Saturday, March 03, 2007

Skiing with the Hearing Impaired

This also happened a couple weeks ago. Be patient as I will catch up soon.

I went skiing last weekend with the one Japanese guy I know who doesn’t speak Japanese as well as I do. I met Mr. Yagisawa the October before last as a member of a sign language club I joined back then. I quit the club long ago and subsequently forgot all but a smattering of my Japanese sign language (not that I learned much to begin with). He and I used to go out to cafes from time to time and “talk” with a notepad. He was eager to learn and practice English, and I was eager to learn and practice Japanese. I would scribble to him in broken Japanese and he would write back in English. We both learned quite a bit from each other.

The opportunity to know him better was one of the reasons I actually joined the sign language club to begin with. Yagisawasan is a remarkably intelligent guy who teaches art at the local "deaf school." He's an extremely curious guy who is always interested in learning new things and is always full of questions. He's also an extremely good teacher who makes excellent use of pnemonic devices. I learned more signs from him in just 20 minutes than I did in several weeks of classes with others in his club.

Alas, I never did learn sign language very well. At my peak I could very slowly sign the Japanese kana and learned a some basic greetings, phrases, and simple vocabulary. But I never got very good.

I see him at my gym sometimes, and we both agreed to go skiing together. We met up and he drove me up the mountain to the resort. It was obvious he hadn’t skied in awhile, and I felt bad that he couldn’t keep up. I felt bad about convincing him to go down a more difficult run. He finally had to take off his skis and walk some of the distance. We still had fun. He said he usually goes snowboarding, and I figured that he would just be doing that.

Note: The picture in this post was ruthlessly stolen from the internet and comes from this website. This is not me or Mr. Yagisawa skiing.

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