Always a work in progress

It’s another rainy Wednesday and the past week has been a long stretching funnel of busy. I’ve been editing like a mad woman, sifting through 131 lines to translate into Japanese, and wrestling with the usual onslaught of quizzes, tests, and presentations. Not to mention the JLPT3 test is coming up Sunday.

But yeah, it’s been good.

Despite that you have so much to do and stuff is piling up what are you even doing state of mind familiar to those who know what it is to stress, in reality things aren’t so bad, it’s only the pictures I have to show you guys this week equal none. I’ll just have to describe.

Despite all the nitty gritty still in the way, Gaijin is looking pretty done for the most part, just a couple of shots I’d still like to throw in if I can. The usual problem of music was solved with a flourish by my tireless brother across the ocean. Ryan put in heaps of time and effort to deliver a rather nice set of tunes to my laptop just in time for nitty gritty editing. Another area my butt has been saved in is that of translations. After I tried my hand at all of them, I gave them to my Swedish friend Jacob who is the most fluent person I know. We went through about 60 lines, basically giving me a free tutoring session (though I did get late night McDonalds with him later as thanks). Jacob didn’t have all the time in the world though, so I brought my translations to movie club last week. After the meeting, I timidly raised my hand and waved at the kohai (underclassmen) friends of mine, holding up the notebook containing my problem. I was flabbergasted at how they all rushed to help. About five of them huddled about my notebook wielding an eraser and making edits and bickering between each other about which particle to put where.

It was great, they had a rather impressive understanding of written English. They stayed in the club room with me for hours plodding our way to perfecting those same 60 lines. It still wasn’t done after that, so I typed it out by hand and sent it both to movie club and my good friend Jumpei. Jumpei’s conversational in English, and to my surprise, whipped up a near perfect Japanese translation in a couple of days.

Way to save my butt Jumpei. We finished the last of it last night and went out for sushi with a senpai (upperclassmen). Now that translation’s out of the way, I can really crack my knuckles and churn out the Japanese version I wanted to.

Earlier, on Sunday morning, still in my ball of stress I went to the church I’ve been frequenting. As I biked up the hill huffing and puffing I noticed a large group being shown around by the pastor outside. I went in and was greeted by the kind people who have sort of gotten to know me there. The pastor’s wife told me the big group was a bunch of visiting Americans from Campus Crusade. Interestingly they were all Asian-American, working in a minority representation program of some kind as well. It was fun to say hi and offer the translation I could (only one of them spoke any Japanese at all).

A Korean man goes to this church as well, and is impressively as fluent in English as he is in Japanese, and translates each sermon into Korean for his family via recording device. He asked if I could provide the Americans with English translation as the sermon went.


While I know I can get the basic point of each sentence across, it certainly wouldn’t be to the extent he was asking. I told him I didn’t think it would be very good and he nodded understanding, seating himself beside their group. As the sermon went he started translating. It was interesting to see the difference in culture clash here.

The leader of the American group insisted it was okay, they didn’t need translation, there was no need for the trouble. The Korean man insisted there was no point if they didn’t hear the message. What the American didn’t understand is it’s almost insulting to turn down the help he wanted to provide. Because here, if someone helps you, it’s almost like an unspoken promise that you will help them out if they need it in the future. To turn down someone’s help is similar to saying, “No I don’t need your help, and I wont be there to help you either.”

After a little hushed arguing they finally settled on allowing him to translate, which was probably the better decision as many of them leaned over and strained to hear him as the sermon proceeded.

Afterwards I bid the Americans farewell as they went to lunch and went back to help my friend Kimmi and the pastor’s wife tidy up. Kimmi is getting baptized and I mentioned how I was disappointed I couldn’t be there as the JLPT is that day.  They both wouldn’t have it and wished me luck on the test and told me they would pray for me, which was rather sweet of them. I biked home humming hymns.

And so I trudge on through this heap of stuff to do. Gaijin will actually be DONE next week (well, the Japanese version), and I’m taking the JLPT3. I can’t wait to be freed up and take off to see cool places again. But who am I kidding, even being here is pretty cool. Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 5.51.04 PM

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