I like learning languages and I enjoy Japanese culture (the country, the traditions, the media). I’m a native Korean speaker and I think it’d be awesome if I was (conversationally) fluent in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese in, say, five years or so.
I go to Japan twice a year (it’s just a very nice place, I probably don’t have to explain it to you guys) but I was always afraid of the time commitment of learning Japanese.
In May we had a reservation at a wonderful, tiny sushi restaurant and I was seated next to an American guy. I didn’t expect him to just start chatting with the sushi chef, asking him questions about the fish that he was using, complementing him about the sushi, all in what seemed to me to be fluent Japanese. That was the moment when I didn’t want to be this ignorant any longer. I thought: if Matt from Utah can do it, I want to do it too.
I’d like to go back to that place in a year or two and then tell that nice sushi chef how damn amazing his sushi is. Just stuff like that: being able to express my gratitude and amazement about some of the things I experience in Japan.
It also opened up new possibilities. Even after a few months I wasn’t afraid of renting a car anymore or going to less touristy places where fewer people speak English. Totally worth the time spent so far.
I’ve never learnt a language but I’ve always liked the idea of expanding my ability and being able to connect with more people. European languages never interested me that much as most European countries already teach English to a conversational level so I’ve never felt it’s restricted my interaction with people from those countries to the point where I would need more than a few phrases in their language. I knew I wanted to learn an Asian language, I considered Mandarin but I can’t see myself going to China as immediately as Japan and unlike Japan, most Chinese people I know already have a fantastic grasp of English.
This is why I thought Japanese! I’ve always loved the culture and of course anime and manga is a big love of mine! I also adore Japanese videogames, Nintendo (specifically Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto is amazing!!) is my all time favourite but I also adore Bloodborne and the Dark Souls series as well and in terms of visiting it is a country I could see myself going to many times. I am a final year children’s nurse so in terms of working in Japan I think this would be a significant challenge but I would always love to visit for a few months between jobs in the future and having Japanese behind my belt would really help me secure a more part time job! Travelling to surrounding countries such as South Korea Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam would also be amazing and Japan would be a good base. Who knows I may even teach myself more languages depending on which countries I fall in love with during my travels! But I come from quite a poor family so a job would be essential to facilitate this as I certainly couldn’t save for a trip like this (Especially as a nurse in the NHS!)
Awesome! Hey there Ooo, I will check out that thread! My girls are 7, 4 and 2.5! My oldest wants to learn Japanese with me, and my youngest happily watches anime/j-dramas with me without complaint, so they’re getting mild exposure lol! I had my oldest work on hiragana worksheets a couple years ago, but she was still mastering english letters. I might try to teach her now that she’s reading
When I started university three years ago I had this crazy smart professor who taught a comparative literature course, and I just loved everything about the course. When I told her about changing my degree from English literature to comparative literature, she was really happy about it and sent me a MASSIVE email with potential courses I should pick before changing my major, along with requirements, and things I should keep in mind, and so on.
One of her main points was that learning languages is always a huge plus for comparative literature, and since I already know a couple European languages, she suggested to go for either Japanese or Chinese. As a young teen I always wanted to learn Japanese (for all the wrong reasons though, which is why I always quit )
So this time, I enrolled in Japanese evening classes, which were very slow (but still really helpful) and am now here, learning Kanji (and some grammar on the side), readying myself for the JLPT in December.
This is so wonderful! I hope I am as close with my daughters and still learning things together with them when they are 19 I love that your daughter motivated you to learn with her!
I hope you do go back and have a wonderful chat with the chef. This is so cool! I would love to travel to Japan someday. Also, authentic sushi sounds divine.
Have you heard of the app Learning Japanese by MindSnacks? Your kids might like it!
I haven’t! I’ll check it out, thank you so much
He has wonderful short stories too if you’d like to start sooner.
Also, I hope you passed the N5. Being the polyglot that you are, I’m sure you did! Keep us posted.
Where dem chinese wives at doe.
Youre more than welcome to join me on my hunt, my friend. Personally so long as I can find one who is cute and is good at making Pho, I’ll be happy. Also I would prefer she at least be upper intermediate level in the refined art of Mongolian throat singing.
My uncle married a Japanese woman, Noriko (のりこ?), while stationed in Japan during his military service. When I was a baby, he used to do this singsongy rhyme in Japanese while playing with my feet. My dad continued to do it with me and my younger sister, and other younger family members, and I still remember it today (mostly), although I have no idea what it means.
It went something like this:
chowchi chowchi a wa wa, chowchi chowchi a wa wa, …something something… kaiguri kaiguri, to to tomei asuma tin tin!
(Please forgive my mangled attempt to translate a childhood aural memory into romaji…)
When I was about 12, my family hosted a 16yo Japanese exchange student for a month. I totally idolized Erina, and she sent me and my sister care packages after she returned home. They were full of fun things, like pocky and candies, various sundries, and simple English language books and manga.
She once gave me two Japanese novellas (part of a series, I believe) in English translation that my tween self fell absolutely in love with, and I’d love to eventually read them in the original Japanese. I can’t seem to find them now, but they were about a girl falling in love with an angel who saves her from attempted suicide and eventually becomes human. [If anyone out there knows what these are and how I can find the originals: dude, let me know!]
In high school, I watched Akira, and Ghost in the Shell, and several Studio Ghibli films (usually ripped copies from friends working at video stores ) and loved them. And they all had a more profound influence on me than I realized at the time. I found myself returning to anime films here and there as time passed, but it wasn’t until 20ish years later that I really started getting into anime shows and manga, and now I’m irrevocably hooked (as if I wasn’t before).
Someday, I would love to be able to experience the culture without the language filter. Dubs and translation are great, but I want the native experience. And I want to visit Japan, for all the touristy reasons, of course, but also to go to Date and look up Erina, and speak with her for the first time in her native tongue. That would be a major life achievement for me.
I grew up in Hawaii, with a lot of Japanese influence around me. Lots of Japanese tourism, signs with Japanese text and Asian cuisine.
As I got a little older, I ended up becoming interested in anime, starting with Sailor Moon. From there I just sort of maintained my interest all through middle school, high school and college. Took some classes in College before transferring to a college that didn’t offer it.
Now that I’m a grown adult I figured I should do the things I really wanted to do. I wanted to read imported manga and otome games, and be able to visit Japan.
So far, I’ve visited Japan twice. I have like 15-20 imported manga ive been reading through, and I’ve played Dance with Devils and Taisho Alice, and have a backlog of several more games to play. Granted I cant understand everything and there is still a lot of translation and context clues, but I am feeling pretty good about it all!
I’ve always loved learning languages. My grandparents sometimes take me traveling, and one of my favorite things to do in foreign countries is to pick up as much of the language as I can. Usually it fades when I return home, but I’ve dabbled in Italian, German, French, Dutch, and some local languages like Ladin (northern Italy).
I also know some Spanish, to the point where I can read most Spanish texts with a little help from a dictionary.
I first got into Japanese through anime. Rather, I liked singing along to the opening and ending songs and wanted to be able to understand them better.
When I was in middle school, I learned hiragana on a whim and wrote in English, using hiragana as a kind of secret code. Around this time I also tried some basic grammar resources but didn’t go very deep.
Eventually I decided to get serious, doing grammar and vocab and all. I eventually burned out, but now I’m back with a vengeance
At this point, I’m not really learning Japanese for anime/manga/whatever. I just like learning languages and being able to understand things in a variety of ways. Being able to interpret media is a bonus of that, but for example, WaniKani is less fuel for any real use of Japanese and more fuel for my obsession with various non-Roman scripts.
Fortunately, I’m beginning to be able to understand and produce Japanese, so I could potentially use it realistically if I wanted. Then again, somehow I feel this will never go beyond a simple fascination…
As a kid, secret codes and languages were the coolest shit ever and I always tried to invent my own.
If 10 year old me could see me now, reading and writing all these weird symbols that no one around me is able to understand, she would be so happy and excited.
If only I could remember what super secret things I wanted to write about back then… I finally have the perfect secret code now and no interesting secrets to keep. Damn it!
I know why I’m studying Japanese now, but i honestly can’t remember how i got here. I was never super into manga, or anime. I watched a few as a kid but didn’t even know there were Japanese things. I had a friend who’s mom was from China and I thought she was really cool, so I always said that influenced my love for asian culture that somehow got me turned towards Japanese… but man I have no idea.
flash forward to now: Ive lived in Japan twice, Visited back once. Still slowly study, but finally this year I’ve started to look at my goals with learning Japanese. Learning Japanese is the only thing I’ve been consistently interested in since i was in high school. I think I just love learning language and it could have been anyone (and god i wish it was ANY other one… why did i pick the most difficult one… why…). So now I want to turn that life long interest into a career and a life path. So while i figure out what thats gonna look like… I’m here, studying my little kanjis bit by bit…
Oh man, I have so many of these.
There are the “real” scripts like hiragana, katakana, even perhaps punning with kanji, then Korean characters and Cyrillic…
But I also love developing my own scripts, often in an adapted syllabary form for English.
This is me writing in a sort of diary. Too much fun, even if there are no secrets!
I used to do that as a kid, too! Although, mine was mostly made up symbols directly translatable to the Roman alphabet. Had I any inkling of syllabaries like Hiragana or Cyrillic at the time, I probably would’ve used them.
In fact, when I decided to return to my language studies in earnest a few years ago, it was the writing systems that helped draw me to Russian and Japanese
I am really happy about this as well! My daughter even joined WK recently, and now we’re “racing” each other on WK levels, telling each other when the next level up is due etc - so much fun!
(Mind you, I know that I don’t stand a chance - she’s currently level 5, I am at 11, so I guess in 3 months max she will have caught up with me ^^)
Thanks for your kind words! I’ll keep you posted once the results are available.
And I’ll keep an eye out for those short stories