Well I’ve tried this before, first when I was a teenager and then again when I first moved to Japan. I’ve never been good at maintaining a blog before but with the emphasis on making this my writing showcase, I promise to try harder this time.
I’m currently in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), more than two months after finally leaving Japan. I’m here volunteering and relaxing until Christmas when I finally head home to Scotland for my first turkey lunch in three years. Saigon is a hectic, dirty uncouth city full of bluntly honest, hard-working and hard-up people that have better English than I ever heard throughout my teaching years in Japan.
I think it says a lot for years of war and poverty as well as the dream of living overseas and making fast money that motivates many people. Students don’t laze about because they know, often first-hand, how difficult poverty can be.
The language is almost impossible to pick up, with so many tones and although I tried hard for the first two weeks, my brain just wanted a rest after struggling with Japanese for so long. Besides, the lethargy is just aided by the fact the locals have English far superior to my attempts to say “thank you” and counting to three.
Anyway I’m hoping to write something Vietnam-based whilst I’m here. I managed to pick up a simple dual language book of Vietnamese legends and folktales. However there’s not a lot of Vietnamese literature available in translation. This could be simply because a lot of it was destroyed both by the war and the communists, or simply that the market isn’t there yet. Certainly there appear to be a lot of books in Vietnamese but as to the quality, I can only guess.