I’ve recently met a young Japanese lady who is taking Russian, and it’s causing a turmoil in my language-learning heart.
I took Russian as a requirement in college, but I also took it for another year than I strictly needed, out of sheer fondness. I took every literature course of the country that I could, read through War and Peace – with a dictionary in hand, mind you. The Brothers Karamazov is still one of my all-time favorite books. At the time I graduated I was seriously considering between teaching English in Russia and in Japan. I chose Japan, in the end, because it was like my shiny new crush, and Russian and I were an old married couple who had grown a little tired of each other.
I don’t regret coming to Japan, of course – how could I possibly? – but I do miss a language I spent more than three years on.
Could I have kept hold of it by studying while I was here? But I have immersed myself in learning Japanese – and haven’t done too badly, if I say so myself. How could I learn that AND keep a language I didn’t even have a chance to study anymore? When I’ve been taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test every year – and plan to challenge the next level this December, wouldn’t it be foolish to divide my attentions? Could I possibly catch up to where I was when I graduated, let alone become even better at it?
And yet, and yet – I still feel that wistful ache when I think about it. I suppose it’s no different than everything else.
It would be nice to have one aspect or moment in my life that I do not deeply regret.