What motivated you to learn Japanese in Japan? Learning a new language need energy, time and all other efforts. To do so, of course, you want to know if learning a new language is worthwhile.
Why learn Japanese, what’s in Japan? Tells you about the benefits of learning Japanese, and what Japan can offer in mastering it. Watch a video of Pathway Japan, helping you in the decision making.
Without further ado, let’s learn Japanese and experience Japan!
- Why learn Japanese?
- Japan, country of the Rising Sun
- Japanese, a popular foreign language
- How hard is it to learn Japanese?
- Learn Japanese the best way
Why learn Japanese?
Are you thinking of starting to learn Japanese? Would you like to study in further education or pursue a career in Japan?
Each person has a different objective in coming to Japan to learn Japanese. For instance, because of the interest in the culture or want to study in universities. Some may wish to gain language skills for their future career. What would you like to achieve in Japan?
This page tells you about the benefits of learning Japanese and what Japan can offer in mastering it.
At the end of this page, you will have a more clear vision of your objectives to learning Japanese. And this can help you make the right decisions and choices in your study in Japan.
Japan, country of the Rising Sun
Japan, the country known as the land of the Rising Sun. 日本 pronounced Nihon or Nippon, named in the early 6th century.
The name came about in a letter sent to Prince Shotoku. The Prince was the symbol of Japanese culture, who brought peace to the country by establishing a centralised state system.
To learn the foreign culture and the governing system, the Prince Shotoku sent a Japanese politician, Ono-no Imoko abroad to Asia. In his letter to the Prince, he described Japan as “日の本”. It means the land situated in the direction of the sunrise. This is how it all began.
Japanese culture, old and new
Japan is known for its characteristically unique culture. Not only does the language, but customs also differ from all other countries.
The country has a rich history and mixed culture of old and new, which reflect in the way of life of the Japanese. The trends change fast, and there is always something new to discover in Japan.
Some are so unique which can make your eyes pop. However, behind these new trends, traditions are maintained, which the Japanese feel strongly about. It is this contrast that makes Japan so unique.
For its culture, food, hospitality, and the way of life, Japan has been attracting visitors across the globe.
UNESCO world heritage
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of visitors and international flights to Japan in the last few years. Because of this rapid demand, there are now 4 main international and 21 smaller international airports in Japan. This tells you how dynamic Japan has become. And the world has become so much closer.
One of the main attractions in Japan is the 23 UNESCO world heritage sites. There are many other historical sites that exist secretly in this mysterious land of Japan.
Train journeys are very comfortable and the easiest way to get to those sites. Viewing the fabulous nature of Japan during the season change is an attraction of the train journey. Another attraction is the Bento box, which you can purchase at the stations. Each Bento is made using local ingredients, presenting its regional cuisines.
Just hop on the train, enjoy Bento and let it take you back in time to the ancient history of Japan.
Japanese, a popular foreign language
Japan is an island, thousands of miles away from other countries, such that getting to Japan had not been easy. Information about Japan had not been available nor easily accessible. However, in the last few decades, many Japanese had gone abroad to study and to explore new opportunities. Those abroad introduced Japan through Japanese culture and food, which gradually spread to the world.
Japanese culture is a mixture of tradition and pop. Traditional culture, for example, is Kimono, Tea ceremony and Calligraphy. All of these require special skills that have been passed through generations over the centuries. Today, these traditions and techniques are recognised as the art of Japan.
On the other hand, pop culture is new. Such as Manga and Anime have been one of the most loved Japanese entertainments in Japan for decades. These characters were integrated into developing computer games, and those games instantly became global hits.
Because of Japan itself and the unique culture, more foreign nationals became interested in the Japanese language. As a result, Japanese has become one of the popular foreign languages to learn.
“Japanese”, a tool for empowerment
Another reason for the popularity is that many wish to pursue a career using Japanese as a second language.
Japan is the third-largest economy in the world. Simultaneously, thousands of Japanese companies invest in countries around the world. Due to its global presence, the Japanese language has become a great demand overseas.
Being multilingual is a big advantage when pursuing a career in Japan or overseas, even in starting a business. Learning the language can also broaden the perspective of the world. Thus, with your mother tongue and Japanese, there are greater opportunities both in Japan and overseas.
Whether you wish to learn Japanese for conversation or further education in Japan, the end result is the same. Japanese becomes a tool that can open many doors to your future.
How hard is to learn Japanese?
When studying in Japan, students are all set to learn some Japanese grammar. Grammar is necessary for making sentences, which forms a conversation.
Fairly easy to learn
As for any language, reaching the advanced or native level may be difficult. However, if your first goal is to be able to have a conversation and make sentences, Japanese is a relatively easy language to learn.
In Japanese, there are three types of text, Hiragana (ひらがな), Katakana (カタカナ), and Kanji(漢字). Each has its purpose, so all are required. With Hiragana and Katakana, each has 50 letters, but both pronounced the same. Kanji is simplified Chinese characters which are combined with Hiragana to make up a word.
The table with audio, to start your Japanese learning.
Japanese has only five vowels, “a, i, u, e, o”. Moreover, most words contain either vowel. There are not many consonants, and they are rarely pronounced alone. There is no R sound like in the English language. Words are spelt with R but pronounced as L.
Markings on letters
There are diacritics to some letters. It is a mark that is attached to the letter. The purpose is to show that it should be pronounced in a particular way. The diacritic in Japanese is Daku-On. For example, Ha (は) can be Ba (ば) or Pa (ぱ).
There are two styles, “written language” and “spoken language.”
“Spoken language” is divided into two types, colloquial (Kogo) and honorific (Keigo). Each has a different role, depending on when and to whom it is used. Generally, colloquial is used in ordinary conversation while honorific in a formal situation.
Their grammatical mechanisms are also different.
The Grammar does not distinguish between men and women or people and things. Therefore, add pronouns to the sentence, so that “to whom” and “to what” is clear.
There are no singular, plural, nor articles (a, an, the) either.
Fixed word order
By languages, the structure of the sentence is different. Most English sentences conform to the SVO word order. It means that the subject comes before the verb, which comes before the object. On the other hand, Japanese sentences generally conform to the SOV order.
- English: I (S) bought (V) a new computer (O).
- Japanese: I (S) a new computer (O) bought (V).
In some cases, sentences end with nouns or adjectives. However, in conversation, SOV is the general order.
Japanese verbs add various expressions to create information.
To write is Kaku (書く). Will write is Kaki-masu (書きます). Can write is Kake-masu (書けます). Instruct to write is Kaki-nasai (書きなさい).
Counting numbers is straight forward. However, some have variations in how it reads.
4 in Japanese is Yon (よん) or Shi (し). But 400 is Yon-Hyaku (よんひゃく), and April is Shi-Gatsu (しがつ). In currency, it is Yo-En (よえん). When counting people, four people are Yo-Nin (よにん).
These may be difficult to learn at the beginning, but the key is understanding to what it relates. Once grasped, counting will become easier.
A significant characteristic of the Japanese language is its receptiveness. It has accepted and adopted words from English, Chinese, European and other languages. For this receptivity, Katakana expresses those foreign words into Japanese. However, the pronunciation of some converted words may be slightly different from those original words.
- Television in Katakana is テレビ, pronounced Telebi.
- Croissant is クロワッサン, pronounced Kurowassan.
Learn Japanese the best way
Many of you may be wondering the same thing.
- How do you learn Japanese?
- What is the best way to learn Japanese?
These questions have a common solution.
How do you learn Japanese?
There are many ways to learn Japanese. For instance, buy textbooks or watch internet streaming videos. You may also go to Japanese language schools in your home country if it’s available. These are great ways to learn vocabularies and phrases. But once finished for the day, what do you do with it?
Implementing and practising what you have learned in the actual situations can improve your Japanese so much faster and easier.
What is the best way to learn Japanese?
Like any other language, the most effective way to learn Japanese is to be in a Japanese speaking environment. In a 24/7 Japanese environment, words and phrases would naturally sink into your system. Thus, a 24/7 Japanese environment allows you to develop an ability to think in Japanese without translating from your mother tongue.
It is said that when starting to dream in that language, it is a sign of how much that language has become part of you.
Without further ado, let’s immerse in a Japanese speaking environment. One day you may start dreaming in Japanese!
In summary, the best solution to the questions is to learn and practice your Japanese in Japan.
Surrounded by beautiful old and new culture, amazing cuisines and warm hospitality wherever you go, what a fantastic environment to learn Japanese! There are so much to see and do every day. Furthermore, these experiences can increase your drive to learn.
Now, return to the beginning. Why would you like to learn Japanese? Once it is set, the next step is to choose the Japanese course that best help you achieve a goal.