Why are you *really* learning Japanese?

TLDR: The sooner you start having conversations, the sooner you will become more comfortable with having conversations. Don’t worry about what you can’t do, just do the best you can and you will slowly build your foundation off of that. I couldn’t put together a sentence longer than a few words when I started talking.

The only practice I had before was a 10 second “すみません、日本人ですか?日本語を勉強しています!えーと。。。それだけです” at a shop and when I ordered some food at a Japanese restaurant.

When I started practicing speaking, I was around level ~40 and would never read/use Japanese outside of wanikani and watching movies/series/anime.

I had to check, but it’s been just over a month since I started taking lessons. I now feel very comfortable speaking, explaining my thoughts and asking “how, why, what, when” when I hear my tutor say something I don’t understand; which has helped me be able to search and read answers in Japanese as well.

They often offer a “Conversation Practice” lesson and an actual lesson where they go through textbooks, etc. I prefer studying by myself since the information is all out there online, and using the lessons to practice actual conversation. A bonus is that the conversation practice lessons are also cheaper, since they don’t require any preparation from the tutor.

It really comes down to how many hours you rack up in conversation practice/immersion and I’m still nowhere near fluent. This is just my experience (I’ve been averaging 3 lessons a week.)

I like to compare it to how a baby learns a language, they are just immersed in it and gradually pick it up.

1 Like

At first I wanted to watch anime without the need for subtitles, or read the true manga source, but my motivation kind of faltered after a while.

Over time I’ve started to appreciate the small parts of Japanese culture, philosophy, and politics that have been translated for me, and I really want to dive deeper to broaden my perspective. I have lived my entire life in the western world, and I feel like I might be missing something important.

I still enjoy manga and anime, and I’ll probably be doing amateur translating projects to practice my Japanese, but my main motivations have changed a little.

Originally it was because I loved anime, and no one was really into it back when I was younger (a long time ago). I wanted to make Japanese friends as I fell in love with the culture through anime. Now I’m learning at university because I want to teach in Japan.


Because my Grandparents want to be current with Redo of Healer but due to their old age, are relying on me to translate it in real time as I put them to sleep.

1 Like

Being an ALT is a great time to study Japanese, if you are deliberate with it. Depending on your area there can be a lot of down time, so its a great opportunity. I know my Japanese shot up from N5 to in between N4 and N3 in a very short amount of time.

1 Like

Oh man this is the best motivation. Im hoping so since I want to be conversational in 2 years. We will see

Yeah, the teachers can be very helpful too. Like, I managed to get a hold of kanji workbooks that ES students use.

1 Like

After a long period of enjoying Japanese anime/manga, I recently(about 6 months ago) woke up and decided to begin studying Japanese with intent to become fluent in both speaking and writing. Over the time I’ve spent studying, I’ve actually begun to enjoy nuances about Japanese culture and have picked up a few Japanese hobbies such as practicing Shodo. So i guess the reason why I am learning Japanese is to become further immersed in the culture and eventually maybe even live in Japan.

TL;DR – I am learning Japanese to gain career change experience.

I originally went to school to teach English. While at community college, I tried to join the Japanese language club because I was very motivated to teach English as a foreign language. Unfortunately, the Japanese language club did not mesh with my expectations – it turned into an anime club. I am a fan of some anime and I collected some volumes of my favorite manga, but I was more interested in actually learning Japanese more so than having weekly watch parties of obscure anime. After I got my two year degree, I enrolled in school online to work full time as a elementary school teaching assistant. The school district I worked at was small, rural, Title IX, but I loved the kids. The politics and administration made the experience pretty awful, with some coworkers being downright vindictive. It was an environment I didn’t want to be in, so I switched majors to professional writing, and I started a job as a technical writer back in April of this year, completing college in June. I really enjoy the pay, but I know I can be doing something more exciting, so I began learning Japanese in September with a goal of studying and climbing this ladder to prepare for applying for the JET program. I like the idea of working for 12 months, so coupling the technical experience with proficiency in a foreign language, I am excited to see where I can go with that.

I don’t want to come across as too lofty or idealistic, but I have both volumes and workbooks for Genki 3e, and I have several friends who are fluent in Japanese. My goal is to attempt the N2 JLPT in July 2024. I am very motivated!


This really makes me feel better! Speaking / listening has been something on my list for awhile and I figured that over time I’d get “versed enough” through some practice to shift… But it sounds like this has worked really well for you! Ultimately, the only way you will get better in those areas is if you do it eh?

I may take your advice and start looking into this over the next few months.

1 Like

Japanese Women.


First time posting!

This is an interesting question, I think. My goals kind of evolved over time. In the beginning I just really wanted to be able to watch anime/read manga in the native language. I felt a lot was lost in translation.

As I’ve gone deeper into the language, I’m remembering a very kind Japanese friend I had in childhood. She was the sweetest person and would bring me (what I know know are umeboshi rice balls, but at the time I thought they were regular pickles) Japanese foods at lunchtime. I got to know her family and they were all warm people.

Someday I’d love to have a multi-cultural Japanese family like that and so speaking the language is a must. The media is great of course but it’s really the people and culture/community I’d like to take some part in someday.

1 Like

My little brother has a crippling addiction to reading Hentai subtitles, and he pays me to translate them.

1 Like

Being paid to watch porn, best of both worlds.

While he’s watching? I dont think its the W you think this is.

1 Like

is this a cry for help
this sounds like a cry for help

1 Like

I wanted to be able to watch anime without the subtitles. (One Piece fan here!) I also read that kanji and hanzi is similar. I’ve been studying Chinese with Pandanese and was thinking that both could supplement each other.

My friend is involved with an underground scanlation crime syndicate and needed me to pretend I don’t know English so they can’t trace me back to him… but this question was really important to me, so if any 3 letter people are watching,すみません、英語を分からない。