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Welcome to the Goraku blog section. I would like to start this blog by sharing a personal story with everyone about the first time I came to Japan. It’s a little embarrassing, but it was a great learning experience for me. I believe that mistakes are only opportunities for personal growth and learning. Do not be afraid to make mistakes!


This event took place at the beginning of my first phone conversation with a Japanese person. I had studied a little Japanese before I came to Japan, but never had the chance to actively speak it.


I was very nervous and my palms were sweaty. It was the first time I was going to call a Japanese person and request something in Japanese! I picked up the phone, slowly dialed the numbers and finally pressed the call button. Time slowed down as each ring tone went through. “Riiinnng, Rrriiiiing, Rriiiinnng…” It seemed as if an eternity had passed before the person answered. Finally, he did.


Someone answered the phone, but their voice wasn't familiar to me. I immediately responded to him by saying, ‘なになにさんありますか?’

                                                                                                                                                                         ‘Is Mr. X there?’


You might be able to imagine the person’s response. Let me describe it to you more clearly. His response was a chain of grunts, pauses, sighs and short breaths before he was able to mutter the words, ‘なになにさんならいますけど’


This is a common mistake that English speakers make since English and Japanese are different in that Japanese distinguishes between humans and objects when referring to their existence in a particular location.


There are many differences between English and Japanese; Goraku is just the place to find out. Goraku is a place to learn, make mistakes without feeling shy, and growing as a person! All you have to do is walk through the door. Everyone is welcome!


- Harris




Leg 2 had a total different tone.  We were more comfortable and focused, more into a rhythm.  After unsuccessfully seeking out a clear/ unforested path to cut across--which would have given us a chance to break out the snowshoes and make better time--we instead settled on following a country road that was running north.


It turned out to be a great decision, as we were no longer troubled by semi’s barreling past, throwing blow-back snow and dirt in our faces.  Also, it was quieter.  I think we both did a fair bit of thinking, trudging along...



- Ryan

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