"At first I thought I was going to have a sore throat when learning Georgian…" A 25-year-old Japanese man who came to Georgia to study the Georgian alphabet
23 March, 2019
"At first I thought I was going to have a sore throat when learning Georgian…"  A 25-year-old Japanese man who came to Georgia to study the Georgian alphabet
Not long ago I met an interesting person – a young man - Ryosei Suginaka from Kyoto. He told me that he was a student from Japan and he said his speaking fluent Georgian. I was amazed and asked him how he could speak fluent Georgian. We started talking and that is how I came up with a story of a 25-year-old Japanese man mesmerized by the Georgian alphabet.

He came to Georgia 2 years ago. He told me that his
parents his younger brother and his dog live in Kyoto, Japan. He is currently studying international relations and the Spanish language at a university in his hometown. Not long ago he took a year off to visit Georgia and study the Georgian language.
This is how he first discovered Georgia and the Georgian alphabet:

"Once, quite by accident, I came across a Georgian grammar book written by a Japanese linguist in the library of the university I studied at. I found it very interesting. What I liked most was the Georgian written language I found the letters absolutely beautiful and lovely. My favorite letters are ლ; ხ; რ... I loved the rounded shape of the letters. Each of them is so lovely. The Japanese written language is absolutely different...

But the book which helped me learn about the Georgian language, the Georgian alphabet and grammar were not very informative. I needed a more comprehensive work to learn the Georgian language well… Then I was given the opportunity to visit Georgia and I started learning the Georgian language myself; of course, I found a lot of books here and I made friends with some Georgians, who helped me learn colloquial Georgian.

Ryosei  visited the “Georgian Star“

At first, I couldn’t understand a word when I was listening to Georgians speaking Georgian, and I was not sure I would be able to study the language, as besides sounds which are soft and easy to pronounce the Georgian language has some glottalic sounds. Therefore, I thought I was going to have a sore throat when learning Georgian, but I study everything and I have never had a sore throat. As for the branches of the grammar of the Georgian language I like Phonetics most of all - a branch of linguistics that studies the sounds of human speech. In short, I was motivated and had a huge incentive which helped me achieve my goal” - says Ryosei .
The 25-year-old Japanese student teaches the Japanese language to the Georgians who are interested in studying it at the Japanese Cultural Center in Tbilisi.

“My students range from 11 to 30 years of age. Japanese is a difficult language, we have a distinct type of writing, very different from the Georgian written language. The grammar is also different, but in my opinion, one has to have a strong motivation to be able to learn Japanese. As for my student and me, we have such a motivation and we learn the language using the right method, this kind of approach makes everything easier” – A Japanese student tells AMBEBI.GE.

I asked the 25-year-old fellow, who seems to be mesmerized with the Georgian language to express his opinion of Georgia.

“Georgia is a unique country where a lot of things are unique as well. In particular, I like Georgian hospitality. The way guests are treated here is interesting. It is definitely a beautiful culture. Wine is an important component of Georgian feasts, the taste of which I really like but I cannot drink much. As to the Georgian cuisine I fell in love with khinkali, Adjarian khachapuri is absolutely delicious and I like Georgian shawarma, it tastes somewhat different.

Georgians are open and friendly, I mean, not everyone but compared to the Japanese, Georgians are friendlier, and they are much better at expressing positive as well as negative feelings and emotions. We – the Japanese - are sensitive too, but in a different way. Georgian and Japanese characters differ from each other. It is strange but you tend to quarrel; I noticed that many times while living here and I do not like it.

In general, there are many things in this country that are acceptable for me, but the thing I do not like is traffic, people drive very aggressively. It should not be allowed. Drivers drive cars dangerously here – says Ryosei Suginaka and adds that he wants to learn Georgian history well but only until he improves his Georgian further.
The young man who arrived in Georgia from Japan two years ago tells us that he hasn’t had any serious problems in adapting to living here. The only problem he had from the start was that he didn’t know Georgian and mostly communicated in English. He says that he couldn’t use the Russian language here – “I couldn’t speak in Russian to anyone here, I failed to use my knowledge of the Russian language and I forgot it a bit” – says Ryosei.

The Japanese student plans to go back to his homeland in April because academic year is nearing its end. When he graduates he plans to come back to Georgia:

Unfortunately, many Japanese have never heard anything about Georgia. Yet, Georgia is an outstanding country for its culture, beauty, and history. I want many Japanese to get to know Georgians, Georgian culture, history and to learn much about this country. Also, I want Georgians to learn our language and I’ve been doing everything for this for the past two years. – says Ryosei Suginaka.

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