Hi folks, back at it again with another rant that I’m sure some people have been able to relate to in the past, or maybe even right now.
The problem is simple : I can’t read ‘real’ Japanese! You know, the kind of Japanese that Japanese people speak with their friends in person, or maybe between friends online (Facebook, LINE, twitter).
It’s actually been a huge drag for me as of late. It sort of ties in with the fact that I need to work on accepting ambiguity, but in the past I eventually was able to learn things that once confused me via textbook, my tutor, the friendly WK community, or free online resources as I was digging into the very basics of Japanese.
But now that I have most of the basics of Japanese grammar on my back, I find myself still feeling like I haven’t learnt a single thing! I’m not really interested in reading news articles and such, I am more interested in conversing with Japanese people about Japanese hobbies that I like online. As such, I often see sentences that are just beyond any realm of comprehension to me since these people are writing in a very… Casual…? way of Japanese that textbooks just don’t seem to brush on much (for good reason?).
I even see this style of writing in a Japanese mobile game I play during the VN style cutscenes. I can’t hardly understand any of what is written in the text boxes because they just talk so differently!
I’ll try and provide you with some examples to better describe this phenomenon.
This was a message my tutor had sent me when I had asked her if she could send me some material we went over, I understood this sentence and hardly had to think about it, really : “ははは、はい、ちょっとまってくださいね、私は今歯医者にいますから、後でメッセージ送ります(^^)”
Now let’s take a piece of a random post from a Japanese friend of mine on Facebook :
Aside from some words, I don’t understand this at all… Am I maybe overthinking and there is much more advanced grammatical concepts at play here?
When I converse with Japanese people I also find they start using that “textbook Japanese” with me as well. It’s much appreciated though, because I can usually understand it without any issues usually (less new words).
I read social posts in Japanese on and off all day long, so I feel like I’m definitely getting the immersion that is necessary for wanting to understand casual Japanese, but still making 0 progress to understanding it.
At times I look up things that I start realize are patterns (って particle、い form of a verb, etc) and it does kind of help, but things in-between that just feel like noise to me and nothing more. Like abstract concepts.
Several times I have really felt like dropping Japanese altogether since a big part of the reason why I want to learn it (talking to the Japanese community for my hobby) feels like it is continuously far out of reach for me.
So that’s my rant… Have you been here before too? Are you here right now? Anything you found that helped you better understand casual Japanese?
And to end things on a more positive note, I recently set all my devices to Japanese. Maybe it’s a placebo, but being forced to look at kanji almost all day now has helped me remember kanji a lot more easily! Yay!