Last week, a new book came in the mail. My spouse had purchased it for me as a gift. The book was 大きな森の小さな家, or the Japanese translation of Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This happens to be one of her favorite childhood books, and she has been reading the series again. It was quite exciting really. The Japanese company that sold it also sent along a little card, saying ありがとう (Thank you), stickers, and a little origami star. I thought that was so very sweet and wonderful.
It seemed like a good place to start my Japanese novel reading. The thought of rediscovering reading again is quite exciting. Although, it may seem strange reading a translation of an American novel as a starting point, but it feels “right” somehow. Strangely enough, I do not know if I actually have read this book before, and if I have, I do not remember it. It seems like something that I *should* read, and I am really focusing Japanese, with little time leftover to read fiction in English. This book is a bit beyond my Japanese level; however, it is possible if I work hard, I think.
On the practical side, my spouse has already been helpful in checking whether I am comprehending what I am reading. She has read this books so many times, she almost has it memorized. It seems safer to ask her (and let her quiz me) then to check the English version myself.
It is exciting, but it is very slow, and I think it will likely take a long time (I have only gotten through a few pages, highlighting the many, many words I do not know). This is interesting because my spouse has talked about being able to read these books in an afternoon (in English, of course). My spouse and I have lots and lots of books, and I am used to being able to consume books very quickly. Yet, if I am to have any hope of anything beyond a vague comprehension of this book, I will have to savor this book and spend a lot of time with it.
All of this has made me realize how much learning a new language has made me slow down. As a part of my studies, I have been watching a great deal of Anime. Yet, I am watching it is a much different way than I have watched anything in the past. I have several series of Anime going right now, yet I am taking each one rather slowly, watching each episode between two and four times, in different ways. There was a time I could watch an entire series in a few weeks, but now for each series, I am not even really managing an episode a week.
I think I am grateful for this slowing down. I am finding I am appreciating everything so much more that I am unable to rush through it. I find myself thinking about the other books in this series, and realizing, well, it will be quite some time before I get to them. The one I have will keep me busy for the foreseeable future. Then I find myself treasuring my new book and carrying it around with me, even when I am not reading it. I am excited to be making friends with book all over again!