Japanese immersion: July week 4

Introduction: a word on immersion

I will enlarge my Friday post’s definition (if it had any…) and call it “Japanese immersion”. In other words, I will write every Friday about the things I did to get immersed in Japanese. We all know that immersion is a key factor to language learning, but it is easy to let the weeks go by without actively immerse ourselves in our target language/culture. I can easily guess that immersion is not a problem for many fans of Japan. It is just something that happens because Japanese culture becomes a part of their life.

To me, it is a little different. Even though I love many aspects of the Japanese culture, I would naturally want to watch European/American films rather than Japanese, listen to occidental music rather than a Japanese one and so on. Only Japanese literature really fascinates me. This is why I have to consciously build up a Japanese environment around me because it will not happen naturally. I think that making a kind of report once a week will help me to keep in mind that I should watch or listen to Japanese productions. It is also a good way to share discoveries! I also hope it can encourage anyone who is lacking immersion context to find ideas to reinforce their Japanese environment.

Also, I thought that “Japanese immersion” can include reading the news. If I find interesting things, I will also talk about them here, but without really studying the articles.

So this week, we have:

  • Film 魔女の宅急便
  • Singer あいみょん
  • News: “we should not use public money for LGBT couples because they can’t have children” (!)

Film/Drama

I am still watching 孤独のグルメ and I love it! I thought it could be a good idea to watch it while eating, but the protagonist eats so much that I felt full before finishing my own meal, haha. I am watching the first episode of the 7 seasons first because I can access it for free on our TV (the first episode is always free, as a teaser). In the first episode of season 3, he orders a ホロホロ鳥の合わせ盛り. The ホロホロ鳥 is a guinea fowl. When the dish appeared on the screen, I was surprised to see that it was sashimi of raw fowl meat! I didn’t know you could eat raw chicken meat or fowl for that matter. 😲 It totally ruined my own appetite that day.

To encourage myself, I decided to watch for the nth time a classic among the Ghibli films: 魔女の宅急便 or Kiki’s delivery service. I was very happy because I could understand almost everything they say in the film (I had the Japanese subtitles on, which helped me). I understood much more than I did the last time I watched it. It’s great to have some films you don’t mind watching several times to check your progress.

In any case, Kiki’s delivery service is perfect for Japanese learners like me who struggle with listening and need something easy to gain confidence.

Singer あいみょん

I was looking for singers to listen to and I found very quickly and easily a singer I like: あいみょん. Aimyon was born in 1995 and made her debut in 2015 but became famous in 2016 with her single 「生きていたんだよな」. She writes her texts and composes her songs.

Her last title is 「マリーゴールド」 but my favourite song is 「愛を伝えたいだとか」:

I’m very glad I found a singer I like! I listened to her songs a lot this week… If you have singers/groups to recommend, please leave me a comment! I am a newbie in Jpop and Japanese music in general.

News: Mio SUGITA’s shocking and discriminatory opinion

NOTE: I don’t want to study the article here, just share what struck me. Usually, I would copy-paste the interesting passages in Japanese and give vocabulary but not translate them. Here, I thought it best to translate some of them, but first, I may have made mistakes, and secondly,  it is hard to find a balance between a natural English and fidelity to the Japanese. Me, I am completely lost between the two.

After reading the news in Japanese for some months, I am used to reading shocking statements from politicians. But what Mio SUGITA said surpasses all I have read until now. (I’m sorry, I think that this article is not in free access)

Mio SUGITA (杉田水脈) is a member of the LDP and a member of the Chamber of the Representatives.

In the magazine 新潮45 (issue of August), she published an article called “LGBT 支援の度が過ぎる” in which she criticises newspapers like Asahi or Mainichi who openly stand for the rights of the LGBT community.

But what really created an uproar is that she said public money (she says “taxes”) should not be used for LGBT couples. And she gives her reason: “these people don’t produce children, in other words, they don’t have any “productivity” (生産性)”.

Of course, this statement was highly criticised. Not only is it discriminatory against the LGBT, but of course, it extends much farther and concerns every person who doesn’t or can’t have children.

First of all, what she says can be easily refuted by the simple argument that LGBT couples pay taxes too. And this is what a member of the Constitutional Democratic Party did.

Among the criticisms on the social media, we find someone saying:

“Are we to say “let’s not use tax money on singles, heterosexual couples without children and all the people who, for all kinds of reasons, can’t have children because these people don’t have any “productivity”?”

Or even:

“Dividing the people according to whether or not they have a “productivity” and putting pressure on those who don’t, is it not similar to the eugenics thinking of the Nazis?”

Facing all this criticism, Mio SUGITA said that people should buy the magazine and read her article instead of criticising only a citation from it. But Mainichi said that if we read the whole article, all we find is contempt for the LGBT, who she qualified as “not happy”. She also said that if we are to allow same-sex marriage, some people might also want to allow marriage between brothers and sisters, parents and children, human and pet and human and machine.

japanese immersion1-a.jpg

Mainichi later devoted an editorial on the subject, openly condemning Mio SUGITA for encouraging discrimination and measuring people’s value using their ability to have children or not.

This is what shocked me in the news this week. Just when victims of the eugenics law start raising their voice, hearing such a statement is astonishing, imho.

Conclusion

I think I found the right format for my Friday post! I feel encouraged to absorb more Japanese culture and the more I do it, the more I love Japanese. I think I was too absorbed in JLPT things last year and books this year and narrowed in some way my contacts with Japanese. It is a shame because Japanese cultural production is so diverse,  that anyone can find his or her own path to the language/culture. And it is true that immersion helps a lot, not only to improve but to maintain the desire to improve.