Why do you want to learn Japanese?
I've always felt a strange connection with the language... I don't know why. I grew up watching wonderful Studio Ghibli films and the Japanese language has found a way into my heart. However, I don't really watch any anime (other than Ghibli/M.Shinkai films) nor read any manga. Sometimes I listen to japanese OST from these films, but other than that, I don't listen to any Japanese music (with words, I do love traditional oriental music and instruments). Oh, and I love sushi. I can't help but wonder if I have enough motives to learn this language :c
I hope to get to know Japan and it's culture better once I start learning Japanese, and find more reasons to continue learning, like it happened with German.
What are your reasons?
I also had my first contact with japanese culture in my childhood when I discovered all the anime for kids on TV. And although everyone around me told me: "it's just a phase and as soon as you get older you will lose interest in it" (because they thought anime is just all about pokemon and other "childish" stuff) I somehow stuck with it and moved on to anime series with more serious and philosophical topics - and I don't regret that decision at all. I guess I truly fell in love with the language when I first heard a song by ONE OK ROCK (a japanese rock band, their lyrics are japanese mixed with english). And last but not least I decided to learn japanese after I went to Japan for a short trip a few years ago and realized that my english wouldn't help me at all so I had to "communicate" by simply pointing on things that I would like to have like an idiot :)
Edit: In theory I'm learning japanese almost for a whole year now but practically it's actually just maybe 2 months when I count it all together (because of university I unfortunately do not have much time) so I hope that the japanese for english speakers course will help me to get back on track a little and to stay motivated :)
The people!!! Since the first time I went to Japan I've had this huge desire to communicate with the kind Japanese people!! It always broke my heart not being able to get to know them properly, and I hope in the future I'll be the one juggling with my Japanese instead of them with their English.
Hmm, where do I begin?
I absolutely love the way it sounds. It's the most beautiful sounding language in my opinion.
It's really different from English, so I find the different ways Japanese turns ideas into language interesting.
I've always thought it was really fascinating how Japan has so much history and traditions that continue to this day while also being very technologically innovative, like it has the best of the past and the future.
Japanese verb conjugation is amazing. It's just so intuitive and formulaic. I love it.
When I was 10 in fifth grade, we were assigned to pick a book and do something with it but idr it. I picked Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes just because the cover was blue. It went in detail about her surroundings and her thoughts, the kimonos and sakura she saw at a spring festival she want to with her mother, ikebana that her mother did, screen doors, spiders being good luck, a bit about the Chinese zodiac, and origami of course. But, it did also talk about cancer and radiation from the US attacking them, and how she got uncomfortable about seeing deformed people from it. She herself ended up finding out she had cancer from it too, and people she knew tried to make 1000 origami canes for her as a gesture but she ended up dying.
So basically the things that interest me about Japan:
*Ikebana, sakura, reverence to nature, distinct seasons, landscapes and scenery
*Simplicity and practicality, especially with their interiors
*Importance of healthy, nourishing foods, especially that the dishes reflect the seasons
*Architecture in homes, buildings, temples
*Cultural variations in the regions
*Sound of language and written aesthetic
*Importance of respect, boundaries, discipline
My exposure to Japanese culture as a child was both extensive and minimal at the same time, an interesting paradox that I have long reflected on. For starters, I have never actually been to Japan. I have never really eaten Japanese food on any regular basis. I don't really read manga or watch anime. However, my childhood experience was very much influenced by Japanese people, culture, and customs. During the end of my first grade year, I had to switch public schools from one that was almost next door to my home to another, smaller school that was some fifteen minutes away in another neighborhood. It was there, going into my second grade, that I realized that this school was very different from the other one I went to. It became almost immediately apparent to me that a majority of the kids I had met there were of Japanese descent. I also noticed as I wondered its halls that they were adorned mostly with oriental decoration during holiday seasons. This was most apparent in the principal's office, where one could look in and see his walls filled with traditional Japanese paintings and calligraphy. However, my experience with Japanese at that school had only just begun. During the next few years, I came to befriend many of the Japanese students who were non-native speakers of English, and I got to learn how to communicate with them to help them learn the language. One of those students became my best friend, and he still is to this day. While I was there, I also began to learn more and more about Japanese culture through a unique class that every native English speaker took, called FLESS. It was in that class that I began learn how to say simple greetings in Japanese, learn the bowing etiquette, the holidays, the traditional clothing, traditional calligraphy with brushes, and even a form of storytelling that I believe is called Kamishibai. Additionally, our FLESS class also went on field trips to neighboring Japanese schools where we learned about cool little cultural tidbits like Japanese toys and arts and crafts. Finally, during holidays like ice cream socials, representatives from companies in Japan would even come to our school to show off the latest things from Japan, like traditional food and even robotic seal pups. One of the coolest memories of this was when a few Japanese drummers from Tokyo came to perform for the school. What I have listed here is only the highlights of my memories in that school, that little Japan in America that I went to for four years. In many ways, it seemed like I had tasted much of the Japanese mainland without even setting foot there. One day I hope to actually see the land that I was long exposed to, and maybe even learn the language that I was so used to hearing from day to day.
I don't think there's a single person out there that isn't interested in learning Japanese as soon as they hear it for the first time - assuming they're even a bit interested in learning languages. It sounds beautiful and the pronunciation is clear and direct, similar to a lot of languages with Slavic origin.
Personally I want to learn it because I'm a big fan of Japanese technology, cars, motorbikes, video games, anime, manga, etc. I'm also a big fan of history and there is little material available in English.
There are a lot of books and games in Japanese that I want to read and play through that I'm pretty sure won't ever be translated. That's it.
I've been trying to learn the language off and on for the last eight years or so, but I haven't had the follow-through to get anywhere beyond learning the kana, poorly. I've found Duolingo to be really helpful in structuring and focusing my attention on learning other languages, and hope that having a Japanese course will get me to a point where I can start treading water in making sense of the language.