Just to start, let me say this. I love confessing other people’s sins. You know how it is — other people are just so messed up! Other people have so much crap for me to be angry at them for. And it’s so much easier than dealing with my own stuff. I could go on for days about other people’s mistakes. In fact, I could write a whole website about it (hmmm?). Take some of my friends from Japan. They want to learn English: “Khatzumoto, teach me English”. But they spend all their time with other Japanese people, listen to Japanese music, read Japanese comics. Great for learning Japanese, absolutely useless for learning English. So I say to them, I say to my friends from Japan who want to learn English, “go to www.AntiMoon.com. Most of what I did was apply their English-learning techniques to Japanese. They know what they are talking about. It is very effective. Follow their instructions.”
Most of these friends of mine can get through the English on AntiMoon.com. Oh, they understand the English. But almost none of them do anything. Almost none of them ever download an SRS and start using example sentences. Even if I I download it for them, I swear they never use it beyond the first demonstration. They just go on with their lives, content with the idea that “English is so hard, man”. Content with buying random books about English. Content with writing shocking English. Content with doing things the way they’ve been doing them.
I know how they feel. Who wants to start something new, right? But still, I don’t get it. I mean, dang, man — what more do you want? The road has practically been laid out for you, you need but follow it! And so I used to lie there in bed, thinking “Dude, WTF?! Just do something! Learn it!! Stop whining about how it’s hard or about how school sucked or about how your dad should have accepted that posting to New York so you could have grown up speaking English or how your teacher was stupid or how English has more phonemes than letters and the whole writing system is a slimy, tangled morass of contradictions and exceptions to shaky rules and there are so many accents and dialects and sub-dialects and some people misspell on the Internet and what’s a Germanic language doing with this much Latin in it in the first place and ‘these sounds cannot be heard by the Japanese ear’ and AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!”.
Other people are so messed up.
But then it hit me what the problem is. I know it’s a problem I have. I think it’s a problem we all have. It’s the difference between the people who achieve something and those who don’t. Before, I thought that the problem was that people’s desire was lacking, I even touched on it in a previous post, but perhaps that was inaccurate — or at least incomplete. Anyway, here is what I now think is the real problem.
You see, everyone has desire. Everyone wants to be good at something. Everyone wants to know a cool language, everyone wants mad kung-fu skills, computer-hacking skills…you name it. Everyone wants to be able to play a piano concerto with their eyes closed using only their big toe. So, the difference between those who do know a language, do have kung-fu/computer hacking skills — et cetera — and those who don’t must, in fact, be very small, and it is this: Those who have the skills didn’t just want to be good, they decided to be good. Want or decide — one is a wish, the other is a choice. One can get crushed, forgotten and swept away by the hectic business of everyday life; the other is inevitable — it sweeps everything out of its path, it crushes, avoids or otherwise overcomes obstacles. Like commercial breaks or uninvited missionaries, it’s always all up in your face.
So, if you want to be good, then good luck with that. If you’ve decided to be good, then gosh help anyone or anything that gets in your way!
How about you? Do you just want to be fluent in Japanese, or have you decided to be?
Anyway, enough soapboxing from me. It’s time to go back to wanting to kick rear like Bruce Lee…(sigh) those abs, man…those abs.