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移居东京,一场事业与家庭的大冒险

更新时间:2016-10-13 11:41:48 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Bowing to a New Life, in Tokyo
移居东京,一场事业与家庭的大冒险

TOKYO — Sitting in the library of my children’s new school, I listened as guidance counselors reminded us that it would be difficult to restrict screen time if we were constantly peering into our phones ourselves.

日本——我坐在孩子们的新学校的图书馆里聆听着,辅导员正在提醒家长们,如果我们自己不停盯着手机看,会很难限制孩子们对着屏幕的时间。

Right on cue, my cellphone buzzed with an alert. Large tremors in North Korea indicated that the country had just conducted its fifth nuclear test, a story I would have to jump on to contribute reaction from Japan.

恰好在这个时候,我的手机响起一声通知提示音。朝鲜出现了强烈的震动,说明这个国家刚刚进行了第五次核试验,我必须马上行动,报道日本对此作出的反应。

I tiptoed out the door, whispering to my husband that I needed to make calls and leaving him to attend the rest of the back-to-school sessions.

我踮着脚尖走出门,轻声对丈夫说我需要打几个电话,留下他一个人继续参加开学会议。

As a journalist for 22 years and a mother for more than half that time, I’ve grown accustomed to news interrupting family life. But in Tokyo, where I moved with my family in August to take up the post of bureau chief, the disruption has been far more extensive.

我做记者已经有22年,当母亲也有十多年,已经习惯了被新闻事件打乱家庭生活。但在东京,这种扰乱的程度要大得多。我在今年8月接受了东京分社社长的职位,与家人一起搬到了这里。

After all, it’s not just one dinner or one weekend that needs to bend to my work: It’s my loved ones’ whole lives. My husband quit a senior position in New York as a technology consultant to city government, and my children, 12 and 10, left behind schools and soccer teams and beloved friends.

毕竟为迁就我的工作而牺牲的不只是一顿晚餐,或一个周末:而是我挚爱的人的整个生活。我丈夫辞掉了作为纽约市政府技术顾问的高级职位,12岁和10岁的两个孩子离开他们原先的学校、足球队和好朋友。

We are adjusting to our new life in tandem. While relying on the two excellent researchers and translators in the bureau, Makiko Inoue and Hisako Ueno, I am working with a private tutor to improve my intermediate Japanese. My husband discovered a language class at a recreational center in our neighborhood, and my children are studying Japanese at their international school. It is thrilling to see how eager they are to show off their new vocabulary after years of resisting my efforts to teach them.

我们正在协力适应自己的新生活。在分社依靠两位杰出的研究员和翻译井上真己子(Makiko Inoue)和上乃久子(Hisako Ueno)帮忙的同时,我也和一位私人家庭教师在一起努力提高自己的中级日文。我丈夫参加了我们家附近的一座娱乐中心开办的语言课,孩子们也在他们的国际学校学日语。多年来我一直企图教他们日文,总是遭到抵制,如今看到他们那么兴奋地炫耀自己学到的新词汇,真是让人激动。

At work, I am adapting to new customs, including the practice of bowing and immediately proffering a business card when meeting someone for the first time, and the need to fax formal interview requests. One organization recently demanded that we send a request by snail mail.

工作中,我在适应一些新的习俗,包括鞠躬和在初次见面时立刻奉上自己的名片,以及用传真发出正式的采访申请。最近,有一家机构要求我们通过普通邮寄方式发送采访申请。

On his new soccer team, my son is also learning Japanese rituals. After every game, the team bows in gratitude to the field, and each player individually thanks the coach. To help my son understand his coach’s commands, my husband printed out a list of soccer terms and their Japanese equivalents. When he typed into Google Translate the word “matanuki” — the Japanese word for a maneuver known in English as a “nutmeg,” in which one player knocks the ball between the legs of another — it came up with “crotch punching.” Father and son relished that one for days.

在足球队里,我儿子也在学习日本礼仪。每场比赛结束后,整个球队要向场地鞠躬,每个球员都要单独向教练表示感谢。为了帮助儿子明白教练的指令,我丈夫打印了一个足球术语及其对应日语说法的列表。当他在谷歌翻译中输入“matanuki”——一种动作的日文说法,在英语里被称为“nutmeg”(传穿档球),即一名球员踢球,使之穿过另一名球员的两腿之间,出来的结果是“crotch punching”(胯部击打)。父子俩为此乐了好几天。

As I catch up on immigration policy, women in politics and Japanese boy bands, my husband has figured out how to decode the Japanese-only instructions on all the household appliances in our apartment by watching YouTube videos. We all rejoiced when he found an English translation online for every button on our new television’s remote control.

当我在恶补有关移民政策、日本政坛的女性和日本男孩团体的知识时,我的丈夫在通过看YouTube上的视频竭力破译公寓里所有家用电器上的全日文说明。当他在网上找到我们的新电视遥控器所有按键的一个英文翻译时,我们都欢欣鼓舞。

There have been hiccups: Within days of moving into our apartment, an Ikea folding chair snagged two of my daughter’s fingers. We did not even know where to find the nearest hospital, let alone one where the staff spoke English. We ended up in a nearby emergency room where we muddled through with my conversational ability, a bilingual dictionary app, and the kind doctors and nurses.

但也有一些小问题:搬进我们的公寓几天后,一把宜家(Ikea)的折叠椅划破了我女儿的两根手指头。我们甚至不知道最近的医院在哪里,更别说工作人员会说英语的医院了。最终,我们去了附近的一个急诊室。在那里,靠我的对话能力、一款双语词典应用以及好心的医生和护士,我们狼狈地应付了过去。

Journalistically, Japan has posed some challenges. Because of the strict system of members-only “press clubs,” I could not even get into a police news conference when reporting on the country’s worst mass killing since World War II. And when working on a follow-up story about how the victims’ names have still not been released, the police refused to answer any of my (faxed) questions, agreeing only to read aloud a three-sentence statement if we sent someone to the prefectural headquarters an hour away by train.

在新闻工作上,日本构成了一些挑战。因为严格的仅面向会员的“记者俱乐部”制度,我在报道日本二战后最严重的大规模杀人事件时甚至无法参加警方的新闻发布会。在跟进报道为何至今仍未公布遇难者姓名时,警方拒绝回答我(通过传真发送)的任何问题,仅同意我们派人坐一小时的火车到他们的县总部,然后大声宣读共有三句话的声明。

After a particularly busy week in which I was rarely home before bedtime, my son spoke the phrase dreaded by working parents the world over: “How come we never see you?”

我度过了特别忙碌的一周,很少在就寝时间之前到家。在那之后,我儿子说了一句全世界在职父母都害怕听到的话:“我们怎么永远都看不到你?”

Throughout our time here, I know there will be more such moments. But there is no question that the family adventure will make relocation a good trade-off.

我知道,在日本期间这种时候会更多。但毫无疑问,这场一家人的探险之旅会让搬家的烦扰变得值得。

I knew we had made the right decision when my daughter came home from school her first week, having met some classmates who, like her, are new to Tokyo. Several of them have already lived abroad in other places like Hong Kong and Singapore. “I think that would be kind of cool to move around,” she said. “Where do you think we’ll go next?”

当女儿第一周从学校回来后,我知道我们的决定是正确的。她碰到了一些和她一样刚来东京的同学。其中几个还在香港和新加坡等其他地方生活过。“我觉得搬来搬去挺酷的,”她说。“你觉得我们接下来会去哪儿?”

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