I've been having trouble making myself understood recently.
No, the Japanese language study is going well. Thanks for asking. I assume you asked.
Learning more Japanese is the least of my problems right now. The main issue I'm having is with other English speakers from different countries. They just don't get me, for some reason. My British-isms are about as understandable to them as expert-level kanji. Which, if you need it spelling out, is NOT AT ALL.
Back home, I considered myself pretty good at making conversation. I was comfortable at dinner parties. I could hold my own (and my obligatory glass of wine, for mingling) with the best of them.
Now, I feel like a toddler trying to say 'mama' without dribbling mashed carrots down my front. I have to repeat things and explain myself a lot lately, to the point that it'd be easier to say nothing and hide under a rock. It'd also be cooler under there, I suspect.
Oh, no, wait, I can't say things like that. Jokes? Forget it. My sense of humour's been lost in translation - it didn't even make it as far as the baggage carousel. Every business card I hand out now has 'comedy writer' hastily scribbled over. I will inevitably be outed as a fraud the next time I open my mouth.
Time to roll out a new Japanese phrase here:
越えられない壁 (koerarenai kabe)
This roughly means 'a wall you can't get over'. That wall might be someone with more experience that you just can't beat, or even your own insecurities holding you back. It could be your manager, resolutely blocking your promotion by refusing to retire.
To me, the 'insurmountable wall' is the most appropriate representation of the language barrier. It's not just in the way - neither of us can (figuratively) get over it.
I wasn't expecting to deal with this kind of 'biling-wall'. And THAT is exactly the kind of gag that I can't make out loud any more.