Saturday, September 12, 2009

How to Write in Japanese - Advice to a Friend

When a friend of mine sought my advice regarding her interest in learning Japanese, I said...

"Writing in Japanese can either be very easy or very difficult. Attitude aside, I firmly believe that a lot depends on whether you've found a system or method of teaching and learning that is suitable and works well for YOU.

The reason I say this is because unless you're being forced by law to learn Japanese, clearly, the only reason anybody would choose to do so is because they have a desire and interest to do so.

Since there's desire and interest in the subject, why then, aren't more people able to speak, read and write in Japanese fluently?

IMHO (in my humble opinion), I say don't blame the student, don't blame the teacher, blame the system.

Traditionally, there are two basic ways to approach learning how to write in japanese:

  1. Ad-hoc - you have a phrase in mind that you want to learn how translate into japanese and
  2. Academic / Methodical - you want to start from the basics and work your way up towards being able to read, write and speak Japanese as an additional language.

I think ad-hoc works if you're extremely passionate about the subject and are eager to learn. But if that's the case, you'd probably also do extremely well in an academic environment, and might be better off doing so - since you can get certified and use it to further your career and everything.

But for the average person who's interested but not yet passionate (namely me), I would advise against taking a formal class unless you're the seriously bookish and studious type who takes pleasure in stiff classroom environments.

Having attended formal classes myself, I found the classes to be instructive and even helpful. But the structure and formality of attending classes week by week didn't sit well with me. Don't get me wrong. I have a serious interest and desire to learn Japanese. But attending the classes somehow left me feeling stifled and very, very bored.

I stopped going of course.

Since you're willing to pay to learn Japanese, I think it makes sense that you find a system, teacher or something, that allows you to learn in way that's personally comfortable, enjoyable and pleasing to you.
We're not in school anymore. We have the right, choice and responsibility to ourselves (and to our money) to do what's right for us. We deserve to do what feels good.

My previous formal japanese class experience has shown me that I'd much rather learn at my own time and pace, from the comforts of my home, where I don't have to suffer or endure the inane questions of other
clueless students-of-japanese when I'm eager to move forward with the lesson.

Only you know what's right for you.

In conclusion, I recommend that you shop around and look for a program that really suits YOU. If you want to meet other people and have classmates, a formal classroom style could be your thing. Otherwise, I'd strongly recommend purchasing an online program like Rocket Japanese so you can learn and discover at your own time and place. Best of all, online programs give you a money-back guarantee. I've not yet come across a formal japanese language school that gives you that.

Lots of Love,

 I figured that having an online Japanese language classroom allows me to learn more effectively as compared to learning from a language school. I found the solution to get rid of the boring teachers and routine classes. Find out how I managed to do that with just a few clicks of the mouse....



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