17 In Japanese learning journey (:/ Korean learning journey (:/ Others / General

“Because I’m interested”

Since when is “being interested” an unacceptable (or inadequate) reason for doing something?

Lately, I feel like it’s a crime that I’m not doing things to fulfil some practical course of life or that the things I do do not necessarily fit into that “bigger picture” or that elusive something that I’m supposed to be pursuing. That elusive goal in life a.k.a. career

People are aghast when I say I do not know exactly (as of now) what I really want. I’m getting such looks of horror / people shaking their heads that I’m starting to be convinced that it’s a shameful thing.

“How can you not know what you want?”

But I really don’t.

(and I don’t believe that majority of us really do)

What I am now is an accumulation of my choices and decisions and when I was making those decisions, I have to admit that they were not feeding into some “bigger picture”.

When I first started learning Korean, I wasn’t thinking how it could make my resume look nicer, or that it will come in helpful should I decide to work in Korea. it’s simply because I’m interested

When I decided to spend so much time and effort in the language, it wasn’t because I am very convinced that I want to put it into good use in my future career. it’s simply because I’m interested

(and so on)

I see my direction in life as being shaped by these (seemingly haphazard and random) decisions that I make and I start to grow my passion in the things that I started doing out of “interest”.

I didn’t study Korean because I’m already super passionate in languages / want to work in Korea etc but it’s because of an initial “spark of interest” that I started learning Korean and then I got to love languages and Korea in general.

I was not a language lover right from the start. 

I did not plan to do whatever I have done up till now. 

But sadly, it now seems like ‘interest’ is no longer enough.

Taking the whole language thing as an example, I get so many people staring at my in disbelief when I said I’m studying it for fun. They probably expected me to have some “foresight” and said I’m studying Korean because I predicted that it will become a very important language in business (or whatever) in the near future or that I’m doing it because I already planned right from the start that I’m going to work in some Korean-related industry or company or what not.

So these days, I end up cooking up a lot of stories on why I chose to do xx or yy.

Korea is a technologically advanced country and I feel that there is a lot of  potential to do business with Korean companies and for global companies to expand into Korea, especially in industries like technology, export, fashion etc. Hence I decided to learn Korean so that it will be a useful skill that I can apply to my future career …. (okay I literally just made that up)


In any case, I’ve decided to try to work hard and take the JLPT N2 exam in July 2014.

ahem I’m doing so because Japanese is a very useful foreign language in Singapore and there are a lot of job opportunities that open up to those who can speak / write Japanese


heh of course I’m just doing it for fun.

I’m gonna aim for a JLPT N1 certificate in the end (:

I’ll be happy if I ended up making use of these skills but no worries if I don’t.

It’ll be really sad if I’m learning a language just to look good in my resume.

Anyway, I strongly believe that language learning is something that cannot be sustained by simply “pragmatic” concerns. You need something more.

And that thing is interest

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  • Reply
    4 December, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    I can relate to every single wordthat you wrote in this post. I feel like you read my mind and heart. Just wanted to let you know that you are a big inspiration to me.

    • Reply
      8 December, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      thanks!! 😀 That means a lot to me (:

  • Reply
    5 December, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Most people don’t know what they want. Most people give up and just do what their parents want them to do. Keep going. You’re on the right track.

    “I’m interested” is a step towards “I’m obsessed”, which is a step towards “I’m the best in the world at this”. Then you can figure out how to ‘make money ‘ off it.

    • Reply
      8 December, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      these days I’m really awestruck by how talented and awesome everyone is, makes me pale in comparison ><; It's like there's always a bigger world out there. When you feel that you are getting pretty good at something, there's just people out there who are way better than you! But it's amazing and inspiring to learn from them!

      • Reply
        10 December, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        뛰는 놈 위에 나는 놈 있다… ㅎㅎ

  • Reply
    5 December, 2013 at 2:39 AM

    I feel you. You’re not alone in this especially when sometimes, we just feel the need to make up reasons just so they’ll be acceptable to others. I’m kind of tired of it actually so now, I tell them that I am just studying it for fun.
    I love learning foreign languages 🙂

    • Reply
      8 December, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      same here!

  • Reply
    5 December, 2013 at 6:06 AM

    it just comes down well you can’t leech off your parents forever or till x age ~ lol. you have to become independent and everything. at least since you’re female maybe you can marry your way out of getting a job lol… j/k…

    I really think you should take JLPT n1 because you do have a chance at passing. you’re reading japanese books for god’s sakes… if you haven’t signed up/paid for the test yet definitely consider jlpt 1… so you can save yourself time and money and traveling.

    what you say is true… if you’re not interested in the language the only time you’ll get into contact with it is when you “study”… if that’s all you put into it you’ll never get good at it… or you force yourself to spend all this spend time doing something in the target language you don’t enjoy which sounds awful.

    • Reply
      8 December, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      hahaha I prefer working than to “marry my way out”. xD yeah feeling the acute need to become independent and desperately craving for some stability in my life.

      mmm I think passing JLPT and reading books are two different matters. Tried some of the N2 practice questions and I’m failing horribly. Reading and actually producing it (even if it’s just a MCQ qn) is soo different. I’m still far from the N2 standard D:

      • Reply
        16 December, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        Have u ever heard of d for diploma ? Lol do they do abcd grading in Singapore ?

        I think u have a shot at getting the minimum passing score for n1~~~ passing is passing and d is for diploma ! Lol

  • Reply
    5 December, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    the other thing is it’s none of their business what you do with your time. it’s so easy to criticize people on how they spend their time. like i’m in public i see a lot of people just playing candy crash or facebook or whatever…and I think wow what a waste of time you can use that time to blahblahblah.

    • Reply
      8 December, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      hahahah yeah agree on that. I’m not a fan of mobile games ><

  • Reply
    6 December, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    Everything you just said is exactly how I feel on this matter.

    Some people just don’t understand that there are things in life besides jobs and majors. You’ll hurt yourself on the inside if you only concentrate on that and don’t do what you like or what interests you. Almost every great thing in your life starts with you being interested in it. If I didn’t get interested in ballet as a child, would I be able to say that I’ve been dancing six different styles for 11 years? If I didn’t get interested in the sound of a bass or a piano or alto sax, when would I have started playing them and loving them and transcribing songs by ear? If I didn’t spark an interest in anime or k-pop then when would I have listened carefully to the language? When would I have looked into Japanese culture and Korean culture? When would I have noticed how much I enjoy learning languages? These are all things I enjoy, am proud of, and need in my life because it makes me feel alive. Is being a dancer and a musician and learning two languages expensive, yes- BUT I am spending MY money when I need and can afford things. I’m spending money on something I love and makes me more marketable in the job world. But I’m really just doing it because I love it and that’s all the reason I need.

    • Reply
      8 December, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      yes!! Sometimes we just start doing things out of a really small / random reason and I feel that such reasons are as valid as those that sounds logical, well thought out and impressive or what not. Loving the sound of the piano (or even thinking the instrument is cool) is as good a reason to start learning as reasons like “being already familiar with all the major classic pieces, composers and now planning to learn the instrument to enter competitions and to be a piano teacher in the future”.

      • Reply
        9 December, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        Haha, yes! No one has time to say all of that. XD Well, if someone does it’s okay but most of the time it sounds more like a “show-off” reason. I think some people ask because they want to (and somehow don’t want to) hear some fancy explanation. Nothing fancy over here- just me being weird.

  • Reply
    9 December, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Just wanted to say you’ve been a huge inspiration to me. As a fellow Singaporean, I can understand how you feel with the social pressure and all. The same thing happened to me when I chose to study Korean and the TOPIK exam instead of focusing on my career here in London or doing a more “useful” exam like the CFA or something. But I was really inspired by you, and told everyone that I was serious about studying for my TOPIK 🙂 I hope you always remain positive and never give up on your dreams!

    • Reply
      12 December, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      aww thanks! ^^ Makes me really happy to hear that. I’ll definitely continue to work hard! (: Hope TOPIK has been fun!

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