Tuesday, December 28, 2004
This just in from the "one small step for Robert" department. The the most important woman in my life (my mother, of course!) will be moving to Shanghai (the Bund to be exact) next year, from the Atlanta area of all places! Although we spent about one month touring China this summer together in-between two long sojourns in Tokyo, it looks like it wasn't enough for her. I guess that for me, the whole China thing was just a kind of a normal 旅, but for her it was kind of a 心の旅. (There is a nuance here that is lacking in English...) Needless to say this is a giant leap for her. Well, her excietment seems to be rubbing off on me. I think that she's planning on being there about a year at first, and then perhaps longer if things go well. It seems that I'll be getting a little 別居 of my own in the 下町 area of Shanghai out of the deal, which means that I'll probably be visiting China at least once a month. I can't even begin to express my excitement regarding this development!
A note on the language: Naturally, I have begun my Chinese studies in earnest, and have managed to locate a good conversation partner who is willing to help me with my terrible Chinese. I realize I'll never be able to master the language, but -- and I feel the same way about this as I do about Japanese -- what I'm really looking to do is see how the language will master ME. Since I was born speaking the lingua franca of the 20th century, there was really no practical reason for me to study Japanese in the first place. I approached the whole endeavor as a kind of radically transformative psychological tool, letting the natural characteristics of the way of thinking in the language map over my former English-slanted thought process/programming. Japanese isn't simply a way for me to express my 'English' thoughts in another language. I base my expressivity on what kinds of thoughts are idiomatic, and work outwards from there.
The results have been suprising thusfar. I basically have two different 'personalities' one in English, and one in Japanese, something like the old Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde thing. Of course I've been careful to monitor them seperately. Despite some recent accusations about my English being hard to follow, I'm happy with it personally. It is finally beginning to get just the right kind of 'flavor'. The Japanese one is also well underway. For starters, I've managed to avoid the typical 'girlish' expressions that often worm their way into the Japanese of some foreign men while at the same time cultivating a kind of strident repartee. Gagged at times certainly, but robust and peppered with bits of intellectualism and street savvy that I've been able to pick up from my all to patient friends. (Thanks, guys!) Anyway, I'm hoping to do the same thing with Chinese. We'll see where it takes me, right? In the meantime, I guess I'll be doing a few shows in China next year. I guess I'll rope some French guys into joining the whole tawdry affair just so that I can look a little less uncool. That's what friends are for anyway.
Over and out.