Three years ago, I began my life in Taichung. Due to traveling, I lived in western European countries before; however, this is the first time for me to live in Asia. I remember my first night in Taichung, looking down on the Taichung streets from Splendor Hotel made me feel that it would be very difficult to get close to. After starting a life in Taichung, I was frightened by various things different from in Japan, especially all the Chinese street billboards and the non-stop large volume of voices.
I learned some Chinese in university, however, only the memory of “Chinese is very difficult” is left, and I have never thought about being in contact with it again, “Oh, no! This is bad.” This indeed makes my head hurt. But, I am very aware that in order to live happily here, it is unavoidable to learn Chinese, therefore, I hired a tutor to learn sentences and vocabulary commonly used in daily life. After I started learning Chinese, I encountered the difficulties of the four tones, therefore, I have to be corrected starting from pronunciation, the level and mouth shape for pronunciation, voice, and the use of the tongue are all completely different from Japanese pronunciation, therefore, pronunciation makes me feel a little neurasthenia. However, after one or two months, I began to understand the prices everybody mentioned in the markets, when I take a taxi, or walk into a store, Taiwanese people often ask me: “Where are you from?” “Are you traveling in Taiwan?” “Is your husband Taiwanese?”, no matter where I go, Taiwanese people always ask me the same questions, however, because of this, I had the opportunity to chat with them, and because these people praised me by saying, “Your Chinese is very good!”, my life in Taichung started to be on track.
Uncles and Aunties in the market, apartment securities, and friends who tried their best to listen to my clumsy Chinese, the generosity and enthusiasm of Taiwanese people often helped me a lot, when I told them I am moving back to Japan, they all feel very sad, and ask me to come back again. The language barrier that existed when I first got here has long been ruled out by time, experience and memory.
It has been three years, I am going back to Japan tomorrow, tonight, I stay in Splendor Hotel again, looking at the night scenery of Taichung, this is XX Road, that is XX street, now I know the Taichung streets like the back of my hands, the initial uncoordinated feeling has been long gone, I just feel that it is my most memorable hometown in the world.
After I return to Japan, I will no longer hear the Chinese background music, and I think I will feel very lonely!!
However, I want to show off the Chinese that I learned in these three years and constantly challenge energy on the brand new stage.
I am in love with Taichung, goodbye.
Text-Picture/ Naoko Kaneko