That’s something. Please. It would be astounding. My guess is that you've met mostly foreign language teachers. The idea that you should learn Japanese to "understand the culture" is intellectually insulting, as a linguist can easily understand the philosophies behind the language better even than the Japanese people themselves. I felt I didn't want new clothes, new things, new trips - nothing. Because oil is used in growing food and for commuting, a rise in oil price tends to lead to a cutback in discretionary spending, recession, and lower oil use in these countries. Review a website with several links, including “contact us” and “FAQ” and identify the link leading to the organization’s phone number. In the case with Japan as with other Asian cultures use an indirect style of communication. In the end, it will cause less problems for you, and it won't cause the natives of that country problems. Just ask the Chinese, Your comments on opportunity cost were especially enlightening. There are no shortcuts. So there is an argument out there that the best way to learn Japanese is to live in a rural area. What is it with native English speakers in Japan? I lived and worked in Japan for three years and I do agree with a few points in this article that you can definitely get by with only knowing a few words and phrases and that Japanese people do like using you to practice their English. I'd take Japanese I think.. They will not. After 3 years or so when I realized I've learnt my 3rd foreign language almost to the fluent level I felt I was bored and needed something in my life. That’s why it’s called Japan, and not heaven" LOL The amount of time actually speaking Japanese in these classes is very minimal, which is the major problem. You can learn Japanese with different websites like Duolingo or Memrise. Minato-ku That goes for any other country! And even if you marry someone who is Japanese, they likely speak English better than you will ever speak Japanese, and on average will end in divorce within 5 years. Seriously man, I've lived all on almost every continent and I've never met a country as anti-English as Japan... except for France, but they've got a good reason, that 100 year war thingy. Learning a new language is but a small task considering the possible rewards. Your ability to speak will be a perpetual novelty to every single person you meet, which will be fun for the first couple months and vaguely insulting ever after. I seek to to explain through Science everything that we observe in the Universe, from the comets and planets in our own solar system to distant galaxies which are far beyond what anyone can imagine. 'Japan isn't all that'. Much better to answer questions of English in French. I learned to speak fluent Chinese Mandarin after just two years of studying it. Pretty sure Yoda said that. Granted, much of it is inane (but if you think that inane TV is uniquely Japanese, you haven't seen the inanities shown to the viewing public in your own country recently), but being able to understand what is happening on TV can be a useful skill. Musical instruments take a notoriously long time to master, and if you really don't enjoy making sounds on the piano, why spend all that time practicing?? The natural scenery — yeah, that’s not so great either. "There are no tones, consonant clusters (try getting a Japanese person to say "clothes"), very few irregular verbs, no verb conjunctions, and completely transparent spelling (unlike ghoti/fish English).". I never seemed to have time for drills as I have children and a busy home life. With a university diploma and some footwork asking friends and students to send your resume to small and mid-size company HR departments, you should be able to work in a JP company for about the same or slightly more than you currently make and they will WELCOME your desire to use Japanese. That would suck, right? The architecture — mmm, it’s not so great. However, had I started learning Japanese over 10 years ago when I first became interested in it I would be a fluent speaker/reader/writer by now. First: Because it's good for your brain to master foreign languages, and the more different, the better. Is it still not worth it? Learning Japanese while extremely difficult is not unattainable as is climbing Mount Everest. It was refreshing to at least see one editorial that told the truth, that learning Japanese is a waste, but left the reader with the impression that somehow they will have no problem finding enough English in Japan. Hiring good writers is one of the key points in providing high-quality services. Yes, some good points about return on investment and all that. What did you not get away with? Well so they say at least. Face it, in speaking and listening Japan scores the same or worse than Amazonian and African aboriginals, according to the most recent report of TOEFL scores; and those are people who take that test specifically because they want to go abroad for university study. I can just converse in a simple not very long topics. But feel free to believe you are correct and scholars are not. High School: Functions. Then they find out you can speak Japanese (usually by hearing you talking to someone else, and that someone else's head not exploding from the effort of trying to speak English) and heave a huge sigh of relief. I speak excellent Japanese but it took me a lot of hard work to get there. "Of the hundreds of people I’ve seen study Japanese over the years, only about 10 succeeded in speaking the language with any level of competency.". My interest in learning Japanese comes from the number of jobs in my field that ask for bilingual people. What you you think? I happen to love it, but still. I have studied Japanese on and off for years. Teachers, textbooks and materials here for Japanese are often 30 years behind those of other languages. There's no such thing or it's different as an adult which is EXACTLY true as kids and adults learn things differently! 36% have intermediate literacy levels. That’s what everyone wants you to do. I was the only person in the house who could tell my housemates what was going on. . それは問題ないよ。単語と単語の間に仮名が入るからね。See what I mean? I sincerely look forward to article III! It's out of respect that if I'm visiting a japanese speaking country that I will at least attempt to communicate with them in japanese. Unless you don't care about making deeper friendships or love with Japanese people who might not know much or any English, being limited in your employment opportunities and your career upside, understanding the culture, being limited to living only in major cities, etc. The English classroom is virtually silent. no point cos i always will be a foreigner here and i like it that they treat me this way. I would LOVE to learn Japanese, hiragana and katakana, plus kanji. This article is solid gold, thank you for crafting it for the english world to read. I am 63 very wealthy with Japanese wife and 3 kids, extremely unhappy. But, then would you really be learning a "foreign" language? If you came to Japan for a vacation, you probably had a pretty mind-blowing time. (4) If you can't learn something for the interest value, you're taking up space that would be better used by someone else. I speak Japanese but feel I get away with certain stuff at the workplace just for being a foreigner. But that hasn't stopped me from trying... although the motivation is gone at times and I thought of giving up myself too. Seeing as we want to buy a house and spend 3 months of every year in Japan in our retirement, I think it's a bit rude to make no effort to speak with a level somewhat above basic. Or do you mean they go home after spending a year or so working here? Who said I was judging JUST based on my in-laws? I have gotten very good at living in Japan, but besides daily conversation, I have no time to put in serious study (besides waking up at 4 am), and there aren't any reasonably priced Japanese classes in my city. That's how people learned in a formal educational setting when learning English. the words are not separated in Japanese writing so even if you have a dictionary, you do not know where one word ends and another begins. I went to japan with JLPT N4 certification but i am not good in conversation. Who has not pondered the nature of the planets, stars, galaxies, and the Universe itself? Why you should not expand your mind or learn about another culture. Thanks. The natural scenery — yeah, that’s not so great either. Tel: +81 3 5561 7755 Now I came down out of the tree and I am moving away from learning Japanese Language, just the basics will be enough ;). Haha. The biggest difficulties seem to be kanji and environment immersion. Any Japanese professor who actually does speak English and has taught in an English country can tell you Japanese students just sit there and say nothing by comparison to the enthusiastic gab they saw in American classes for example. I ended up staying with people, given meals, invited into homes, and made many long term relationships. I'd prefer to be the ignorant fool when it came to their enlightening conversations. Hardly an academic journal I know, but good enough for JT. 'Opportunity cost'. And as far as the family is concerned, they have little time to learn English, so it is a hobby of mine that leads to understanding with family. The reason I say thank you to this is because, as an eager 14 year old with many passions, I am extremely interested in the Japanese language and culture. Ever think of that? I've got to admit, having just passed the JLPT N2 and been living here for 2 years, I basically agree with this article. The Kanji especially make Japanese easy non-European language to learn due to the systematic formation of the vocabulary from 1000 to 2000 building blocks, via agglutination. Keep with it. Or maybe they seriously don't know what to say? This is no different to Japanese clubs back in Australia where many aussies go because they think they love and "know" japan (they like anime and jpop culture) so they try and mix with Japanese people and in tern follow them around everywhere. I go to Japan for my holidays every year and I do my best to learn as much Japanese as I can... out of respect. Surely y’all are missing the point of learning a foreign language - anywhere - for me as a male, I get to sleep with more girls. before you get into any kind of course or classes. Just read this, there is no doubt that learning Japanese is a massive, unique investment in your life and future career: http://www.liveworkplayjapan.com/is-japanese-useful-outside-japan/. But, basically, I am just not that interested in anything that would pull me up to fluency. Often don't agree with your opinions, but this is spot on. I have read this all very interesting article and all the comments. Nothing like being able to understand TV shows here to make the rose tinted glasses fall off and shatter. Why? But in between these points, there is a contemptible valley, where your skills are good enough to converse, but you sound like kind of like an intellectually challenged Japanese person. The Japanese on the other hand are god-awful at communicating in any language, including their own. High School: Number and Quantity. Still applies, I can usually guess the meaning of words from the Kanji and/or context. I forget!). My average uni student writes things in easy kanji or hiragana and often asks other students how to write something in Japanese. We try to make sure all writers working for us are professionals, so when you purchase custom-written papers, they are of high … This is exactly the article I needed. I couldn't speak Chinese, they couldn't speak English, but we could both speak Japanese ;). Many times, I have seen panic on the faces of retail clerks or ticket sellers, only to see them relax when I address them in Japanese and explain what I need. Why smile to the camera? Just putting it off. Live here for awhile and leave as soon as you can. A middle-aged American man sitting next to me on the Yamanote line saw me studying kanji once. But I think to some degree you will find that in other countries too. You have to admit that the article has a point; that point is driven home with blunt honesty and wow do people get all bent out of shape over it. Japanese women are so beautiful! :(. It's definitely enough to be pretty proficient. Let’s say you turn out to be some super prodigy kind of dude and learn Japanese in just two years. You need to try and listen to it everyday and try to learn things on your own, not only in class. Media and Information Literacy Teaching Guide 1. I'm at the stage now where I just take notes on some vocab I don't know and enjoy the story! I've never been answered in English when I use my limited Japanese unless I've asked the person if they speak English. eh, it wasn’t as great as they thought it’d be, and they went home. Although Japanese people probably wouldn't say it, they probably think you're a fool too. Let's just insult the English speaking world, which isn't much considering that there's lots more languages on Earth though English is one of the most primarily language currently used today. In the late 1800s, the Meiji leaders established a public education system, thus greatly increasing the country's literacy rate. Pakistan: Overall literacy rate is 57.9% (male=69.5%, women=45.8%) Bangladesh:Overall literacy rate is 61.6% (male=64.6%, women=58.5%) Please note that while difference is around 6% between genders in Bangladesh, it is striking 24% in case of Pakistan. For my private life, I'm very glad that I kept at it, though the article is definitely correct in saying that there's always a higher goal to reach for and occasionally that is effing frustrating. Okay, fine but the reality is that if you intend to live in Japan, work in Japan, you MUST learn the language. It seems like no person is willing to admit that Japan isnt exactly the dreamland western ding-dongs seem to think it is (me, white girl western ding-dong head of foreign relations). I guess all those articles that people read in their native language about different cultures doesn't mean anything, right? I mean, you want to be extremely high fluent at speaking and at writing Japanese, both are extremely high objectives. The people — ah jeez, well, you get the idea. Japan is publicly adamant that it will stage its postponed Olympics this summer. For long-termers or lifers I cannot understand the mentality behind NOT learning the language. I have some lovely J friends and all that jazz. And I like conversing in Japanese, and reading and writing it. You should probably pack some sandwiches, now that I think about it, and maybe some beers too. (tried to share but the share button seemed to be some kind of trap...just saying). Now 35 years later I live in United States since 1998 being pretty fluent in English both speaking and writing. True, you'll never really be Japanese, but many of my fellow translators have proved that you can live a full adult life in Japan if you bother to learn the language to what is called "professional competence.". -Samm. Because that would be great and the world would like that, and then I could sell the world some secret method that I dreamed up and I’d be rich and the world would be happy. I wish I hadn't wasted all my time NOT learning Japanese. I mean,we all grow up hearing how hard japanese and other asian languages are and how it's 101% impossible to learn it and even if you try to do so,you'll probably fail,and that's exactly what you emphasized once more here. ), I'll give you my experience. I've always been met with total delight when it's discovered that I can speak a little and read somewhat; help is always forthcoming. Maybe their career as an English teacher is something of a dead end? Like I said, real culture is not something you learn in a textbook. It takes time and effort but it can be done. Registered just to say if English is your first language perhaps you should stick to it until you can write an article in proper English. I tried to use the language and people everywhere, young and old were generous to my outreach. Well then, I stand corrected... You know it's sad that someone who has obviously spent an extended period of time in this country feels so bitter towards the locals. and not because I have a Japanese girlfriend (although she does help me =p) but because I've been using Japanese books to read and learn from on a daily basis. As for Japanese only being useful in Japan... er, no. In Japan I try and give as much as possible to be courteous, witty and observe protocol. I have lived and worked in Japan as an Engineer and as an ALT teacher. The part where you said that people think Japan is heaven I totally agree,but it mostly comes from immature teenagers who just discovered how wonderful and interesting Japan can be,despite it's dark and sad side such as suicide and the misoginist way some japanese men see women including many others difficulties japanese society has to deal with,like ANY other country in the world,my dear. Yet I wonder how many people have actually talked to one. When I really thought what I wanted was the joy of using Japanese. The thing you fail to mention in this "article" is that English is like a sport. But i will be really honest, i really want to learn japanese especially because i feel like its something i need to do.. its hard to understand and explain but thats it.. Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. Once they 'stop out' there's a lot of inertia that is difficult to overcome, and to get them back into college," Renick says. I can't count how many times I've gone to a museum or location and the English only covered half, if that, the content the Japanese covered. By the way, my job is in English -- I work for an American company in IT, and my wife speaks perfect English, so I really could legitimately get away with the bare minimum Japanese if I wanted to, but I live in Sendai where there aren't many foreigners and most Japanese people have little to no English experience. 'The payback'. But that was back in 1991. This article made it for just a little harder to learn this language. The more you know the better off you are. While there's still some debate among scholars whether or not a particular language influences someone's thought process? But I do read and watch movies, and when I visit Japan, my brain soon clicks into gear. But anyway, I don't think we should discourage people to try and learn a new skill, even if they do drop out in the end. The candidates were Japanese, Chinese, Arabic and two Indian languages. And definite 'competency'? I can understand what's happening on TV. And anyway, all you seem to talk about is Kanji, but what about Keigo and all it's formalities? But I don't think that's right. If they are deaf, mute, and blind, then yeah, they probably don't know as much as someone with all their senses in tact. Because, you clearly will never need it outside Japan and shouldn't need it inside Japan if the Japanese would truly prepare for the global economy. Mr Seeroi, you are forgetting about the people that maybe just want to learn a new language for fun. I've gotten some opportunities at work, but because of the convoluted Japanese work dynamics and the problem of keigo, it's not generally advisable for me to use it in the office, since many native speakers even have trouble with the appropriate level of formality. I disagree with pretty much everything in this article. But then again, maybe I and every other long term American resident of Japan are "just anecdotal". Just saying. The Kanji especially make Japanese easy non-European language to learn due to the systematic formation of the vocabulary from 1000 to 2000 building blocks, via agglutination. Yes, Japanese is not used as much as Chinese, Spanish, French or English, however it is still in the top 10 languages by usage. Since then, its been native material for my study and I don't regret it. Next in two months I will be able to understand business related topics. The style of language is focused on speaker and depends on a person's status and identity. This is not a good reason. Sure, but in a limited way. There's also the matter of the assholish demonization of Japan in this article. Obvious facts: (1) You can get very good in a year if you stay away from English language situations and put in some effort (2) The writer must know some very...can't find a polite description, so I'll be brutally honest...lazy and/or dumb people for his sample group. Like Cleo says, often people really open up to foriegners in ways they wouldn't to other Japanese people - though as nandakandamanda says, perhaps that is only in the sticks. It's as though they feel they're entitled to be awe'd at by people who speak english and japanese simply because they themselves speak english and japanese. What if you're learning it because it's the language of the land you live in, and you want to be able to live like an adult taking care of yourself instead of needing other people do everything for you? If you are planning to live here only 1 or 2 years then you would be seriously wasting your time if you tried to get "good" at Japanese (unless you are Korean or can already read Chinese, etc.). They won't think you're serious if you didn't bother learning their language. Not exactly a great example. :) it's very, very hard though because school takes up a half a day and then I got football practice. It's not how good you are, It's whether or not you tried. Tokyo 106-0044 In my own opinion language and culture are closely connected. But, I have been studying Japanese as a hobby (4year in evening class, once a week). When I read the title, I was ready to disagree right away. Anyone with an interest in Japan should learn a little Japanese, I really believe. The foreigner who thinks Japanese is a waste of time doesn't. Depending on how much you love learning that language,how much you are insterested,the amount of effort you put into it and it ofc can take years and even decades,depending on person to person. 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