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Williams supplement - A Trivial Conversation


applesandtea 3 / 9  
Dec 28, 2009   #1
My response is a little over 300, but hopefully it won't matter too much? Also, I know I used improper English later, but it's intentional so please don't fix that part! :)

Imagine looking through a window at any environment that is particularly significant to you. Reflect on the scene, paying close attention to the relation between what you are seeing and why it is meaningful to you. Please limit your statement to 300 words.

I wanted to thank my host mother, but my mouth felt dry as a cotton swab. I have always dreamed of conversing with a native Japanese speaker to improve my Japanese, but as I faced her, I feared I would appear foolish. Arigatou gozaimasu. Thank you very much. It flowed like a gentle stream of water; at least, that's how Japanese sounded to me. Maybe I shouldn't say it. I could using the wrong honorifics. But my host mother smiled warmly, making courage surge in me.

"A-Arigatou gozaimasu," I shyly stuttered, staring at the snacks in front of me. I noticed one of my favorite snacks. "Yakuruto! Oishii (delicious)!" I quickly glancing up, curious to see her reaction.

Her face lit up, a twinkle dancing in her dark eyes. "You speak Japanese!" she cried in wonder. "Are you Japanese?" she asked, her eyebrows lifting.

"Gomen nasai (I'm sorry)..." I switched to English. "I'm Korean."

Excitement rather than disappointment etched into her face. She stood up suddenly, dashing to the closet. She returned with several magazines, pointing to a cover excitedly. "You know...?"

"Yon-sama?" I referred to the term Japanese fans used for Bae Yong Joon, an influential Korean actor.

"Yes! I love him!" She quickly asked me another question. "Do you eat kimuchi? I mean kimchi. I pronounced right? My son loves it!" I nodded. "I buy kimuchi for you when we go to supermarket."

It was a trivial conversation, but I still remember it. We were able to share our cultures, something I hope to do at Williams with fellow students. Language barriers did not matter. However, I love learning languages and hope that after learning Japanese, I can go back and say, "Tadaima (I'm back home)!" and be able to converse freely with my Japanese host family who graciously welcomed me into their home two years ago.

OP applesandtea 3 / 9  
Dec 29, 2009   #2
Ahhh, I'm sending this in tomorrow (well, actually today since it's past midnight)...is anyone willing to help me? :(
dramacratic 6 / 27  
Dec 29, 2009   #3
"...could be using wrong honorifics."

It's a cute response to the prompt, but your ending is a bit on the cliche'd side. Not saying that this is a bad thing, but it's something to keep in mind.

Also, the portion of your essay that begins with "Excitement" is a bit stop-and-go. Meaning, there's not much flow, and it comes off as though you're reading a laundry list of the sequence in her reaction, rather than tieing it together with fluidity.

I'm a tad confused with your beginning, too. You talk about thanking your host mother, but in that case, wouldn't she have already known you were not Japanese? Or were you initiating your first encounter with her with a thank you? You might want to specify somewhere in that first paragraph.

Sorry my comments are listed in a sporadic fashion (when compared to their respective portions of your essay)! Nevertheless, this essay has a lot of potential. You might want to hold off on sending it until the 30th, unless you absolutely need to send it out by the end of tonight. Read mine? =]

Best of luck!
cucciola21 4 / 8  
Dec 29, 2009   #4
I agree with the above post. The ending is on the cliche side and is lacking, but headed in the right direction.

On the other hand, I adore this essay! I can relate to it entirely, having very close friends who are Korean and Japanese and they often have this type of conversation. And I know exactly the feeling of wanting to try another language but fearing to sound silly.

One question though, how does the essay respond to the "looking out a window" prompt?
OP applesandtea 3 / 9  
Dec 29, 2009   #5
dramacratic - Whoa! I guess in the midst of my editing, I somehow forgot the "be" :P How embarassing!
Actually, about the last part...I was having trouble with it. I don't really like it because as you pointed out, it's cliche. I'm going to have a good look at it tomorrow because I wrote that after writing 2837592 other responses so I'm a bit drained haha :P

Oh, thanks for pointing out that "Excitement" part! Now that I read over it, it really does not flow well at all :( Fixing it won't be too arduous of a task though. (Well, I hope)

The reason why she didn't know I was Japanese was because it was the first day I really spent with my host family (technically, it's the second, but the first day was basically minimal talking + everyone was tired = unpack, shower, eat, sleep) and I only spoke in English before. :) I should probably clarify the beginning part to clear up confusion.

I'll read yours tomorrow...I mean, later today because it's currently 2:53 AM, my time :P

Thank you so, so much for the suggestions!

cucciola21 - I agree on the cliche and the lacking comment. I feel the same way haha. I'm really glad you liked it though! Well, I was actually having trouble with the "looking out a window" prompt so I was reading over the responses other people had and quite a few of them didn't mention a window at all! I'm hoping that they'll infer it's a sort of window-to-the-past thing, but if not, I'll just add in something about that (although hopefully not as corny sounding) tomorrow. Thank you so much :)!


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