This post really is about a topic about having too much to say. When I read the title of this post to myself, it sounds like the kind of beginning to a super long diary-like entry. This is not intended to be so; I should probably follow through with not making this post too padded, in any case.
I don’t see myself living in Japan for my entire life. About the only thing that could keep me here for such a length would be if I got married to a Japanese person here. I think one of the major reasons is because I have too much to say, and Japanese society/culture here doesn’t really give me a medium to say all of that.
Japanese language in its practical use has much ambiguity. One thing that is often ambiguous is who or what is being talked about in any given situation. I grew up learning a language that basically requires a subject in every sentence. Even though in command sentences such as “Run!” no subject is present, there are few other circumstances that we would leave out a subject in a sentence in English.
The ambiguity doesn’t end with subjectless sentences, but it is a big factor. There are many unspoken things in everyday life. I like the importance the Japanese place on properly greeting people. Heck, they even have a system of bowing that is expected to be followed. These are very good things to have. But this doesn’t eliminate underlying ideas that are unspoken. This can also be good-I might not want to know how much some of my colleagues hate me, for example. On the other hand, it is very common for Japanese people to complain about coworkers (to friends, perhaps) who “just don’t get it”, but I wonder how hard they are making a point to bring up the problem with the person about whom they are complaining.
To be sure, my lack of fluency in Japanese contributes to my frustration. I am looking for more outlets to speak. Those outlets could come by natural conversation, but I don’t see that happening in many circumstances. It seems especially true for the Japanese learner that you have to be very intentional to find yourself speaking naturally and with correct grammar. It takes a lot of practice, but I think it can be achieved. Now if only there was someone to talk to…