Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Iki's Japanese

Iki was the only Japanese boy a year ago when we moved here, in Sorowako. He is still an introvert, shy and sensitive boy, but he is doing alright. He spoke Japanese for 70%, English for 25% and Indonesian for 5% when the first time he went to school. Since he goes to the International school, English then has become his first language. And his Indonesian is increasing too because he lives in Indonesian neighborhood. He talks in Indonesian with my parents and family, maid, and the neighborhood kids. Even I can say that his English AND Indonesian are much better than Hiro's :p. He refused to speak Indonesian to me though. If Iki, my maid and I (for instance) have a conversation, I talk to him in Indonesian so that my maid could also understand what I say. Iki replies me in English, but the explains his answer in Indonesian to my maid!!

On the other hand, his Japanese ability was decreasing. Hiro is working long hours here. He goes to work at 6 o'clock in the morning and comes back at least at 8 o'clock at night, which is Iki's bed time. So if Iki is lucky, papa-chan can read him a story before he goes to bed. His day off is only Sunday and (supposed to be) 6 days holiday every 3 months -(but sometimes after 5 mths!!), so Iki doesn't have that much chance to spend time with his father, the only one he could talk Japanese with. He got difficulty in expressing himself in Japanese, and uses english grammar in Japanese sentences. He refused to learn Hiragana (Japanese characters) meanwhile he is excellent with alphabets. He starts to spell every word. Anytime, anywhere!, but showed no interest at all with hiragana or katakana. He even doesn't want to watch Japanese TV programme and anime.

But then about two months ago a Japanese family with two children moved in. They are bigger kids but play with Iki sometimes. Iki talks mostly with them in English at first, but then started to use easy Japanese. Eventhough I don't see much progress on his Japanese, it was a good start :)

Then last week a new Japanese family came in town. With three children, one of which is a 4 years old boy, goes to Iki's class. Iki likes playing with them and yesterday I heard surprising things from him.

"Mom, I want to play with Japanese children only. I'm a Japanese, remember??"

I was like "what?!"

Since then he watches Japanese TV and anime. Listens to Japanese songs in my car. Talks to me in Japanese whenever he's upset, and is interested on hiragana and katakana. The japanese things in his brain was locked in a box until two months ago, and now suddenly burst out of that box after this new family coming.

He plays as usual with his other friends (thanks God), and just switch language from one to another easily. Eventhough at times I felt down to see how introvert he is compared to other kids, now I realize that every kid is just different. He is what he is. He needs time, but he surely will be fine :)


Carla Chanliau said...

Of course he will. :) And he'll speak the three languages perfectly.

The Diva said...

Yup... he'll speak all three languages perfectly. Don't worry about it. That's how a kid develops as a trilingual. Written, proven, and done.

Oh if I may add, he's a very cute, tanned Japanese!!! Look at that tan !!! He's going to make some Jap girls melt hearts!!!!!!!!!!!!