One: Had a good weekend. The ISA co-directors were invited to a formal dinner to commemorate the opening of the Mills International center. We were served a three-course meal and had the opportunity to interact with University of Oregon faculty and donors. I was fortunate enough to be seated with the provost of International Affairs and the director of the EMU (along with two other guests whose names escape me). Also, the University of Oregon president was seated next to me (but at the opposite table; we didn’t have any opportunity to interact).
Hung out with Sean and Adelle that night and all of the next day. We went to the football game (in which Oregon proceeded to slaughter the Washington State Cougars 52-7) and then over to Sean’s house where we were treated to a variety of different foods. My contribution was the wine for the Sanagria (spelled correctly, Sean?). After that was an onslaught of Guitar Hero, Halo, and American Idol Karaoke. Loads of fun.
Two: I received a message on my Mixi account (a japanese style facebook or myspace) from one of my friends in Japan, all of which was in Japanese. She wrote it in Japanese, and I could tell she wrote it so that 90% of it utilized grammar and vocabulary I already knew and that 10% of it was new vocabulary and grammar, forcing me to do a little research on my own.
Even now, 3 months after most of those guys have gone back to Japan, I’m still amazed at how much they care about foreigners learning their language. All of my Japanese exchange student friends from last year (and there was a lot of them) always took five minutes out of their day to make sure I was speaking correctly and encouraging me to persist when studying the language became difficult. They always tried to make it interesting and relevant, going out of their way to introduce me to phrases that were appropriate for whatever situation I was in (especially the 飲んで，飲んで，飲んで song… what a horrible song!).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that (1) I have never met any group of people who were enthusiastic about teaching something as they were about teaching me their language and (2) its remarkable that they were so eager to welcome me into their groups of friends and become a part of my group. I think without them, I would have failed out of Japanese Class.