by Eric Larsen
Greetings, to both old AND new (!!) JETs!!
This past weekend at a BBQ, I was trying my hand at slack lining (like the circus’ tight-rope, but thicker and stretchy-er). I have tried a few other times in college, but always immediately fall. But this time, I got up and was able to walk the whole length of the line. As re-contracting JETs know, Japanese people will praise us foreigners for being “amazing” at anything and everything, regardless of actual skill level. So, after drying off from my heavy shower of じょうずand うまい, I frankly told them the truth. I wasn’t well balanced and certainly wasn’t skilled— I just had beginners luck!
上手 (じょうず)：Skilled, good at something
うまい： skillful, clever. Also, delicious (for foodstuffs)
初心者の運 (しょしんしゃ の うん)： Beginners luck
まぐれ：Dumb luck, a fluke.
The newbies have a huge list of first-times to check off, and there is always something new to try as an older JET too. So— go out and impress Japanese coworkers, friends, and strangers by trying new things! If you happen to be good at one of your newly-tried activities, don’t forget to chalk it up to しょしんしゃのうん!
Wanna share your nihongo knowledge? Send us your favorite slang, dialectal phrases and study habits to firstname.lastname@example.org