Go to home page

04 Sep 2005: Canary Wharf

A picture

Modern Age

I think a lot about my life in Japan. I remember one of the very first things I managed to pick up with my budding Japanese ears on TV. The phrase was "yokatta ne" from some drama. I was overjoyed to have picked up one tiny phrase; I can remember the feeling right now as I sit typing this.

Anyone who has never learnt a language, my advice is to try. It's not just study for study's sake. It has consequences. Apart from the feeling of achievement, you start to understand parts of your own language you take for granted. You understand what phrases in your native language do not logically make sense - you only understand them from being told what they mean.

Finally, you start to understand the subtleties of not just another language, but another culture. The world is not quite the same after that, because its complexity has just multiplied. Every single culture has these subtleties and shades that you can never hope to know. Be international.