My problem with being in a real life Japanese situation is that my listening comprehension lags behind normal conversation speed.
The person talking to me would be on his/her 2nd or 3rd sentence while I’m still memory mapping every word from the first sentence!
それが 2 万 円 かかり ます
- Mind processes それが – that (200 ms)
- Mind grabs 2 万– 20,000 (500 ms).
- Mind grabs 円– yen (200 ms).
- Mind grabs かかり – spins trying to process this but realizes that it has no idea what it means so gives up (1s).
So a sentence that takes 2 seconds to say is already taking just as long to process!
Definitely something that I have to improve at as I get more comfortable with the language given that the speed of Japanese is spoken…
It’s my 2nd day in Japan and this one was a bit smoother than the first day.
But really only because my friend met up with me for breakfast and coffee and she did all the ordering. -___-
I have also noticed that if a Japanese person can also speak english, I don’t get much of a chance to speak Japanese around them as they will quickly steer the conversation to english.
I can think of 2 reasons that this happens. 1. Japanese people are really friendly and they try to help you out when they see you struggling with their language. 2. Japanese people don’t want to wait for you to butcher their language further.
I think the latter is the more common reason when it comes to me speaking Japanese and, quite frankly, I don’t blame them lol.
Either way, we went to a baseball game that night and that’s where the fun started.
No, the fun was not from watching Chinese Taipei get crushed by Cuba (0-14 and game was called due to being mercy ruled).
The fun came because my friend lost her hat and she wanted me to ask some Japanese guys in the stands if they saw it.
Well turns out that I JUST learned how to say hat that morning! Even so, I have to admit that I did a quick check on google translate that I was using the right word.
So walking up full of confidence I said:
すみません ともだち の ぼし. (sumimasen tomodachi no boshi).
At this point, I have no idea how to say lost or seat (even though I also briefly learned this that morning but not really).
So I just pointed at the space under their seats. And it worked! They started looking for the hat! One of them then asked me: “color?”
しろ！(shiro!) I exclaimed a bit over excitedly as I remembered how to say white in Japanese.
Anyways, a bit anticlimatic, but that was it. They looked for the hat for a bit but couldn’t find it.
The most exciting thing though was that I was able to communicate my sentence with Japanese only! Ok, it was an easy sentence but I’ll take it as a positive sign anyways.
[OT] - the times from earlier is based on a study that the average audio processing time is 160ms and then fudged to make my point
[OT2] - My comments about the speed of spoken Japanese is also one of the items discussed in this article