Daniel Santos

Week 08, 2024

I came across a link to Infinite Craft a couple of weeks ago, if I’m not mistaken. By then I saw that it was some kind of building game where you keep combining tiles of text illustrated with emoji, and see such tiles change into other, new tiles. By the way, according to Neal Agarwal, creator of the game, it is virtually endless. The thing is I didn’t give it a second look then. This week, though, I saw my two children playing it — while having lots of fun, and that made me curious, to say the list.

My younger son quickly showed me how to play — you can do it from the desktop or from mobile, and soon enough I was creating my own combinations of pieces, crafting away. I thought I’d be tired of it in no time, but the surprise was I didn’t. I’ve been playing with its combinations for at least three days now! And during that period (having reset the game once this afternoon) I have created gems such as Back to the Future, Minecraft, One Piece — including Luffy and Zoro —, Peter Pan and Wendy, Brazil, anime, manga, Batman and so many more. What’s the real fun? I guess the surprise, the… unexpectedness. That’s been really fun.

We received news from the Japanese consulate. We’ll be once again heading to São Paulo on the first week of March, so my son can have his foreign student visa granted to his passport. There’ll be a small ceremony and a short presentation made by each one of the scholarship holders, my son included, as well. It’s scheduled to be a whole day event, with presentations and visas being granted in the morning and, in the afternoon, an orientation session about the upcoming trip to Japan, with details on how things will wind up from the arrival there on.

Now, I must admit I’m anxious with all of this. Maybe more than my son, who is the one actually traveling, certainly more anxious than my wife. I’m almost biting my nails, and I can’t really explain why or help it. Deep inside, this anxiety apart, I’m only hoping everything turns out well with his time in Japan. I guess I’m secretly desiring we wouldn’t be so far apart as it will be: around 18,500 km (or 11,500 mi). Thankfully we live in an era where everyone’s connected — a video call away. Also, well of course start planning the first visit we’ll be paying to him there.

I paused studying Japanese for some time now. But I’ll resume studying soon enough, so that I can successfully communicate in Japan once we arrive there to visit my son. When I gave it a break I had memorized all of the hiragana, and only part of the katakana. I really don’t know why they’re so difficult for me to learn and memorize… but that’s something I’ll figure out as I move on to next steps in 日本語.

Japanese is undoubtedly filled with challenges for me: despite of my aptitude with languages in general, sometimes I wonder if the way I learned other languages, such as English and French will be effective for Japanese as well. Having mastered English in a time when internet wasn’t a reality and relying on a conventional language school, I started with grammar, mixed with vocabulary, and was little by little immersed in the language. Alphabet was the same, and there were the cognates to be found and ease the way.

With Japanese there’s the kana. This means I’ll first have to master hiragana and katakana — and maybe some kanji, before even thinking about grammar and vocabulary. Seems and sounds scary. But it’s probably going to be fun, as well (or at least I hope so). I intend to self study it, maybe switching to private tutoring or a language school sometime later if needed, so I don’t bust my objective of being able to communicate well in Japan using their native language. We’ll see.

Work has been great this week: interesting and time consuming. I’m pretty satisfied with my achievements and also because I was able to go swimming again. On to making it into a habit I go. I hope the week ahead reserves good things, for you and me.

#english #weeknotes