There are lots of posts in the forum discussing how hard it is to build pace to learn consistently, or to fight discouragement midway through WaniKani.
I’m seven levels from 60, so that is not what I mean. My problem is not that learning is hard, but that learning about Japan makes it harder.
It’s only natural that as you progress in learning a language, more and more of your attention gravitate to the country and the culture themselves. Now I feel bombarded by pessimism.
At first, it might have been foreigners throwing self-deprecating jokes around, saying they learned the language of an “island nation”, implying that Japan is both too closed off and increasingly irrelevant.
Then, I began to realize how much in reading practice can be built around dark topics. There’s the bullying question, the low fertility and aging question, the environmental question, the question of economic malaise and tyrannical, inefficient management–all spelling disaster. Characters in graded readers will compare the US to Japan and find the latter lacking. The Japanese on Twitter or Instagram will go about how they dream of leaving Japan, of how they feel trapped.
I do understand the media focuses on bad news. However, learning Japanese I cannot disengage from current media, as I have elsewhere. That means I must tolerate an ongoing barrage of information implying that learning Japanese is hopeless, useless, it will only bring you pain, you’d better off visiting the country as a tourist for a short while, without knowing the language (which I have done), and so on.
I try and concentrate on the fact that I am not moved just by utilitarian reasons but out of love: I love learning the language, I love what it has done for my brain ever since I started. But I wonder how far just love can take you? Can it carve a time for Japan for years to come? Can it carry you through frustration indefinitely?
In short: how do you deal with it?