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Life-Changing Experiences December 16th, 2013 | Author: David

Life-Changing Experiences

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I am working on a new writing book for university students at the moment, and one of the topics is “an experience that changed my life.”

I was just writing about my own experience, and I thought it might be fun to see what stories everyone else has.

My story is about motorcycling. I have loved bikes since I was a child, but my parents didn’t want me to have one because they thought they were dangerous. When I joined the police, one of my fellow recruits was a guy called Norman, and he had a very big, sexy motorcycle. Actually, it was the same one that Tom Cruise rode in the film “Top Gun,” which made it even cooler!

One day when we were at the training school, Norman offered to take me for a ride on the back of his bike during the lunch break. I had never been on a big bike before, and I was completely blown away by the power, the acceleration, and the speed.

Soon after that, I started taking lessons and going to shops to look at bikes. I bought my first one even before I passed my test, so I had to ask Norman to ride it home from the shop for me.

Since that time, I have always ridden bikes. I have lost count now, but I think I have probably owned around twenty of them. I have tried motocross racing, road racing, and trials riding, so I have ridden many different types of bikes. At one time, I used to have four, but now I am down to (just?) two. Oh yes, and I also have a 100 cc scooter.

I suppose that because I had always been interested in bikes, I would have bought one sooner or later anyway, but that ride with Norman was definitely the catalyst that spurred me into action.

So how about you? Can you think of an experience that changed your life in some way? If you can, please tell us about it.

Look forward to hearing your stories.

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Comments

  1. Gui
    Commented on
    2013/12/16 at 11:43

    When I was a junior high school student, my teacher invited me sailing. This was a first experience in my life. It was very fun and has made me have a dream of sailing by my own.
    14 years ago, I went to a sailing class with my friend for sail training. Since then, we have put much effort into sail training. A few years ago, at last I have became a sailing instructor.

  2. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/12/17 at 3:19

    Hi everyone,

    Mmmmm…Isn’t this a hard topic! Talking about casinos is a lot easier. (lol!) I’ll try to think of something later.
    By the way, “Top Gun” is one of my favorite movies, and I like that scene(the picture attached) very much, but I think this is the first time I have carefully looked at the bike, not Tom Cruise!

  3. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/12/18 at 11:32

    Hi everyone,

    I can’t think of anything that I can say “I’ve been doing this for years.”, but anyway, my story is about skiing.

    When I was a university student, skiing was a kind of fashionable trend, especially for young people. As one of those trend-followers, my first skiing experience was with my friends and seniors from university. I soon got fascinated by it, and spent most of my money I had earned from my part-time job on skiing. When I finally got my own skis, I was so happy that I even slept beside them!

    However, as my friends and I all lived around Tokyo, it took both time and money to ski. We usually left home on Friday or Saturday night, rode the night-bus or borrowed someone’s father’s car, and arrived at the ski ground early in the morning. Then we skied all day, sometimes even skipping lunch, and then returned home. But I always felt that I wanted to ski more.

    One day, I found a part-time job at a ski resort in Ura-Bandai(裏磐梯). You work as a waitress for a very low-wage, but you get to ski for free on your free time. Of course, I got the job right away and stayed there for almost two months. I really skied and skied every day, because there was nothing else to do. When I had a day-shift, I skied in the night. Surely, I was young and crazy. I can’t believe I had all that energy! There were nearly ten part-timers, and some were really good skiers, so I really learned a lot from them, too. Anyway, I think my skiing became a lot better after that.

    I have skied many times after I had started work, and several times with my sons. However, skiing with your family is rather like playing in the snow than actually skiing, especially when your children are small. Then, they suddenly(?) grow up and become busier, and it gets harder to manage everyone’s schedule. I really wish I had a どこでもドア!

    Anyway, I haven’t skied recently, so I don’t really know if the part-time job at the ski resort has changed my life or not. However, in retrospect, the experience was the first time I’ve ever done something like crazy.

  4. YU
    Commented on
    2013/12/18 at 4:45

    Hi Gui,

    Nice to have you with us!

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been thinking of an experience that changed my life, but I can’t think of any, either, but I might be able to say the trip to Singapore with my friends from university changed my life.

    During the trip I really felt that my English was bad and soon after I returned to Japan, I started going to an English conversation school. I got to know a friend there. She was giving Japanese classes to people from other countries. Till then I’d almost never heard of the job “Japanese teachers for foreigners”. I got interested in the job. Her English was pretty good and she told me that she taught Japanese to them in English.

    A few years later, I took a course for Japanese teachers for foreigners at a school in Yokohama. After I studied Japanology in Germany, I returned to Japan and looked for a job, but the first I got wasn’t a job as a Japansese teacher, but it was a secretary job at a company. I got a job to survive, but I couldn’t give up my dream.

    One day, I heard that my living place held free Japanese classes for foreigners on weekends, so I went there to ask them if they needed me as a volunteer teacher. They gladly accepted me because I had finished a Japanese teachers’ course. There I met my husband for the first time. I taught an Australian exchange high school student and my husband learned from other teacher, though.

    I don’t think any of you’re interested in how we got closer later, so I omit it, but anyway, if I hadn’t traveled to Singapore with my friends at the time, I wouldn’t have gotten interested in Japanese teacher’s job or I wouldn’t have met my husband, of course, my son wouldn’t have been born, either!

  5. Fumie
    Commented on
    2013/12/19 at 5:53

    Hi David and everyone,

    As Biwa said, it’s a tough topic. I had been thinking about it. Maybe internet and personal computers are the things that had completely changed our life style. Using internet and PC, we can get various information and we can connect with people around the world. Before we started using them, we had to go to libraries or buy books to get information and there were scare chance to get to know people (exchange ideas on the net) around the world. Both are the greatest innovation which made our life quite convenient and I can’t think of a life without them!

  6. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/12/19 at 8:45

    Hi Gui,

    Is this your first comment? If so, nice to have you with us! By the way, can I ask you a question? I don’t know anything about sailing, but do you sail a yacht? Or do you sail something like surfboards? I’m just curious because I see both kinds when I go to the beach.

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for your nice story. Now I know why you have studied Japanology! I’ve been always wondering why.
    We have those free Japanese classes in our town, too. Like you, I got interested in teaching Japanese, too, and I have once visited a school(for teachers of Japanese) called IIEEC in Yokohama. However, my English classes became busier, so I gave up on the idea of taking that course. Anyway, even if I had taken (and finished) the course, my life wouldn’t have changed dramatically as yours, because I was already married and had children at that time!

    Hi Fumie,

    I agree!
    I used to hand-write all the worksheets and newsletters for my students ten years ago. Now, even a very outdated person like me is using the computer every day!

  7. amo
    Commented on
    2013/12/19 at 12:01

    Hi David,

    Life-changing experiences?? When I read this entry, I thought you wanted me to stay out of this blog(lol) because it was just another tough topic for me!! I’ve thinking about this since then, but nothing springs in my mind. Actually I am a bit of relieved to know that it was a tough topic for others, too!!

    amo

    P.S. Hi GUI,
    Nice to have you with us, and look forward to your next comment.

  8. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/12/19 at 2:03

    Hi David and everyone,

    Hmmm… it’s a tough question for me to answer.
    I can easily name my once in a lifetime experience, but when it comes to “life-changing experience”, I couldn’t think of any.

    I’m not sure if my story answers this week’s topic, but I remember the days with my mother-in-law who passed away several years ago.

    My family(my husband, younger son and I) started living with parents-in- law to take care of my mother-in-law. Those days, she couldn’t walk and had mild dementia. It turned out to be Alzheimer’s.
    As many of you might expect from reading articles concerning this disease or having watched TV programs, tons of unexpected things happened.
    Conversations between her and me were sometimes strange, sometimes harsh and sometimes amazing!
    When I was young, I had no idea that such a day would come to me, and I could not afford to think about the meaning of those conversations, but now I think how much deeper they made my life. Maybe I’ve learned how to grow older humbly and freely.

    It might not be the life changing experience, but anyway, I tried to think and write about the topic for writing practice^^)

    Hi GUI,
    Nice to have you with us!

  9. YU
    Commented on
    2013/12/19 at 3:20

    Hi Biwa,

    > Now I know why you have studied Japanology! I’ve been always wondering why.

    As I might have mentioned here before, my study in Germany had nothing to do with my dream of becoming a Japanese teacher for foreigners. I longed to live in a foreign country once in my life and I chose Germany because I learned German at my university and I knew that the cost of living was lower there compared to other European countries like the UK or France. I’d been to the US, too, but it wasn’t my cup of tea!

    At first I planed to stay there only for a year because I didn’t have so much money, but I changed my mind after I had heard from a friend of mine from my German language school that it wasn’t difficult for even foreigners to gain admission to a university only if you graduated from university in Japan and have a certificate of upper-intermediate German language proficiency issued by German language schools in Germany. Frankly speaking, I just didn’t want to go back to work in Japan at the time.

    The reason why I chose “Japanology” for my major was that firstly, I thought my diploma at the Japanese teacher’s course was convincing to apply for the subject, and secondly my major(economics) at my university in Japan was one of the most popular subjects at my first choice German uni and it was almost hopless for me to get a place. By chance I got a place at the uni successfully and lived in Germany for five years after all until I have come to have to go back to Japan because of my father’s incurable sickness.

    I’m sorry I failed your expectations, but actually my study in Germany started with very impure motives!

  10. YU
    Commented on
    2013/12/19 at 3:27

    correction :

    > but I changed my mind after I had heard from a friend of mine from my German language school that

    ……after a friend of mine from my German language school had told me that….

  11. Fumie
    Commented on
    2013/12/19 at 11:00

    Hi David and everyone,

    I just came up with another one that had completely changed our life. Microwave-oven. One of my facebook friends wrote her microwave-oven was out of order and she had to send it for repair. She complained how inconvenient the life was without it. That reminded me how much we owe it.

  12. Gui
    Commented on
    2013/12/20 at 12:30

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for your comments. This is my second comment. The sailing that I wrote in first comment is to sail a yacht or sailing boat with the wind. Now is the winter season in Japan. Here in Japan, winter season is a good time for sailing because of the steady wind from north west. So we can enjoy sailing in winter rather than in summer.

  13. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/12/20 at 5:49

    *correction:
    ” mild dementia”should be “mild dementia symptoms.”

    Hi Biwa,
    I enjoyed reading your story.
    >I found a part-time job at a ski resort in Ura-Bandai(裏磐梯).—-Oh, you found a good job and I can’t easily imagine a young lady besides your face:)

    Hi YU,
    Thank you for sharing your experience.
    Now I got why you studied Japanology in Germany.

    As I said before( did I?), I started teaching Japanese as a volunteer, and I’m very interested in what you studied. I started it a couple years ago for some reason, and it might change my life.

    Hi Fumie,
    >Maybe internet and personal computers are the things that had completely changed our life style. Using internet and PC, —-Yes, I couldn’t agree with you more.
    I was thrilled with when gooogled about “Anne of Green Gables” on the web when I started using PC!

  14. YU
    Commented on
    2013/12/20 at 11:04

    Hi Anne,

    > I started it a couple years ago for some reason, and it might change my life.

    I’d never thought of teaching Japanese to someone, either, because I’d never been trained as a Japanese teacher, but I find it a very interesting job. My Japanese teachers’ course class had a lot of seniors like you. Some of them used to be school Japanese teachers or school English teachers. There’re were also some women who lived abroad for several years due to their husbands’ overseas postings and were awakened to teach Japanese to foreigners there.

  15. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/12/20 at 12:46

    correction:
    > I started it a couple years ago for some reason, and it might change my life.
    —-I started it a couple of years ago for some reason, and it changed my life.

    Hi YU,
    >I find it a very interesting job.—Me,too!

    > My Japanese teachers’ course class had a lot of seniors like you—Yes, I know. There are many senoirs studying about teaching Japanese, and each person has a different background.
    Actually, when I thought I wanted to study about teaching Japanese, I googled and searched several options. Going to a school sounded nice and great, but I gave up that idea because it cost about 500,000 yean! I didn’t want to (or couldn’t afford to)to pay such a huge money, so I chose to study through a correspondence course as I had mentioned on my blog. I got the certificate after tackling 24 textbooks , tests, and reports, but it dosen’t mean I got the certificate for the teacher. I also took a class about Japanese as a second language at the community college this year. It was tough to go out once a week at night, but it was very good and interesting for me. Now I’m wondering I should have studied at the school or not, but anyway, this made my life more interesting.
    I’m teaching a lady from France at the moment, and she is really an avid learner. She always studies each lesson beforehand and ask me “why?.” Maybe I’m more interested in studying about Japanese than studying English^^)

  16. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/12/20 at 12:56

    Hi Gui,

    Thanks for your reply. I see. It must be really exciting to catch the wind and sail. When I was a child, I used to outspread my arms holding the bottom of my jacket and try to catch the wind. (上着の裾を持って、両手を広げる) I felt as if I could fly up like a kite!

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for the explanation. :) But I’m a bit confused reading your comment to Anne.

    >I’d never thought of teaching Japanese to someone, either, because I’d never been trained as a Japanese teacher,

    But you took the course and actually looked for a Japanese-teaching job after you came back from Germany, and then you actually taught Japanese to an Australian student, right?
    Maybe you wanted to say “I had never thought I would actually teach Japanese to someone…”?

    Hi Anne,

    >I can’t easily imagine a young lady besides your face:)

    Sorry, I can’t get what you mean…背後霊??…な訳ないですよね… :( Can you explain it a bit more?

  17. Tomo
    Commented on
    2013/12/20 at 1:53

    Hi David and everyone,

    Thanks for your kind messages, Fumie, Anne, Biwa, and YU:-)

    Nice to have you with us, Gui. I didn’t know winter is a good season for sailing.

    As for the topic, the biggest experience that changed my life would be giving birth to my first baby, but I’d like to share another story this time. It’s this blog. This blog changed my life. If I hadn’t found the blog, I would have given up studying English myself, I wouldn’t have met David, and I wouldn’t have worked for him. As you may know, I got married when I was 21 and gave birth to my son when I was 22, and since then, I was busy bringing up my children and hardly had time for myself for years. I was happy with my family, but I wanted more. I wanted to be other than “○○ san’s wife” or “○○ chan’s mother” sometimes, but I didn’t know what I want to do or didn’t like challenging myself. I was always afraid of jumping in an unknown world, but thanks to the blog(and David, of course!), I learned not only English but also challenging myself, so I think I have changed.

    I started a new job last year, and I had to study hard and take some tests for my job, but I finished them all. I still have lots of things to learn, but I can relax now, so I’m catching up with things I wanted to do but couldn’t find time to. For a start, I got a Kindle this October for my reading. Do any of you have one? It’s a wonderful thing. I don’t need my electronic dictionary anymore. If there is a word I don’t know, I just have to press the word for one or two seconds, and the meaning will pop up in a small window. Kindle books are cheaper than paper ones, and you can get a book in a heartbeat. You can also change the size of the letters, so you might not have to wear your glasses for reading. Mine is the one called “Paperwhite”, and the display is different from smart phones’ or tablets’, and the batteries last for weeks. And top of that, it looks like you are reading a real book! I don’t think I could live without my Kindle anymore, so this might be another one of my stories of the topic.

    See you soon,

    Tomo

  18. YU
    Commented on
    2013/12/20 at 2:08

    Hi Biwa,

    Yes, I took the course and taught Japanese to the Australian student, but 過去のある時点まで(=before I got to know the woman who taught Japanese to foreigners at the English conversation school)「誰かに日本語を教えることなんて考えたこともなかった」と言いたかったので過去完了形にしました。

  19. YU
    Commented on
    2013/12/20 at 3:31

    Hi Tomo,

    I’m glad to see your comment!
    I thought you would write something on Christmas day next!

    > the biggest experience that changed my life would be giving birth to my first baby

    I couldn’t agree with you more!
    Marrying someone and having my own child was(were?) the biggest experience in my life that changed my life, too, but like you, I just avoided the story because it must have been boring for some readers! :-)
    I’ve changed a lot since I got more family members(my husband and son), but another biggest experience that changed my life would be losing my mother when I was 24. I think I became mature in a real sense first after she passed away.

    > I wanted to be other than “○○ san’s wife” or “○○ chan’s mother” sometimes

    Me, too! So, when I started correcting students’ papers last year and my company called me “〇〇先生” for the first time, I really felt “I AM SOMEONE” after a long time.

    > It’s this blog. This blog changed my life.

    I know what you mean very well.
    I think this blog changed your English, your way of thinking and your life. This blog is really addictive. Now it’s part of my life!

  20. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/12/20 at 3:58

    Hi Biwa,
    OMG!
    Sorry, I meant to say,”I can easily imagine a young lady working there besides your face:)
    (My sentence should be “can” not “can’t.”)
    Does this make sense? Of course, if ”背後霊”would have appeared behind you, that must have been scary!

    Hi Tomo,

    I know what you mean. Coming acros this blog changed my life,too.

  21. YU
    Commented on
    2013/12/20 at 4:48

    Hi Anne,

    > Sorry, I meant to say,”I can easily imagine a young lady working there besides your face:)
    (My sentence should be “can” not “can’t.”)
    Does this make sense?

    What does the part “besides your face” mean?
    “Besides” means ~のほかに、~に加えて, right?
    Even if you actually meant to say “BESIDE your face” I still couldn’t get what the whole sentence meant. Is it an idiom? Can you tell us the Japanese translation?