Friday, 28 September 2018

Sprachenlernen macht Spaß!

What is the point of learning a new language when nobody understands each other? I thought I'd be able to express myself better, and to understand other people a little more if I added extra presets to my communications system.

Sprachenlernen macht Spaß! Oh, ja, es macht Spaß, UNLESS THAT LANGUAGE DEUTSCH IST! Grammatik? Was ist das!?

A sentence in German to the non-speaker is like one of those word-rearranging exercises in kindergarten, where as a kid, you see absolutely nothing wrong with sentences like "apple is like I to eat". Yet everything you think is right in German, is wrong, and the things you thought could have been wrong, are actually perfectly fine. When does the verb move to the end of a sentence? 🤷‍♀️

A lot of times, the only answer to "why" questions regarding language learning is the rather frustrating "because it just is like that!" While it is true that I can't blame the living for not knowing the truth that's been brought to the grave, I can blame them for not asking the dead when they were still alive and well. This reminds me of a story I heard somewhere, sometime ago while scrolling through my Newsfeed like an immobile imbecile. So it goes:

One day, a girl's mother was frying fish in the kitchen. Before putting the fish in the pan, her mother cut off the head and tail of the fish. Curious, she asked her mother: "why did you cut off the head and the tail?" and her mother replied, "well, I actually don't know. I do it because my mum used to do it!"

Unsatisfied with her mother's half-assed reply, the girl went and asked her grandmother instead. And again, her grandmother gave the same answer, that she doesn't know, that she did it because her mum used to do it!

The girl didn't just stop there.

After asking her grandmother, she went to her great-grandmother and asked the same thing: why did you cut off the head and tail of a fish before frying it?

Great-grandmother laughed and said "cause back then Darling, my frying pan wasn't big enough to fit the whole fish!"

If Grandmother and Mother had asked properly, then they'd know it makes no fucking difference whether they cut the head and tail or not, so long as the fish fits.

Language is more like an inheritance and a tradition, I suppose, where its heirs do not question it, but merely accept it, preserve it, and pass it on.

It has barely been a week since the new semester has started, and my angst is already overflowing. I wonder if it is possible to make it through this semester, when at its earliest, I've already given into despair.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Lunch

Sometimes, just sometimes, I think my life is kind of sad.

I poured hot water over 3-day-old rice and topped it with a handful of shredded seaweed fried with olive oil and seasame seeds. Sitting on the floor, I ate my meagre meal from a plastic takeaway container with "Micriwave Safe" written at the bottom. The blank face of my old minibar, and the printed cast of Dokkaebi were my lunch dates today.

The rice my aunt cooks is always just right, but having kept it in the fridge for 3 days, it's lost all moisture. In exchange for a prolonged life, the quality of it was staked. Isn't that just like me? In order lengthen my time here, I'm trying to adhere to health standards and forsake my love for fried chicken.

It isn't as if I look forward to a long life either. I suppose this is what they call survival instinct.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Returning 3rd Year

As a returning 3rd year student who will be starting my final year at the University, I still haven't the slightest clue regarding the formalities before the new academic year begins. If the students in our course chat aren't overbearing busy-bodies, I probably wouldn't have known that returning students are required to complete some kind of online registration form.

Will my uneventful University life come to an end, without ups but only downs? Think of the grass that withers under the scorching sun during a prolonged draught, they've never even had the chance to tremble in the passing breeze-- so goes my days at university.

I'm not complaining about the unchanging lack of excitement in my life. Most sentient persons in their 20s would like to live their life by the motto "young, wild, and free" but I have to say that I prefer to live only freely, where I could do nothing, enjoy doing nothing, and thus experience all the freedom that only doing nothing can bring. Sipping tea from a teacup bought at a used-goods store and admiring the same old view that stretches itself outside my balcony door, I think the kind of peacefulness found in a still painting is under appreciated.

I suppose it is true that I'll have enough time to enjoy the life of a retiree once I actually retire. Should I go out and break a bone or two? I've never actually broken anything, except for tableware. Youth is all about breaking things, isn't it?

The new semester, I wonder if anything will change?

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Bangkok XI

"It's late, why aren't you asleep yet?"

"Because, you always need someone to talk to at night."

I suppose some people understand ourselves better than we do. Tonight, when my lifeline is out of service, I am left with only one subject of confrontation: myself. The nighttime peace augments my melancholy, and I feel my breathing becoming heavier, though my eyes have already dried up.

Why do I continue to listen to Back Number at times like this, when my chest already hurts. His voice is drawing out the desperation that I wish I could suppress, and waste away without acknowledgement. Even if I turn down the volume, the melodic streams still penetrate into the deepest part of my heart. Like thick wreaths of invisible clouds, this pleading voice coils around my limbs, tearing me apart.

胸の奥の奥が苦しくなる…

I resonate with your regrets and unspoken words. As you watch her back disappear past the ticket barriers, joining the faceless crowd, the cowardly silence that has kept your lips sealed now sinks its teeth into your delicate wound. The ripples of regret spread their electrifying rings, and you feel yourself tremble in the night wind.

Nobody is there for me to wave goodbye to, and I don't have to see their silhouette swallowed up by strangers. But when I close my eyes, there is someone walking away from me. Powerless, I can only watch them dissolve into a faceless sea of wandering souls as I stand behind the steel grille.

So I talk to exhaustion every night when the skies are clear, without watching anyone leave. But tonight... To-night...

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Bangkok X

Souvenirs, I think, should be as useless as can be, like a magnet or a key chain. One may carry a coin pouch in their pockets but key chains! Who would buy such trash on their own? I remember receiving one too, in the shape of a turtle.

Buying such a worthless souvenir puts my mind at ease. A coin pouch may never be used, but a key chain may always be hung, somewhere, not necessarily on keys.

Other than this trinket of little significance, I've bought another one that is not only smaller in size but also more impractical in nature. If something can be said to be lesser than a key chain, then its significance wouldn't differ from that of a rock by the roadside. Nonetheless, I paid for it.

Cabbages and Condoms is a restaurant catered to white people. If you're Asian, you'll be disappointed by the food. Sweet, and not spicy in the least, my last supper in Bangkok left me dissatisfied, craving for Tom Yum that would leave my lips swollen, nose dripping.

The Lovebirds have gone off to some night market around Siam Square. Too tired, and a little short on funds, I've retreated back into the cool space of the hostel.

Lazing around the common room, I smell the sweat drenched socks of a Japanese man. From the sheen on his uncut hair comes the betrayal that he hasn't washed it for a day or two now. I'm reminded of how Yoshioka and Nagashima lived during their university days, submerged in filth and only visiting the public baths every so often.

That oily sheen could really just be his hair styling product, but that's none of my business. I just wish he'd change his socks.

Another American movie that I've already watched is being screened. It's the one with Matt Damon and space travel.

For once I see the receptionist away from her post. She's lying on the couch, playing a phone game. Even while resting, those eyes are peering into the blue lights of a screen.

Nobody is paying attention to the movie.