Reason for learning Japanese
Hello dear Japanese learners!
I really love learning Japanese, but my parents are trying to make me avoid learning it.
They say: "you're not going to travel to Japan, you don't have any Japanese friends and except watching animes you have no reason, so stop wasting your time and learn other languages."
What would you do if you were me? Can you please tell me why are you interested in learning this language? and what benefits does it provide you? what can a person do when he or she knows Japanese?
No one know what the future will bring, but I agree that you should follow your heart. You may not be able to convince your parents that you have good reasons to study Japanese, nor do I think that you should be required to defend yourself about wanting to learn something new. Is there some way that you can practice Japanese in private away from your parents? It's a shame to have to be furtive about it, but you are not doing anything wrong (unless of course you are neglecting other responsibilities). Japanese might just be a passing passion for you or it might eventually evolve into a central focus in your life. You don't know at this point, but you will never know if you don't try.
As for my own reasons:
I really like the culture and aesthetics of Japan. I hope to travel there someday.
The language has a nice sound to it. Japan does produce a lot of content that I enjoy such as anime, so there are many opportunities to hear the language.
The three different writing systems are very interesting to me and I like calligraphy.
I like a challenge and Japanese seems like a puzzle at the moment.
You might find Tim Keeley interesting. He's a polyglot that has lived in Japan for many years. http://www.japanintercultural.com/en/about/Japan_TimKeeley.aspx
Your parents have some good reasons, and I faced the same issue when I was young and my mother didn't want me to learn French but study Spanish instead.. I ended up not taking a language in high school.
As for Japanese, I also like to watch anime and Japanese cinema, mainly classics, and would like to be able to watch them without subtitles. I'm planning on visiting Japan next year, and I'm interested in the culture and history of Japan.
In the future your Japanese might come in handy. The more languages you speak the more opportunities would open up for you as far as social, travel and work is concerned.
Maybe you could also study the language that your parents would like you to pursue, in addition to Japanese. When you are young you can learn things more quickly, and remember them more easily. I wish I had studied Spanish in high school.
Best wishes for your language studies.
Professionally speaking, it's given me quite an edge when looking for work. It looks really impressive on a resume (vetted by a native speaker to add it, of course). It's a great self-marketing tool during interviews, because it's not a language that tends to be "handed" to people in middle or high school like Spanish, French, German, or sometimes ASL -- it takes a lot of dedication, discipline, and work to learn Japanese, and that's very valuable when you're trying to establish a career.
It's also been useful to me in my job. Japan is a popular target market for travel and tourism in the U.S. and some parts of Europe; depending on where you live (or end up living later on in life), there's a high likelihood you'll encounter someone who speaks it. My Japanese background has saved my skin in a few situations where I was dealing with a Japanese client with limited English skills.
All that aside? You have your entire life ahead of you. You may not have traveled to Japan yet, met any Japanese friends yet, etc. But life is weird and unpredictable. Just because you have no use for it now (other than loving it, which is a good reason on its own!) doesn't mean you won't in 5, 10, 20 years.
(For example: I met my first Japanese friend in college, a full 10 years after I started learning the language. She's one of my best friends now, and one of the reasons we bonded was because of the fact that I could speak her language. Her friendship means the world to me; I wouldn't have had it if I hadn't spent over a decade on a language that was, when I started learning it, useless to me.
You can't predict this stuff. The best course of action, I've found, is to do what you love and see where it takes you.)
I don't think you need to do everything just because of the immediate benefits it brings. I started to study Japanese for the same stupid reason of others: I wante to read a Manga not available in my country. But then from studying the language I started to like the culture, other aspects of Japan. I learned a lot of interesting things and my curiosity expanded beyond just the language.
I have about no use of what I learned, it's more like a hobby to me. It feels good to jump on some comments on Facebook, or watching some video or photos on the internet and realize "hey, I can understand that Japanese phrase". I even watched some variety without subtitles and still got some laughs out of it.
I even started to chat with a couple of native online and they actually praised my understanding and writing, and that was really gratifying for someone who studied all by himself with no class.
And this doesn't void any chance to actually make use of what I learned in the future, you never know what you will need.
In the end, no language is a waste. Every language carry with it the culture, and opens the way to learn about that country's culture and media.
Not only dat. Their parents think that, besides anime, Japanese is not useful. Thus, they are stating that "making an activity that will help our children to be more intelligent und imaginative is not useful". As you recalled, learning a language only brings benefits to one's brain, und it is not only backed by Neuroscience but by many famous people who are masters of memorizing contests and the like [See: Ramón Campayo/Campallo?(Learned German in 1 hour und 45 min.) und Daniel Tammet?(Learned Icelandic in a week)]
Hi, Don't listen to your parents :) I don't see how there can be anything harmful in learning Japanese (or any other language) even if you currently don't have an obvious reason for it. Learning any language is often difficult, and Japanese even more so. If you, despite of difficulties, just keep going on, you'll learn to deal with difficult things and not giving up in other aspects of your life as well. If Japanese is something you love, just go for it! We grow as humans by trying to do difficult things and eventually succeeding in those. If everything you do is easy, life is boring and doesn't give you satisfaction in the long run. I think this alone is an appropriate reason to learn Japanese (and lots of other skills as well).
I'm a Finnish woman and of course a native Finnish speaker. In the school, I learned English, Swedish and German. Two years ago I started to study Portuguese using Duolingo. My motivation was simply that we had booked a vacation in Madeira and I wanted to be able to understand and say even some words in Portuguese (well, I finished the whole tree in Portuguese in Duolingo and got well beyond "just a couple of words"...). Anyway, a lot of people told me that I'm crazy to go through all the trouble because I could manage there with English as well. Yes, I could have. But I tell you, there's nothing more impressive for any person than to be able to communicate with them in their own language even if that would be only a a couple of words. That immediately gives an impression that you are interested in their culture as you have made an effort to study their language. I'm always happy to hear foreigners trying to speak Finnish even though it's probably one of the hardest languages in the world (though I don't see how... :D ) I think ability to speak in different languages is even more impressive nowadays when most of the people just "go the easy way" and use Google Translators etc. I love to study languages to communicate with people face-to-face and not by some apps and devices.
This year I started to learn Japanese using Duolingo, so I'm just a beginner in that. It has been in my mind a long time since I practice karate, but this year I really decided to go for it. Because of karate, I already know some words in Japanese and I have a couple of karate books which are written in Japanese and only shortly translated in English. I would love to be able to read those books some day. I also would love to travel to Japan and especially to Okinawa, birth place of karate, some day and be able to communicate with Japanese people in their language. That's my reason to learn Japanese.
It's been 7 months since you asked, so I was wondering, if I should bother at all, but I have some good reasons (at least I think so) that up to now nobody has mentioned. So let me tell you (and anyone else interested) why I started learning Japanese:
Cognition scientists often stress that if you want to become more intelligent and don't want to loose your brain functionality then you should actively challenge your brain as often as possible, because studies show that your brain or your ability to reason deteriorates when you don't challenge yourself. That was the reason why I started looking for a new language to learn; I am fluent in English and German is my mother tongue, and I have some minor skills in French and Spanish, so learning yet another Western language would probably not been challenging enough. I wanted something totally different, and at the same time not waste my time - in a sense that I did not want to spend a lot of time learning a language that would be only usable in a very limited context (so no Sindarin, Klingon, or High Valyrian ;) ). So I figured the biggest Non-Western languages to learn would be Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian; these are interesting because they not only have totally different Vocabulary from all Greek/Latin/Germanic-based Languages, but also a totally different way of Writing, and a totally different Grammar, thus needing you to get out of your standard way of thinking, when trying to talk, and engaging a lot of different areas of your brain in an - for you - unusual way.
All languages I picked out share certain aspects: They are spoken in a larger popularity or in a nation that is powerful and an important player in worldwide affairs so being able to communicate with these people gives you an advantage over anyone that needs to communicate with them but doesn't know their language. Because these countries are so important this allows you to communicate in different fields, like in the business world, in politics and diplomatics, or in science - depending on where you see your future employment. Also, these Languages share common basis with further languages (if you know Arabic, you will have easier access to Berber (Marocco), Farsi (Persian), Turkis, etc.). For Japanese this is especially true for Chinese (the entire writing system is from China) as well as for Korean. And lastly they are gateway languages to a new and foreign culture. Learning about different cultures let's us both question our own ways of living as well as appreciating them more. I am a strong believer in the benefits of experiencing different cultures, and the good it does to your personality.
So, I think these are a number of good reasons to learn a new and especially foreign language in general. When it comes to Japanese especially, my reasons for choosing it over other languages where the following:
Japan is a highly developed country with a living standard similar to those of countries in Europe or the USA, so I rather see myself having future dealings with countries like Japan, than with countries of i.e. the Arabic world. That is because I am studying computer science with focus on AI and robotics, and if you want to work in those places than countries like the Europeans, the USA or Japan are the once, you would probably be dealing with. And for Electronics and especially Robotics it's the place to be, both if you are into Science (like I am) as well as (or maybe even especially so) if you are into entertainment consumer products (as Japanese people are crazy for robots and have a far larger market for anything robotic). I am also into martial arts and I did some Jiu-Jitsu for some years. I was never any good, but I've learned a bit about the Japanese culture and I think it is a really interesting one. That is, of course, personal preference; I also like the Arabic cultures and in contrast don't have large interest in Russian culture - but that might vary, from both, personal taste as well as exposure to the culture (for instance I have seen a number of Asian films, but never a Russian movie - maybe this changes if I get exposed to Russian movies or music more?). Japan has an interesting culture and a rich cultural background, and insights that might be beneficial and that can be useful if you ever need to deal with Japanese people, or Japan as a country (say you are interested in Politics and diplomacy, or in international commerce, in Art, etc.). And lastly, but not least: Japanese people have found a healthy way of living, even though they are as advanced as we are. Even though they have fast food, even though people over there have the same stress that we have and even though the medical system is as advanced as ours, they manage to in average live longer, live happier and live with less problems, like for instance obesity (30% of obesity in USA vs 3% in Japan). So maybe we can also learn something from them when it comes to health, both for body and mind?
These are my reasons. I am not into managa or anime, I am not so much into Japanese pop culture and I did never find Japan interesting for a visit, because I never saw any interesting landmarks worth the travel (I have a huge bucket list of countries I would like to travel to, and sites I would like to visit and Japan never even made it to that list). But I love historically interesting developments (and in that regard I think Japan is totally fascinating), I love fantasy and science fiction, new influences in Art, I enjoyed a number of Japanese movies. I am into AI and Science and I think I will benefit knowing Japanese even though in the Science World everybody publishes in English. I think I can learn a lot regarding mental and physical health (I myself suffer from stress induced obesity) and last but not least, I keep myself mentally fit by learning something totally new, reducing the risk of getting dumbed down, or a "one-track specialist", as well as degenerating mentally.
For me, all of these reasons are excellent reasons of pursuing Japanese. Most of these also apply to any language, but in the end, what will probably yield the bigger results: Learning any language that might be "more useful" (such as ancient Latin) or learning a language that you are passionate about, that you love pursuing and that you see your self using every day (even if it is just for manga/anime consumption)?
So, I think, because it's been 7 months for you, you probably finished your discussion with your parents (hopefully) and hopefully to your benefit? Let us know. If you haven't or if anyone else has the same fight, I would love to know what you think about my reasons, and if they helped with your parents or critics ;) Let me know :)
That's why I was hiding that I am learning Japanese at first... And then my parents (and other people) get the knowledge that I know some Japanese and I am learning it. So no complains about it - only comments that it is cool to know the language nobody learns at my place.
I learn Japanese cause I heard it is difficult language, I like the culture of Japan and I want to become polyglot.
If I were you I'll definitely learn this beautiful language. If you don't like such complaining from your parents and people around you.. give them your reasons, show your calligraphy (if you can do), show your passion and how it is interesting for you. Is it sometimes more entertaining than actual learning? Like you could watch the television for few hours, or do something else, or you could learn Japanese. What is better? Learning Japanese is far smarter than usual entertainment.
The reason for me learning Japanese is because I have Japanese cousins and grandparents. To be able to communicate with them, I need to know their language because they do not know any English. But if you do not know any one who is Japanese, you could go and find someone to talk to. In my school year, there are two other half Japanese people other than me. But because they gave up the language, they both regret it, they cannot communicate very with their Japanese relatives.
Also, you never know. You might just think of going on holiday to Japan. It is very warm there in the Summer. There is also a Disneyland there as well which you may want to visit. It is the second largest I think after the one in Florida. I've also heard they are building a new legoland theme park there too, which might be interesting to go to; you could practise a lot of your Japanese and maybe get a job involving both English and Japanese.
Japanese is a very different language to most. To know and understand this language, in my opinion is a great skill. Especially for someone who starts off from scratch. I really hope you carry on learning this language and not give it up just because your parents want you to.
I have some really good reasons!! But lemme say why I'M learning Japanese - I LOVE Japan!! - I would LOVE to live there someday!!! - I'd like to be a famous Manga artist there some day!!! - I LOVE there music ( perfume are actually my favorite Japanese singers!! ) - It is unique for a person to want to learn that language - And just.... EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, don't let your parents make you give up!! my personal favorite Japanese learning websites are Bussu.com , Memerize.com , and Mango.com I wish you good luck on learning Japanese!!
- You might need it someday.
- Learning one language makes learning additional languages easier especially if it is a difficult language like Japanese.
- You can learn several languages at the same time, so it's definitely not 'either...or'.
- Why would you ever stop doing something you like and doesn't harm anyone?
I don't have much interest in anime, I only watch one so i can get more exposure to Japanese.
I started learning Japanese because I really like the food and I like the way the language sounds.
I also plan on moving to Japan in the near future after i finish college to work with foreign relations and such. I also like a 'big city' environment and Japan offers that.
You already got lots of advice here, and I just wanted to add a few things. BTW, apologies if I repeat something - I haven't read ALL the comments, especially not in their entirety.
First, I started learning Japanese because I was studying linguistics at the time and read about several fascinating aspects of how Japanese worked (all true). I also was practicing Karate and liked Japanese art. And then learned to love Japanese food, and it grew from there.
And here are some of the benefits that came about as a result for me, and that will also benefit you, especially as an English speaker:
I'm not sure where you live, but Japanese people travel a lot and appreciate tour guides who speak some Japanese. They also like to learn English from native speakers (and pay very well for that). So if you live in a city where there are some Japanese people, you may be able to plug into their network and start tutoring their children.
Plus you can go to Japan to teach English. You might find it helpful to study linguistics for that (or take a few courses). But it's not necessary.
You may even be able to teach English to Japanese children, students, or even adults online! And it's always cool if you go to a sushi bar with actual Japanese sushi chefs and be able to speak to them in Japanese! Such fun to surprise them!
It's even more fun if you learn karate and then speak Japanese with the famous karate masters who occasionally visit or come to big workshops. Word gets around fast!
And not to worry. You don't have to know a whole lot of Japanese to be able to make a big impact! You'll know plenty by the time you've finished the tree, and even before then. Back when I first started and met those Karate masters and was tutoring the Japanese kids, I had just studied the Linguaphone course - and knew a lot less than I do now after finishing the Japanese tree.
Good luck and have fun!
Here is an article that you might find interesting: "Is it worth the effort to learn Japanese?"
Elizadeux's (first) comment made me wonder: Is there anything specific that your parents might be afraid you won't do if you learn Japanese? Are they afraid you'll neglect your schoolwork or your chores? If something like that is the case, it might help if you made an extra effort to show them that it doesn't (assuming it actually doesn't).
Yeah, there's something but not chores or school works. They're afraid of seeing me just learning Japanese and French, they love to see me learning Italian ,German, Spanish etc... As you know Japanese is a little hard, so it takes all my time to learn it then I do not have time to learn other languages.
This is just me being curious now, is there any reason they want you to learn these languages in particular? I mean, French is usually considered a useful language to know in Europe, I don't see how that could just be seen as a "waste of time" (not that I think any language ever is, mind). For French, you could possibly argue that you're starting on one of the harder Romance languages, so you'll be able to learn Spanish and Italian faster once you're fluent in French (it worked for me), while learning something you actually want to learn. I think somebody else suggested this, but maybe offering a compromise would help then. You learn one language they want you to learn and they let you continue Japanese. Otherwise, I'm afraid I don't have any more ideas. This is the first time I hear of such a situation, tbh. Good luck with it!
Thank god im 22 and i don't need to deal with that anymore i think Japanese is one of the best languages to learn the Japanese make so much unique stuff most other languages are not nearly as good i don't know what your parents want you to learn instead compared most other cultures just ignore your parents and keep learning in your free time.
Offer them a compromise: Tell them you will pick up a language they approve of more (ideally one that interests you as well) as long as they will let you continue with your Japanese studies.
Also look up some facts about how your language skills might help you later on for finding work.
My reasoning is because it branches my possibilities and I think it's interesting. Japan is one of the biggest countries in business, given how big their cultural influence is and how they are huge on technology. Even if you never go there, Japanese people will come here. Just do what makes you happy, even if it is to just watch anime.
Why should they care? If you are motivated to learn a language - do it! I'm not travelling to Japan any time soon but I'm still learning it. Learning a language will provide many benefits. Who knows, maybe you'll marry a Japanese person or you may end up moving there for work. I honestly don't understand anyone who says it's useless to learn any language.
I'm learning Japanese because it was added to Duolingo and I always wanted to learn Japanese. I'd gone off watching anime for a year but now I'm back at it to help with my listening practice lol. Ironically it was when I stopped watching anime that I finally managed to succeed it learning the language (Well, not fully yet).
Japanese is very different from Spanish and other languages. You can learn an another language with Japanese. They will not interfere with each other while learning together. You can negotiate with them by saying that you can learn one other language of their liking along with Japanese.
My parents were actually alright with me learning Japanese, which I started purely because I was bored and I thought it would look good on job applications on top of already learning German and Spanish. My mother was particularly fine with it, suggesting that I should do what two of her former co-workers did and go to Japan as an English-as-a-second-language teacher. My father on the other hand couldn't care any less, but was discouraging in any way, he just purely didn't care.
It is a fact that bilinguals are smarter. Since Japanese is rather different from other languages, I should think fluency in Japanese is an amazing achievement. It means you have a great mind, and that you are very smart. Whatever language, it is a fact.
Follow your dreams. If you want to learn Japanese,
learn Japanese because the ONLY person who should take over your life is yourself. BUT don't disobey your parents,
but that shouldn't mean give up on your dreams either.
Your parents want the best, and I am sure they want you to do well. They shouldn't be restricting you from what you want, unless it is bad, or it will hurt you, etc. Learning a language is useful. It will not hurt you. It will not kill you. It will not lead you to sin. And also, how do they know for certain you won't ever go to Japan? Or that you won't make a friend who is Japanese? Or that you won't get a job where you need to speak Japanese occasionally? Continue with Japanese, because no matter what your parents say, any foreign language is useful at all. They think that you are wasting your time, but you are improving your memory. Continue if you want.
I originally wanted to learn because I was super interested in Japanese culture and language and history was something that was always something I enjoyed. After Highschool I have had a problem of not being sure of what I wanted to do. Well long story short I am going to try and get an English linguistics degree and try and teach English in Japan.
Hey man! I was in the same boat back in high school when all my friends wanted me to take German...but my dad told me to take Spanish instead. His reasoning was that knowing Spanish, which is becoming more widely used today in the United States, would be a good skill to have after graduation.
Honestly, it's a fine language but I hated every minute I spent studying it. I had no personal motivation for doing so other than my father's advice (and I guess a desire to placate him). With Japanese, however, the motivation is definitely two-fold: to learn more about Japanese culture (I'm kind of an otaku myself) and to be fluent enough to travel to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.
If I had to give you any advice, it's this: don't listen to your parents. Do what you love and forget about the rest. If you want to learn Japanese, and you also have a personal motivation for doing so, then you're doing yourself a disservice by stopping now. Hang in there, my friend, and don't give up!
I'm currently learning both Spanish and Japanese. For two verrry different reasons.
Being an American, Spanish is the 2nd most common language here. I've had a few Spanish classes back from my school days, and quite frankly: it's the most practical, "zombie apocalypse toolkit" ready language to have. I feel if for some reason my family had to flee the country, it would be easier to get into Mexico than Canada and I would like to be able to move around freely. Plus, compared to Japanese, it's a lot easier to learn.
Japanese is a passion project for me. I plan on going to Japan one day, but it's strictly a "I think it would be cool to learn Japanese." type of thing
Even if you don't go to Japan, their are games, manga, animes which require you to learn the language. Example: I love playing "Lost Technology" recently came to steam, however, the translators only did three factions and the translation is not up to par. So what did I do? I switch the software to its Original make so I can play the game how it was meant to be and practice the language (kanji). Hell, my first game was "Infinite Stratos 2 Ignition hearts" for the PS3. Why did I get a harem softcore game? I used it for learning purposes, because it has hiragana and katakana and mild kanji, making it perfect for beginners.
Never give up on your dreams!
I am learning Japanese because my Son's minor in college was Japanese and now he is in Japan, teaching English. I am going to visit him soon, and he told me I need to learn some Japanese! Don't let your parents discourage you. When I was in high school, my parents wanted me to take Spanish ... I took German instead. I wish I would have taken Spanish ... but what the heck at least you are learning another language.
I like learning Japanese because I was fascinated with Japanese culture since I was little. I love Kurosawa movies and wants to enjoy them with original language. I am very much interested in Japanese literature too. Haruki Murakami is an author I like a lot. I hope one day I'll be able to visit Japan. It's a beautiful country with such humble people. My advice too is to follow your heart no matter what your parents say.
Learn multiple languages, become successful because of that, then brush it on their face lol. Or just tell them you like the language, and you might go to Japan one day, they don't know that for sure.
Also, you can learn multiple languages at once. I heard Korean is similar grammatically to Japanese, and Chinese is also somewhat easy once you've learned Japanese Kanji. French is also somewhat easy by itself, and used a few big companies.
I'm learning because it has always sounded very beautiful, and a kind of sing-song language. Learn a flattering phrase i.e. あなたは子供が今まで持っていた最も賢い、そして最も寛大な親です。and say it to them every day for a week. Also, there is a saying... Don't kick over the bee hive, if you want to collect the honey ;)
As someone who grew up with that same deterrent, I would say do what you feel in your heart is right.
When I was getting ready to move on from high school, I was really interested in Japan's culture and people and wanted to experience it myself but my family didn't support me working towards teaching English abroad. I ended up staying in the US and getting my BFA and joining the American workforce...
I regret not doing what I initially wanted to do with my life BUT it's never to late to fulfill your dreams and that's why I'm here today! My ultimate goal is to get the N1 and transfer to Japan within my company but for now it's just nice to be able to pick up on some words/phrases when I'm listening to music, watching Japanese shows, or even being able to read characters.
All in all, it's your life and you should do everything in your power to be able to look back 10 years from now and not regret what you ended up doing with your 20s :)
Best of luck to ya <sub>~</sub>
I went through the same thing from my parents a few years ago and I can honestly say that one of my greatest regrets was listening to then. Don't make the mistake I did. Just recently my dad admitted that he loved when I would practice Japanese because of how beautiful it was and he hates that everyone convinced me to quit
[As I posted elsewhere on the forum]
I'm here mostly for the anime-with-no-subs like everybody else. Hoping that I can see my favorite anime from another perspective.
But beyond anime/manga, I am a big Japanophile. Samurais, ninjas, Karate, electronics, video games, and even Japanese interpretations of Hip-hop/Jazz-Hop have caught my attention. I'm learning Japanese out of sheer respect for all the contributions Japan has made to my life