We all spoke French, and there was a strong sense of community amongst French speaking expats.
I also realised I was quite ignorant about the world.
I asked my friends for song recommendations, and I would listen to Brazilian music all the time. I was greatly interested, and decided to learn how to dance Salsa one day.
I made some French friends through Brazilian music. A few months later, I was taking weekly Salsa lessons. My life can be divided into pre-France and post-France.
Every time I went to the park, I saw the A-Bomb Dome, which was partially destroyed by the A-Bomb. People in Hiroshima didn’t have any resentment towards American people. One of the few phrases I learnt in the US was ‘never mind’.
They merely told us that the war was bad and should never be repeated. My host brother always said it when he gave up explaining things to me in English.
I’d always been fond of doing something different from everybody else.
I was very excited because for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to live abroad.
By that time, I was regularly going to a local Brazilian party. I tried to figure out their steps, but it was too complicated to follow. My friend told me the style of the music and the dance was called Salsa.I felt as if they had taken away my future, because I had been daydreaming about going to the US and becoming fluent in English. He was so happy to talk to me that he invited me to dinner. He knew I was only a penniless 17 year old after all.The thought of them speaking English fluently after a year was unbearable. If the most effective way of learning a language was immersing yourself in it, reading books would certainly be one way. In my early 20s, I came across an interview with a French musician in the International Herald Tribune.I didn’t have many friends in school, if I had friends at all. I was interested in modern philosophy, traditional music around the world, travelling, etc. I would listen to her day and night, and I developed a strong interest in French.I was always reading books, sometimes during classes. A lot of people talked to me: restaurant owners, juice sellers, passengers on the train, guests at hotels, random people on the street – everyone was curious about me. But I was hesitant to learn a new language because I knew it would take a long time. When I decided to go to university, the first thing I thought about was the study abroad programme.
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I asked my Brazilian friends a very dumb question: what language do Brazilians speak? Later, I found out that Portuguese was a romance language like French, which made me curious about the language.