Last week I downloaded Microsoft’s Translator to my phone. Now I can photograph, keyboard or speak into the phone and get an instant English to Japanese or Japanese to English translation. Someone with whom I wish to communicate can hear as well as read the result.
It’s also useful for learning Japanese that is not in my Tuttle Concise. Though it’s pretty good for anything I need to check, to my surprise it lacks the word beginner. I can state that I don’t speak or understand Japanese very well. Plus, I can ask someone to speak more slowly. However, there are times when I need to let myself off the hook and say I am a beginner.
The translation app isn’t perfect. Even though I speak clearly (or at least I thought I did), my first verbal attempt was understood as I am a big dinner. I guess I’ll have to work on that.
Now it’s time to get down to methodical study. I’ve arranged to return to Japan in November. I will live in a furnished studio apartment in the Aoyama area of Tokyo (yellow circle on the subway map below) until the end of January. Over those three months I will begin and complete Level One of the Ikebana Sogetsu course in the International Class.
Steve Jobs once remarked that there was a lightness in being a beginner. Being less sure about everything freed him to enter one of the most creative periods of his life. I am a big dinner. Imagine–even feast on–that!