Who is Musings and Poems Links

HennaGaijin.org is the creative collaboration of the friends and colleagues of Maiyim Baron -

and everyone else who wants to join in the fun!

Maiyim is a professional Japanese interpreter, who runs a company www.JapaneseInterpreter.com, which offers communication services specialized in Japanese. She has been going to Japan regularly for over thirty years, and after one fabulous trip in the spring of 2002, suddenly felt compelled to begin writing to share some of her experiences and the insights they led to about the differences and similarities between Japanese and particularly American culture.

Interview with a Henna Gaijin

Most gaijin in Japan go through interviews like this regularly. Here's how Maiyim answers these questions. E-mail Your answers and we will post them .

What first got you interested in Japan?

It was a book I had as a child, "Strange Tales from Many Lands." It was an old volume, with beautifully engraved and sparsely colored prints. The scene of the woman in kimono, holding aloft a candle lantern, captivated me. It was a story about O-Bon, the festival time in summer in Japan when departed souls may most easily return to their ancestral homes, as does everyone who can.

If any readers out there have this book or find it, PLEASE let me know!!

What took you to Japan in the first place?

Doors kept opening in front of me.

No, like what was actually happening in your life?

I was offered opportunities in high school and college to study first Chinese, and then Japanese, and I kept saying yes. My university asked me if I wanted to go to school in Japan, and I said yes, and they arranged my entry into Waseda University in Tokyo, one of Japan's best private universities. I was 19, and lived first with a Japanese family way out in Mitaka, who were willing to take in a foreigner. When I was at Waseda, the trains between Shinjuku and out Mitaka was got pretty sparse as the evening got later.

How did you learn Japanese?

I'm still learning! And it is thanks to all my dear Japanese friends who have been so careful about my upbringing that I can speak at all!

I will say that I take notes all day, and review them at night. When I'm in Japan, that often means notes on the language, and work with my dictionaries late at night.

Some would say I collect dictionaries, and I'm not shy about having one with me or consulting it at any moment in a conversation. Learning to swiftly and skillfully use dictionaries is one of the best things I think you can do for yourself when learning a foreign language. At least, that's been my experience with Japanese.

What was driving you?


What was driving you to Japan? Why you were studying Japanese at age 15?

Aesthetics. it was the clean lines.

The clean lines?

The lines in the architecture, in the clothing. It was the traditional ways of doing things, the wrapping, the lines in tatami lining up with the lines in the shoji, and the patterns in things. I was fascinated by the lines the brush made with the ink, and the way the paper took the ink. The swirling brush dance of kanji. It was the light, it was the light through shoji

Visit her professional web site www.JapaneseInterpreter.com

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