Regarding Roger Pulvers’ July 17 article, “In charting their life’s course, today’s youth might better stay foolish“: Wonderful article! I read the Steve Jobs’ speech cited by Pulvers several years ago, and it continues to inspire me through thick and thin.
I have always wondered why Japanese people of Meiji Era Japan wrote far better English than Japanese people do today, despite all our gadgets, English schools, the Internet, library books and so many English-teaching programs! In the past, there seems to have been a genuine interest to know about other lands amid an atmosphere of debate and discussion.
I started learning Japanese quite by accident. After high school, my interest was mainly in France and the French language, apart from English. However, as providence would have it, I took up Japanese on a whim because of an interest in Japanese kanji characters; the story of a family connection with Japan in the past; pictures of shrines, temples and pagodas with their beautiful Japanese-style gardens; the beauty of kimono-clad dolls made in Kyoto; and the advice of my English teacher in school.
Last but not the least was the hope and lure of getting a job and being able to stand on my feet as soon as possible. I never imagined that it would become a 14-year odyssey that continues today, that I would study at a Japanese university, etc. etc.
I have almost forgotten French, having lived in Japan for more than six years, and find myself most comfortable here. Now it even feels odd not to hear the Japanese language spoken around me. Maybe, as I grow older, it will become even more clear how to “connect the dots.” The hand of the maker of the universe works in mysterious ways, indeed!
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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