Shaa-nai is a word in the dialect of Osaka. Its meaning is difficult to explain. It could be translated as “what would be, would be”,”that’s the way it goes”, “it can’t be helped”, “que será, será” or “c’est la vie”, depending on the context. If you google it, Shaanai appears as the largest matrimonial website in Bangladesh(…), but no, I am not refering to this meaning.
I chosed this word to name my blog because I was supposed to leave for Osaka in 2007, and I pretended to write here my experiences once there, working for the language academy NOVA. However, NOVA bankrupted one week before I left. Therefore, I decided to stay a little more in Spain, since destiny did not want me to go that far away that time.The African Film Festival of Tarifa welcomed me again, and I worked in the core of this amazing team for almost two years. After working there, I had the opportunity to travel to the country of the rising sun. In my luggage, a lot of excitement, curiosity and a very poor knowledge of the Japanese language. But I was travelling with serenity and eager to soak up this culture. I felt that I was going to be lost and feel lost a lot of times there, surrounded by all these unintelligible characters and neon lights. However, I have learned that these situations actually help to forget the surrounding world for a moment and learn a little more about yourself and your reactions. The contact with a different culture makes you able to see yourself in other’s eyes; to see the same world and feelings we all share, through radically different points of view born far from your roots. We all smile, don’t we? However, did you ever considered the sound of a smile? For the Japanese, a little smile has a sound. It would sound like nikkori (ニッコリ). Weird, isn’t it? A cat’s meow would be nya nya (ニャーニャー), and when someone speaks very well a foreign language, they say that this person speaks pera pera (ペラペラ). I hope I will speak pera pera Japanese : )
These are just examples of how things are seen through a different point of view. It is extremely enriching to contrast others’ customs and ways of life with yours, because by contrasting them, you actually define and underline yours in some way. It helps to open your mind widely and it can even make you feel like a little tiny thing among all these unexpected and different ways of thinking, laughing, crying, eating, walking, caressing, listening, hugging, smiling and cooking that are happening right now all over the world. Therefore, after my travels through Japan (+its temples, technology and its new-pop-crazy-modern-second-power-of-the-world-society) and beyond, I expect to keep seeing amazing places, different cultures and traditions. But also to discover a little more about myself too, through the eyes of the people I may meet in each tiny corner of the world. We will see. Shaa-nai na.