To be honest, I really don’t like speaking Japanese that much. I mean, of course living in Japan has forced me to use it, no doubt. But there’s just so much pressure that comes with it.
Who sounds the most native, who knows the most forms of keigo, who will order at the restaurant because they have the best grammar. I’ve never been good at languages, I failed math more times than I can count, and even though I played in the school band for years I never actually learned how to read music. I’m horrible at grammar in my own language.
Being married to K, people naturally expect that I’m good at Japanese. When I reveal that I’m not, that we speak in English, that I even find that I cannot comfortably use Japanese around him, I get scoffed at. How dare I not use him for my own linguistic betterment!
I think it’s ridiculous that us foreigners are expected to basically use our significant others, if they are Japanese, to better ourselves, but if they turn around and use English, regardless of what choice might be behind it, that they are the bad guys.
I like K in English. It’s as simple as that. And I don’t like myself in Japanese. Not only can I not express myself as fully as I would like… I find that I don’t sound like myself, the me that K loves, at all.
Today we took K’s parents out for lunch. We ate sushi and chatted. I have to speak Japanese with them because they don’t know any English. I’m always a little afraid, a lot self conscious, but they are such kind people that I can just let go, drop all kinds of horrible grammar bombs, and somehow, my mother-in-law can understand me. At times when I cannot understand what someone else is saying she has this magical ability where she can turn around and rephrase it so I can catch the meaning.
I am so grateful.