So if you’ve made it this far, I want to leave you guys with a few final words of wisdom that have helped keep me going while studying Japanese. Because believe it or not… learning a language IS actually really stinking hard! I hope that this will be somewhat encouraging to you no matter where you may be in your studies
Or dramas, or jpop, or whatever tickles your fancy in Japanese! Yeesh, watch Japanese safety videos if that’s what it takes! But get yourself listening to the language as much as your brain can handle!
If you don’t understand anything being said… that’s okay, that’s what subtitles are for. But listening to people speaking the language in a relaxed manner is such an indispensable tool!
They say that when teaching bank clerks how to find counterfeit money, they don’t give them counterfeits as there are numerous ways to fake money. Instead they give them copious amounts of the real stuff to handle so that should they be handed something fake they will instinctively know something’s wrong. In the same way, by listening to people speaking Japanese for hours on end, your brain will start to pick up the nuances of the dialect. You’ll be able to catch a natural accent vs a fake one. You’ll be able to catch yourself when you say something wrong far faster than before.
The main reason I suggest anime specifically (aside from me really enjoying the stories in anime) is that it gives you a chance to see people just talking with each other. You start to understand the culture, the jokes, the nuances. It’s really amazing how much your brain can start to soak up without even realizing it!
Just Do It!
Are you like me, where you don’t like to do something you know you’ll fail at? Or feel like you’re just wasting your time if you can’t get 100% on something?
A very wise person once told me “Just do it…. Even if you get 4 out of 100 questions right on a test, isn’t that 4 things you would have never known if you hadn’t tried?”
Humanity has this apprehension against failure, but failure is such a common part of life. It is from our failures that we grow, and learn, just so long as we have the courage to pick ourselves back up again.
We all learn in different ways at different paces. If I wasn’t me, I would have no doubt that I would be waaay farther in my Japanese knowledge given the effort I have put into it. But I’m not someone else, nor do I really want to be. The trick is to just keep moving forward. Keep trying no matter what. There are days when I hit a part of a textbook I just can’t understand, or stuck on a question I can’t find the answer to… so I just keep reading forward. Keep reading until I can’t move forward anymore. Then I switch textbooks and start again reading from a slightly different angle so that when I come back I’ll have the perspective I need to overcome the problem I had.
Unlike in school, life doesn’t grade you on results. It grades you on perseverance. So don’t let the tough days get you down!
Ya I know… you just read this huge post in English… why on earth would you need to learn English?
Actually there are a bunch of reasons…
1) You make a far better impression on language exchange sites and apps if you are able to do a decent job teaching
2) The way we learn our first language, and the way you learn every language after that is kind of different. By relearning English after having struggled to learn a new language you may see things you didn’t realize before. Did you know English has conjugations!?!?
3) By tying features you already understand in English to the language learning buzzwords “Conjugation. Subject Object Verb, tense, etc” you can better understand how these concepts apply to the language you are learning
4) No one ever REALLY knows English…. seriously… this language is maddening!
5) it will make you VERY thankful you are just learning Japanese and not English… SERIOUSLY WE ARE INSANE!
It’s Going to Be Tough!
Like really tough. I don’t really want to sugar coat it. There will be days you want to throw up your head hurts so much. Days when you want to scream because you just can’t get it. Days you question if there is any purpose to you learning this when it has no application to your life.
There is no “Perfect text book.” there is no “Learn Japanese in 1 day!” app. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take effort. It’s gonna take a lot of your sanity…. but….
It’s Going to Be Worth It!
Never underestimate this fact! Being able to speak in another language is an AMAZING experience. Those moments when you realize you have just been thinking in another language for 10 minutes straight, or when you chuckle because the plates at the Japanese restaurant says おいしい (Oishii/tasty) on them and realize no one else at your table can realize it. Or when you are totally nervous about having a conversation with someone and are startled to realize you can keep it going for a while. Not to mention the times that you WISH people spoke Japanese around you because you could use much better words than English has to describe the current situation.
Learning a language is hard work, but it’s also so worth it! がんばてね！(ganbatene/Let’s do our best!)
Fun fact! When I am alone and not thinking about what I am doing, I can actually play out full scenes in my head in Japanese. When I’m talking to someone in person, I can say maybe 3 lines before I feel forced back to English. Why is this? Because I’m TRYING to speak Japanese, not LETTING myself speak Japanese.
It’s a hard lesson to learn, but if you let yourself get worked up, your proficiency will drop which will only make you more worked up. Breathe!
Hey Guys! Thanks for checking out this site! It was originally a tumblr post which got a little too long to keep up, so I’m hoping to have more flexibility now that it’s a full site!
I hope this is helpful for you all! Just to let you know, I’m not QUITE done yet. There are still a lot of resources yet to come. I own quite a lot of Japanese books and resources, so many that I have not been able to read all of them to the point that I feel confident in summarizing them. Listed on the next page is a list of resources I hope to be reviewing soon, (in no particular order) so keep track of this site as it continues to grow!!
If you have any questions or comments, or have some other resources you suggest me checking out, feel free to send me a message or post a comment! Otherwise best of luck on your studying! Let’s help each other out as best we can!