To defeat, to explore, or to play?

I was curious to know how people here see the Japanese language. Do you see it as something you have to defeat? Do you see it as a game that is mostly just for fun? Do you see it as something to explore, like an adventure? I’m definitely more the latter. I remember when I was learning Chinese it was definitely the former: I wanted to defeat Chinese and get on with my life (or rather, I wanted to hurry up and start learning Japanese). Not saying everyone who sees it as something to defeat feels that way, some like the challenge of it and want to view it as a challenge (like a boss in a video game). For me, seeing new grammar in Chinese was frustrating because it just meant it was one more thing I had to learn, but when I see new grammar in Japanese, so far, I’ve just felt fascination and… wonder? xD Like “oooh new grammar”… Instead of getting frustrated by synonyms, I’m (mostly) happy to have more ways I can express myself.

What about you? Has there been any evolution in how you see the language?


Interesting question! think I used to see it as something to defeat, but now I see it much more as an exploration. Less of “I’m climbing this mountain” and more of “I’m in this weird vast forest with no clear path, might as well see what’s out there!”

I think in a way too it almost feels like I “collect” bits of the language? Like when I burn a kanji, I feel like “oh cool, I caught a new one!” But maybe I’ve just been playing too much Pokémon lately :laughing:


I know what you mean! xD I feel that way too, especially when I’m playing Pokemon in Japanese and then I pick up a bunch of words (I will admit that is one frustrating aspect of not knowing Japanese, I have to stop my game to look stuff up in the dictionary). I think I “caught” more words than Pokemon…


Neither defeat, explore, nor play for me. ^^

In a way, it feels like how some people I know talk about their relationship.

There are wonderful ups, and tense downs, but I love the language so damn much that I’m always willing to put in the time and effort to make it work. Japanese makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I love Japanese more and more as our relationship matures - as I understand it better and accept all its quirks. I would feel empty and lonely without it.

How do I see the Japanese language?



I want to defeat the JLPT (I’m on the last boss), explore the Japanese language (through books), and play JRPGs (in Japanese.)


I see it as an adventure, and exciting. Every time I unlock something, I usually end up saying to myself “ooooooh! a new kanji! new vocab! new radicals!” :laughing:
I don’t want that excitement to ever fade. Its just great to explore more of the language. I want to be able to fall in love with it eventually, like Omun :slight_smile: I believe though that I have much more respect and fascination with Japanese than I have ever had.


to me it has been more of an obsession :sweat_smile: . From day 1 one it became such a big part of my life, it became a part of me right away.

I gues you could say it has been an exploration, mostly. WIth frustrating parts as well, but like Omun said, it has definitely been a love relationship from the start.


Yeah it has become more of an obsession for me too. Especially WK. I check it many times a day, and I do my reviews and also lessons when they become available.
Its just so different from any other language out there, especially English.


I used to see it as something to defeat, or solve. Now I just take a bath in it :slight_smile:


I think for me it’s like play! I’m just having fun doing it and learning new things! It’s a great way to spend my time.

I’m honestly not even sure what I’ll do once Wanikani is over and I have more free time… I guess read more things actually in Japanese? But to be honest, sometimes Wanikani is more fun than regular reading ^_^;


For me, Japanese is an adventure. I love it! I love it even more when I hear something on TV and actually understand it. It broadens my mind, and is fun to use on the rare occasions when I meet a Japanese person.


…Defeat? I guess.

I want to obtain a level of proficiency in the language and am pushing forward pretty seriously toward that. I also know that it’ll never exactly feel conquered, or be anywhere near on par with native speakers, so it’s also just exploring and getting comfortable with it. I passed the N1 this summer, which would have been my previous major goal, but the goalposts keep shifting. I’ll probably never feel completely satisfied with it.


None of the above. I see it first and foremost as a tool that helps me deal with other things in my life. It keeps me grounded when it feels like everything else is uncertain.

Also this. Learning Japanese feels like my mental “happy place.” Something about it just clicks in my head and feels right in a way I can’t explain.


Feels like I’m trying to build something and everyday keep grabbing more pieces and go back to the thing I’m building and put it in the right place and I’m like “noice that is a very gucci thing I am building” I don’t know what it is but it makes me happy and it probably won’t ever be finished


It started as something to defeat for me, but now I see it as more of a tool I’m trying to master the use of.

Since I live in Japan, every individual thing I learn increases my ability to connect with people beyond simple conversations. I live fairly deep in the country, so other English speakers are pretty few and far between, and man it can be hard not actually having relationships with people beyond the basic coworker relationship sometimes. The better I can speak Japanese, the more I can immerse myself in the community and make actual friends that I feel like I know, and they know me. And that’s a pretty hefty motivator to keep going. Especially now that I’m thinking I’d like to stay longer than I thought previously.

I also love studying it and figuring out how it works, but I’m just a nerd like that about learning new things. So it’s also something of a neverending puzzle game?


I see it like learning how to use a complicated tool like a computer. I think about the things I want to achieve using this tool, then I figure out how to implement the language to achieve success in those specific use cases. Once I’ve accomplished that, I pick a new goal and figure out how to accomplish that. After a while it piles up and then I can pretty well do whatever I want.

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I hope you’re able to make close friendships soon and connect with people there! Good luck. ^^



I find that a mixture of these three tends to be what my approach to Japanese is. I wouldn’t be studying Japanese if it wasn’t fun to me, I wouldn’t be pushing forward and continuing to learn if I didn’t have an obstacle to overcome, and I wouldn’t be interested in languages if I didn’t want to explore the differences and interesting aspects of each. So learning Japanese is a fun, interesting, and challenging journey to me.:grin:


I view it as meditation and relaxation. I set up the matcha, incense, relaxing music and then I am in the zone. I have my workbooks, kanji drills, and texts so feels fairly comprehensive


I treat it as a hobby. When I need to get away from the world for a bit, it’s nice to just sink my teeth into Tae Kim, understand it, and remember none of it. :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously, though, I find it relaxing. It’s something that I have to myself, almost; when I’m studying Japanese, I feel at ease, because I’m alone, and I don’t have to worry about pissing someone off by breathing too hard or whatever. It’s my me time. And that feels great.