Carlos: From China to Japan
Carlos has started his 3 month Intensive Course in February at Coto Japanese Academy. He’s passionate about Eastern Asian Culture and lived in China for a few years before moving to Japan in 2017.
Why did you want to come to Japan?
I’ve majored in Eastern Asian culture during my studies and I have always been fond of Asia. After working a few years in China, I felt it was time for me to take a break and experience something new. It’s natural that I decided to explore Tokyo and refresh my Japanese.
What do you enjoy about living here?
I like the general politeness and perfectionism you find in Japanese people, in any position and situation.
What was your level of Japanese when you arrived?
I had started studying Japanese in Spain. However, after a three year break, I got quite rusty! Luckily, knowing Chinese helps me a lot. In particular, I sort of understand kanji meaning easily, if not their readings. I guess my level is quite unbalanced.
What’s your level now?
This month (June), I’ve started the Intensive Course intermediate level.
How have you been able to use the Japanese you learn in school in your daily life?
Now, when I plan to go out with my Japanese friends, I make sure to review a few grammar points from my course. This enables me to have more deep and complex conversations. Before I started at Coto, I wasn’t really able to express myself fully. I would understand conversations, but got stuck in easy grammar.
Do you have a few funny stories resulting from your Japanese level to share?
Knowing Chinese definitely influences my understanding of Japanese! Quite often, I read ideograms both in Chinese and Japanese, and I always find interesting when their meanings differ greatly. For example, let’s take 怪我 (けが). In Chinese, it means “blame me”. However, in Japanese, it translates into “injury”.
What are the difficulties you have experienced in your daily life in Japan?
I mentioned earlier how I appreciate Japanese politeness. It’s true people are nice and welcoming here, but I feel difficult to start a conversation with a stranger.
What was the best experience you have resulting from your studies?
This “I get it!” moment, when you start to understand what’s going on around you. A grammar point you previously didn’t quite understand, that strange phrase heard in anime, suddenly, you realize they make sense to you. It’s awesome!
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