First of all, I’ve been learning on WaniKani since September and so far I’m having a blast, just so easy to get committed to the learning !
My question is, as I’m planning to go to Japan next summer, I’m going to travel all the way through from Osaka to Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama and finally Tokyo and maybe try more on the countryside.
I gave myself one year to learn enough Japanese, can I get a decent level to interact with people there in such a small time (I’m committed to a 10-15 hours a week learning schedule) ?
I have to say, I’m scared of dialects and formal/plain forms in situation specially when I do only very academical learning ahah
You’re more organised than I, I started in August for a trip in February. I thought I was doing pretty good too until I tried a JLPT exam training session and realised, I have virtually no grammar learned
So I’m tempted to slow a little bit on wanikani and see if I can make myself sound a bit more civilised
A year is plenty of time to get the basics down, I think you’ll be fine! And I wouldn’t worry about dialects too much. Everyone will understand “standard” Japanese just fine.
As far as forms, as a tourist you’ll likely be using polite language (ます、です) most of the time. Unless you become fast friends with people at an izakaya or something, and in that case you can speak casually. But people will know you’re a foreigner, so you’ll get cut plenty of slack!
When in summer are you visiting? Prepare yourself for some serious heat and humidity. I mean, If you can say 暑いですね、then you’re already speaking like a local.
Enjoy your trip! I live in Yokohama— I hope you enjoy your time here!
Don’t be. It’s unlikely for Japanese people to speak to you in dialect (unless they’re elderly), but don’t be afraid anyway. About polite Japanese, if you understand です/ます forms you should be fine. In restaurants, if the staff speak Japanese to you it might be super formal keigo, which can be a pain. Either way, if you don’t understand something, just say すみません。もっと易しい日本語でお願いします or anything similar. and you should be fine.
I get that haha, same here, I do have more and more vocabulary but not any clue how to organise that in a sentence, I try some with my Japanese friend but most of the time I’m wrong, which is fun anyway
First of all, going in the coming summer is an interesting choice. Japanese summer is notoriously hot and humid. And around the olympics too? The amount of foreigners would bother the hell out of me, personally. But you likely won’t see too much of that if you’re staying outside Tokyo for the most part.
Second, I would focus on learning the polite forms and not worry too much about plain forms. Do bear in mind though that, at a structural level, Japanese is built from the plain forms up, so you’re kind of doing things backwards. It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of the plain forms, in fact it’s essential, but you will want to use polite form almost exclusively while over there, so bear that in mind.
Lastly, on the topic of whether it is enough time to interact will people… that’s a tough one for all manner of reasons. But most importantly, having the theoretical knowledge and then actually opening your mouth in front of someone trying to communicate with them in a real world situation is VERY different.
When I first went to Japan I had no practise and it was very difficult to apply what I learned. I would heavily advise seeking someone to pactise talking to online, or you can find people on website likes italki who charge hourly to coach you.
I’m actually planning the same trip! Only I will be helped a bit because I have “family”(Japanese exchange student that lived with my wife while they were both in high school) that live in Tokyo and will let my wife and I stay with them which makes things a ton easier on us. I too am hoping to be well versed in basic conversation by that point though. I’d like to impress her more than rely on her to get around though, so I’m practicing my Kanji as well as grammar and writing to make sure I can be a decent conversationalist by that time.
That sounds like an amazing trip! Like others have said, if you have the basics down, you should be just fine. People in Japan really want to help and as long as you can convey your message in some way (be it gestures, words you know, smiling and nodding…) I think you should be just fine! Upping the amount of time you spend studying will definitely help.