first language vs second language


I’ve been living in different countries for three years now. When I was in the school in the U.S., I had a friend from Japan so I had a chance to use Japanese every single day along with English. However, after I graduated the school and moved to Canada, there is no chance to use Japanese in my daily life. Now, I only use Japanese when I write for honeyhands, and talking to my friends and family in/from Japan on the phone.


違う国に住み始めてから3年が経って、アメリカの大学にいたときは日本の高校のときからの友達が一緒だったから、日本語を使う機会があったけれど、学校を卒業してカナダに引っ越してからは、日本の友達や家族と電話で話したり、honeyhandsで記事を書く以外に日本語を使うことが一切なくなったの。


A few months ago, suddenly this thoughts hit me: "Am I forgetting Japanese?" I realized that I've been thinking things in my head in English, I'm talking to myself in English, and all my dreams became in English. And I started concerning about my skill of Japanese. I feel like my first language is becoming unfamiliar to me and sometimes, this freaks me out.


数ヶ月前に、いきなり『あたし日本語忘れてきてる!?』って思ったの。そう思った理由は、頭の中で何か考えたり、独り言も、夢も、全部英語になって、日本語が頭の中からなくなっていってて、自分の日本語力について心配し始めたの。第一言語が外国語のように感じはじめて、たまにものすごく怖くなる。


Photo by @hikarilillynaka / @hikfilm

Although I know that I would be nervous to speak Japanese, forget some words, messy grammar and all that, I'm still trying to figure out why this is happening to me. I'm very happy that my English is improving every single day a little by little but I'd never wanted my Japanese to be "bad." When I went back to Japan in August 2016 for the first time after two years of living in the U.S., I was told "your Japanese is amazing!" by a guy who works at this tea store while I was shopping with my sister. My sister answered "umm.. she's actually Japanese!" while I was lost and thinking what he meant. I was shocked! I don't know what exactly he thought but I understand that he thought that I sounded like a foreigner. And the same things happened a few times afterwards.