I’ve been thinking about writing this topic for a while but have been lazy
So my family and I spent an entire month in Japan in Gifu prefecture visiting our extended family (we also travelled to Osaka and Nagoya by car).
We’ve been to Japan many times before and although I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for what seems like forever I’m a bit ashamed to say that I’ve always relied on my partner for everything whilst there (native Japanese). I didn’t bother trying too much because I could just rely on my partner.
Where am I going with this? … last year I decided to actually commit time, effort and a subscription to WaniKani and I can honestly say it opened up my eyes to a Japan I’ve never been able to see myself before … seems like a bit of an OTT statement right but stay with me for a bit.
I used to see signs, banners, shop names etc and just glaze over them but this time I actually recognized a lot of the Kanji and could figure out what things said or meant … instead of asking my partner where to go, where is the off-ramp, which train do I catch, what is that food, how do I buy etc, I could figure it out myself.
It seems silly but I even found myself in a fabricated situation of Pokémon Go but instead of Pokémon it was Kanji (gotta catch em all) … I went for walks around my parents-in-laws local neighborhood and just soaked in a much as I could … from signs saying this area is dangerous to children’s parks with the traffic safety is important Kanji … I was particularly proud that I recognized a sign in front of some parked cars that translated to cars for public use! I asked my partner if I was correct and she said yes those are community cars that you can book for private use.
So again where am I going with this … There was a post from another member (sorry I can’t remember the post) that mentioned that Japanese is intrinsically tied to Kanji and understanding the Kanji helps to learn Japanese and I now agree 100% …I put off learning kanji thinking I could just get by learning some grammar and phrases but since starting with WaniKani and committing to it I can completely acknowledge (well from my personal experience) that you should absolutely learn Kanji at the same time as learning grammar and vocabulary (which WK also helps with).
I could go on more about my trip (recognizing the kanji for wheat and shochu was helpfull ;)) but I dont want to make this post too boring …
So in closing … Learning Kanji will enhance your trip to Japan is many many ways
(BTW I reset my level back to 5 from 13 after coming back from Japan because I felt that I wasn’t recognizing the later level kanji fast enough).
Without writing a complete travel diary … Flew from Australia to Haneda Airport in Tokyo … had to transfer from international to domestic via a bus service which was interesting (drove across the airport and we had to wait for taxiing planes to pass) with the kids.
From there we flew domestic to Chubu airport in Nagoya where our parents-in-law picked us up and we drove for about an hour on the highway to get to Tajimi in Gifu prefecture.
The flight was smooth, we flew JAL which was a bit expensive but really nice (good food for an airline, polite and kind staff helped us with our children and the seats were roomy in economy … children also got お土産 from the flight attendants).
First week was mostly shopping and going to local parks with the kids … shopping mostly at Seiyu and ÆON … oh and lots of eating, everything we has missed after almost 3 years of lockdown … Karaagge, taco-yaki, traditional Japanese food, sushi-train, unagi (eel), ramen, tonkatsu, konbini onigiri (mostly Lawsons and Family Mart …sooo good) etc…
In the second week we went to Gifu highway amusement park (Oasis Park) and a kind of seaworld
(I’ve forgotten the name) and watched an epic dolphin and seal display then on another day drove to Nagoya (about an hour) and took the kids to the Legoland theme park … the kids loved it and as adults we thought it was cool too! …we also went to a newly opened ÆON is our local area …There was a CAPCOM store there full of Gacha Gacha machines and a fully autonomous robot collecting all the used casings … There were also autonomous robot concierges roaming about the mall and delivery robots for some of the restaurants … we also went to an all you can eat BBQ meat place where all the raw ingredients were delivered by robot … this wasn’t a place known specially for this, just a regular restaurant
Third week we went to a 旅館 (traditional Japanese Inn) on the waterfront with the whole extended family … after that drove to Osaka (about 3 - 4 hours including epic highway stops) and took the family to Universal Studios Japan … went on pretty much all the rides but the coolest things were Mario world and Harry Potter (IMO …kids may differ). Also went to Osaka Aquarium which I highly recommend …When we came back, spent time in a local nature reserve. Oh we went to an okonomiyaki restaurant there where the concierge was also a robot (Osaka).
4th week was pretty much chilling … grocery shopping for things to take back home (we had to purchase a new suitcase because we overdid it on the shopping, lol)
I’ve been able to read a tiny bit since I was a kid (enough to tell if I’m pointing at beef, pork, or chicken on the menu, or heading toward Ginza or Shibuya on the subway), but it was only this most recent trip where I could really read most of what I saw.
While it was great to be able to read more, what really struck me was how effortless it was to get more reading practice in while I was there.
Home in the US, I have to consciously try to read as much Japanese as possible. It takes effort, which I’m rarely motivated to attempt.
While on my 11-day visit this time, though, I was reading constantly, everywhere I went. It was effortless, almost unconscious. Japanese text was everywhere I looked.
I’m hoping to spend more time in Japan in 2023 now that I don’t need to deal with a spouse visa just to get in any more. I’m too lazy to read much at home — I like effortless!
This sounds so cool!!! I want to visit Japan when I grow up too!!! I decided to learn Japanese first though and changed my nintendo switch language to Japanese and I can recognize some of the kanji that pops up! I hope that if I ever visit Japan I’ll be able to understand stuff too!
Before I went to Fukuoka recently I did that and landing right in the middle of the red light district lol! Looking at a place called adult sexy club and another place that sold services by the hour… hahah. Missed the pin drop slightly, was aiming for the waterfront restaurant area. Well, all reading is good reading right?
I’m new to this group but with a name like ninjabassonline I have to ask if you have music online that you share. I’m learning bass and always like to hear good bass music or music from fellow bass players.