Japan Stories from the Inside James Gregory

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Kindle Edition

89 pages


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Japan Stories from the Inside  by  James Gregory

Japan Stories from the Inside by James Gregory
| Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, RTF | 89 pages | ISBN: | 9.38 Mb

I dont think you can fake Japanese.I remember after my first failed attempt at Japanese, and the entire spring semester of my sophomore year, my father told me something that would stick with me through the next twelve years I spent trying toMoreI dont think you can fake Japanese.I remember after my first failed attempt at Japanese, and the entire spring semester of my sophomore year, my father told me something that would stick with me through the next twelve years I spent trying to become one with Japan and its language: “I don’t think you can fake Japanese.”From then on, I dedicated every fiber of my being to not faking it.

Everyone always said it takes ten years to read a newspaper, but I didn’t have ten years, I had two before I graduated college. So one day I sat down and developed my own method of learning kanji that had me seated at the translation desk of the US embassy just four years after I sat down in the first Japanese class I passed.There was an entire year in graduate school in Tokyo where I refused to read English—I was determined to take all of my classes in Japanese and write my master’s thesis in the world’s hardest language.After that internship at the US Embassy, I wrote, translated, and interpreted interviews for The Financial Times, sitting across from high-ranking members of Japanese government and industry alongside some of the world’s best reporters.

But that still wasn’t enough. I had to work as a Japanese person, in a Japanese company, doing work that was difficult even for Japanese people. I gave it my all—my all to speak like a Japanese person, read and write like a Japanese person, work like a Japanese person—to be Japanese.I was invited to weddings and to soccer games on the weekend, to native-only yakitori bars by random Shinjuku gangsters, golf in the mountains with bartenders and middle managers, $1,000 hostess bars with buddy salarymen, and on dates to Tokyo Disneyland.I took minutes at board meetings of a multi-million-dollar Japanese investment company, transcribed a speech by Condoleezza Rice, appeared on a pamphlet for a car laser-alignment system, lost in the first round of a karate tournament, woke up at the end of a $100 cab ride with no money in my pocket, passed a securities broker examination in Japanese, and learned both the kind of Japanese that allows you to pick up 20-somethings in hundred-yen standing bars in Ginza and read memoirs from WWII field commanders.In the end, I think I did everything I could not to fake it.

But was it enough? Was all of that enough to crack into what it means to be Japanese, to see Japan from the inside? Japan: Stories from the Inside is my search for that answer.



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