When you are learning a new language, one of the most important things is to find opportunities to use it as much as possible, preferably without annoying people. I have the habit of talking to myself, but my family hasn’t gotten used it to it yet.

Yesterday, we went to a hibachi place for supper, and it was cold in the place. My wife said, “It’s cold in here.” A moment later, my daughter said, “It’s cold in here.” My wife then asked me, “Isn’t it cold in here?” And I said, はい、とても寒いです。 Of course, I was then asked, “What did you say?”

Later, my wife was demonstrating the chopstick diet. That’s where you attempt to eat with chopsticks but don’t have great success getting food from you plate to your mouth. My daughter suggested my wife switch to a fork, which she did. Sensing an opportunity to try out a grammatical construction, I said something very softly to myself.

Seeing my mouth move, my wife asked, “What did you say?”

I replied, “I said お箸で食べることができません.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means ‘you are unable to eat with chopsticks.”

At this point there was a slightly exasperated sigh, but it didn’t mean what I thought it did, because she followed it up with, “How did you learn how to say stuff like that after such a short time.”

“I study.”

What other answer is there, really? Mind you, it has been several months, so I wouldn’t call it such a short time.

I would have to say that I have a very patient wife, though. She somehow continues to put up with my eccentricities. Also, she now thinks that, after I retire, maybe I could find a job teaching English in Japan for a year and we could have the experience of living there for a while. I don’t know where she got this idea, and, when that time eventually arrives, I don’t know if it will be practical, but the fact that she did come up with it is pretty nice.

Time to sing the て form song again.



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