Yes, I know how much in a rush you are. I was as well!
But I have good news. It’s simple to learn Japanese fast.
I must warn you that it is not instant, and it will mostly depend on your effort, but if you put that effort on the right direction, then you are going to save a lot of time.
I’m not a Japanese language master or some kind of expert in communicating in this language, but my study of it has allowed me to, among other things:
– Have Japanese friends and speak 100% in Japanese;
– Watch anime and drama without subtitles;
– Study in a Japanese College;
– Play in a Japanese orchestra;
– Work in a Japanese company;
– Be involved in a variety of situations where Japanese was needed;
– Reply by accident in Japanese when spoken to in English or Portuguese;
While not being a pro at all, this has its own value, so I thought I might share my experience with you.
Here’s how I did it:
If you’re a follower of my blog, you should have an idea that I’m Portuguese and that I also studied in Japan. To be precise, I started my study of the Japanese language in Portugal, in a short beginner course with a Japanese teacher that took place in my university. This is an important point. With a Japanese teacher. Because Japanese teachers not only know the language by instinct, they can always share the culture with you and teach you a lot of things foreigners can’t.
During the course itself, which was 30 hours long, I was able to completely memorize hiragana, katakana, understand the basic aspects of grammar and have a glimpse at a few kanji.
I quickly decided I wanted to continue, so I enrolled in another course, also with a Japanese teacher. This time, it was a private course, which I attended for about two years. It may seem too long, and well, it is. But I had class only once a week and it was really at my own pace which also has its advantages though. I was in a quite tough time in my university course so I couldn’t use as much time as I wanted in the Japanese course.
At this point, I had the grammar more or less consolidated and I was able to have an easy conversation.
The point here is conversation. You need to talk. Make Japanese friends, be it in your country, in Japan, or online. If you study the grammar and don’t talk, it is not and will never be enough. Or rather, you might even learn more by talking that by looking at books. You get vocabulary naturally, you force yourself to speak in Japanese to face some kind of situation, and that makes it the best study.
And another point. If you like anime or Japanese drama, watch it as much as you can and get used to the accent. It’s vital. First things first, you need to learn how to speak simple words in a simple way, and make sure what you want to say is understood by who you are talking to. So nothing better than getting the accent right and memorizing a few lines.
Returning to the Japanese friends topic, before going to japan, I already had a few Japanese friends. It’s good not only to practice your Japanese, but also to learn about Japan and you can even hang out with them should you go to Japan.
In my case, as I didn’t have Japanese people in my surroundings, I decided to search for friends online. There are various websites where you can do it, some better than others, so it’s up to you to choose.
And here comes the most important part. If you are learning Japanese, you should be interested in going to Japan, I guess. If you can, just go. Japan is, by far, the best place to learn Japanese. If you can’t go as soon as you’d wish, make preparations. Study in advance. Buy a dictionary, a grammar book. Download an app. Search the internet. Don’t wait for things to happen. Be it for a short or for a long period of time, you can make the most of that time.
When in Japan, speak with Japanese people. Many foreigners tend to hang out among foreigners, which is their choice, but won’t help their Japanese at all. Why not enroll in a Japanese school and stay with a Japanes host family? It’s a great experience, I can guarantee that to you 😉
This is my method. Of course there are others. If you were looking for an “instant-noodle” Japanese learning recipe, too bad. It doesn’t exist. However, if you start studying today, you’ll be one day closer to achieving your goal 😉
Any questions, comments, etc., just send me an email or leave a comment below!