Most satisfying thing(s) about learning Japanese

Throughout my (admittedly short) journey of learning Japanese so far, I have repeatedly come across a word I can understand, perhaps audible, or through reading, and the feeling really is different from other languages. Japanese being such a unique and difficult language to learn comes with increased satisfaction when you can understand things, however many or few instances you may experience.

With this in mind, what is the most satisfying you have experienced learning Japanese?

I’m hoping for answers from people of all levels, whether you’re just starting off like me, or have been level 60 for awhile now.

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Watching 天気の子 for the first time while being on a short trip in Japan and realizing I understood the entire film without subtitles was such an incredible feeling. I agree with everything you said, great post!

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For me, one of the most satisfying is when I can read something and understand its meaning without mentally translating it into English. Especially when it’s something that doesn’t really cleanly translate into English.

These moments are still more rare than not, but I look forward to encountering them more and more as I read more and more.

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Agreed with the posters above.
I think the major events that felt really satisfying were the “first times”. Roughly in chronological order:

  • first time I read a manga in Japanese
  • first time I finished a video game in Japanese
  • first time I finished a 50h+ JRPG in Japanese
  • first time I finished a book in Japanese
  • first time I finished a manga without looking up anything
  • first time I watched an episode of drama on TV and realized I understood it
  • first time I finished a 50h+ JRPG without looking up anything
  • first time I finished a book without needing to look up anything
  • first time I could binge an anime series in Japanese without feeling any exhaustion about it. (Also only time I binged, since I just don’t do that in general)
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Haha, for me it’s being able to read the title of Weathering with you in Japanese :laughing:

I have a long Journey ahead of me, but it’s nice to know there are other people doing the same thing.

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That’s definitely the most difficult part of any language. Although learning a language through a language you already know is by far the best way to learn without question, taking the training wheels off is hard, but the more you read, listen to, speak, and think, the more it comes to you. I look forward to experiencing the same thing.

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Ahh thank you for this post! I’m finding it super motivating. I’m still completely new to Japanese, but so far my most satisfying moment occurred while watching Clannad the other day.
Someone said “たぶん” ( 多分), and my mind just instantly understood it as “maybe.”
I know it’s a small victory, but it was a cool feeling not needing to actively translate it. My brain just flipped on autopilot.
I’m eager to keep learning so I can experience that feeling more often

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The most satisfying thing?

I guess it’s the fact that I’ve made lots of Japanese friends through HelloTalk app and we have phone calls almost every day. I can hold casual conversations easily now, even though there’d be words I heard them say that I still don’t know. If I pause a little or pulled a confused face or asked 「意味は何?」, they’d quickly explain the word in Japanese and I’d catch up quickly.

Oh, and I’ve been teaching Indonesian on italki for more than a year now. So far, I’ve gotten a lot of students from Japan. Most of the time, they’d be interested in learning with me because I can speak Japanese and can explain Indonesian words or grammar quite easily in Japanese. Since, you know, most Japanese people don’t speak English that well. It’s just awesome how being able to speak intermediate level Japanese has opened up so many opportunities for me. Imagine what it would be like once I achieved advanced level!

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It’s hard for me to point out specific examples of the most satisfying aspects of learning Japanese, but it’s really all in the little things.
For example, I’ve had dream in the past where conversations were entirely in Japanese and I understood what was going on.

It’s just reassuring to have those moments when it’s clear your brain is becoming accustomed to an entirely different language. For me, it’s correctly guessing a new kanji’s meaning or encountering a colloquial phrase and figuring out its usage easily. The little things add up and I feel satisfied with my progress.

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Jeez. Someone talking in English about teaching Indonesian in Japanese. Looks like this ain’t your first rodeo. :joy:

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