits that I’ve picked up from being away in another culture, little things that make my life more enjoyable, and also the ability to speak with all the Italians that flock around the city. In fact I had 8 conversations in Italian across the two days I was in London. So in summary what I’m saying here, is that when I return to London after Japan, other customs and habits will have been learned, and I will buy slippers and keep them by the door, and my life will forever be improved for it. And I’m happy for this.
Anyway, just wanted to let it be known that I moved in with a Japanese family. I’ll write more about them another time.
On a final note, my Japanese is getting alright now.