Whilst my language ability is certainly amongst the weakest in the class, I have noticed that I am one of the more able students when it comes to thinking outside of the box. For example, when summarizing passages I find that I am one of the few who attempts to do so without simply reading verbatim from the text; and when it comes to discussing the relevance of the vocabulary we have learnt, in terms of our own experiences and lifestyles, I am always a willing volunteer. However, my utter inability to actually speak coherent Japanese means that my retorts continue to be littered with gaffs. Today for example, when discussing the problems facing teenage Britain, I set out with the intention of deliberating the issue of teenage pregnancy, but instead ended up telling everyone that: ‘Being pregnant at 14 is currently a very popular pastime in the UK’.
Aside from the obvious (the extreme heat, the extreme cold, people on bicycles, umbrellas, my incompetence in regards to the language), there are actually very few things that I dislike about my life here in Japan; I especially like the wonderful inventions and thingamajigs that exist to make living even easier. So why is it that none of the envelopes over here come with an ‘in-built adhesive’? You would have thought that a country that gave us the Walkman, the PlayStation, and AIBO would be able to stretch to a little bit of gum on the back of their envelopes, but no! Instead I am expected to buy glue and stick the bugger down, a task made infinitely more difficult by the fact that the lip of the damn thing is dripping wet with my saliva.