Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Learning Japanese

{My best friends... lately}

Learning the language is probably the most important part of immersing yourself in a new culture. Looking back, I realize that not learning Korean as probably a huge part of my struggle with the culture. And lately, I've experienced diverse situations where my lack of skills embarrassed me. For instance, not being able to communicate with my kindergarten students makes me so sad, especially when they excitedly tell me stories about their day.

Japanese is not the easiest language to learn. Written Japanese is made of three different scripts, and the kanji characters can take several years to master. Hiragana and Katakana are syllabic scripts, which are a bit easier, but still require some patience. As for spoken Japanese, it's actually easier than it sounds.

So here I am, tackling Japanese. I'm practicing my strokes in my kana workbook, I'm studying kanji flash cards on a daily basis, and listening to my Japanese lessons on podcasts. I'm also luckily surrounded by Japanese friends (and fluent foreigner friends) who provided me with amazing resources. And, I live out in the countryside, where English is not used, so it helps.

I'm actually having so much fun studying! It takes a lot of time and energy, but I am loving it. The best part is when words start to make sense, or when I blurt out a full sentence... and get my point across.

がんばって!! ("Do your best")


DiamondsandTulle said...

Good luck! Japanese is definitely a hard language to learn. I used the Pimslaur CD's in my car years ago but I forgot it all. It was great for practicing everyday sayings and enunciation!

xx Vivian @ http://diamondsandtulle.blogspot.com

~ Lopa said...

Ohh i know those blues from language difference, I am struggling with same, learning Dutch !

Kattrina said...

I lived in Japan when I was little and learned Japanese pretty easily. Then, years later, I tried to learn it again and it seemed impossible. Way different than the romance languages. I finally conquered Spanish after two years of full immersion and it felt great - so keep working because it's soooo worth it!!

Anonymous said...

I've always found learning languages so frustrating, because I always want to get it right away, which never really happens. But the feeling you get when you're first able to carry on conversations with locals (even limited conversations) is so, so satisfying!

{lovely little things} said...

I had a hiragana and katakana workbook in school, I should probably whip those out in preparation for my trip!