Chinese and Japanese. At the same time. A bitter mix of complicated characters and impossible pronuncation. But it's fun. And for the first time after a long period of interest in Chinese I finally have the feeling that some day, far, far away from now, I might actually be able to pronounce it. A bit.
Anyway, traveling with Junko has taught me some cool Japanese words, like 中途半端: chu-to hanpa. It means something like 'halfway', or somewhere in the middle. Not quite what it should be. If you live near the city but not in it, and near the countryside but not in it, you're chu-to hanpa. Interesting. Other words learned: kouta (凝た?): frozen, and tanken (探検): exploration.
Chinese is a different matter though. Japanese is like hiking across the hills near Atsugi: not too high, not too cold, and with a nice pace and a lot of friends nearby it's just a fun weekend activity.
Beginning to learn Chinese is like standing at the bottom of Mount Fuji, getting ready to climb it. With a 60kg backpack. And weights on your feet. And ony one leg. So it's a challenge. At least it's something I don't want to be chu-to hanpa about.
So far I'm focusing on pronunciation only, which is hard enough by itself, considering Chinese has four tones, and if you use the wrong one people simply don't understand you. It's really difficult. But today for the first time I got the feeling that I might be able to do it in the far future ^_^.
As a side activity my language exchange partner showed me some cool 4-kanji Chinese proverbs. There's one I'm trying to remember: shuo zhu dai tu (forgive me for the lack of tones or kanji; I can't quite figure out the Chinese input system yet..). It's a proverb about a hunter hunting a rabbit. One day he found a rabbit running towards a tree, bumping his head against it and dropping dead under the tree. The hunter saw this and waited at the tree for the next to rabbit to come and hit it's head against the tree and drop dead in front of him. As I understand it, it's a parable about how good things don't come to you when you sit still and wait. It might have come once, but you need to go out and look for it yourself. I might be horribly off on this one, so I urge the Chinese people reading my blog to correct me if I'm wrong :)
(side note: pictures are sorted! will resize them and pick some of them to put online soon)