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Deciding between Mandarin and Japanese

TLDR: Like the idea of moving to Japan's countryside, but I think Chinese culture and people are more interesting. I'm nearly half a year into casual Japanese study.

Hello! I've been self-studying Japanese for what seems like 5 months now, and while I enjoy it, there's always been this feeling of 'I should just go back to studying Mandarin'.

I've always been very interested in China and enjoyed talking to Chinese people the most, but recently I've decided to go back to college to teach English abroad and I keep thinking about how nice it would be to live in Japan's countryside. I type to Japanese people nearly everyday to practice, but I don't enjoy it, at all. I don't find Japanese culture that interesting aside from Anime and such. Mandarin seems a lot more fun to me as I wouldn't have to deal with conjugations and such. I like that many Japanese people are kind and respectful, but the indirectness makes it hard for me to enjoy talking with them as much. I also worry that Japan probably has too many foreigners and tourists as it is, and that it may not be a fufilling career. I almost feel ashamed when I tell someone I speak a little Japanese, or that I want to move to Japan. It's become a bit of a joke because of the whole Weeaboo thing.

Both are big commitments and I just can't figure out which to choose. Sorry for the long rant!

January 12, 2018



No need to be sorry, you seem to be leaning toward Chinese. I would say to just go with what your hearts tells you. I've had the same trouble before, and I went with the one that I felt I would be most happy doing.


Thanks, It's hard because I'm unable to visit either country to help decide. But maybe I'll give Chinese an actual shot and see if after a few months I am enjoying it or not. Which languages are you learning?


I'm learning Portuguese and French right now. I want to do missions work in Brazil and Madagascar. Thank you for asking.


At the same time?


Portuguese and French at the same time, yes. Missions work in Brazil and Madagascar at the same time, no.


If it's about moving there, you really shouldn't ask strangers on some board but travel there and see for yourself which place you'd feel more at home at.


I can't afford to do that now, but I've read up on others' experiences as much as I could. If I could take a week to to both I would


I've lived in both China and Japan, and speak both Mandarin and Japanese. I haven't been back to China for quite a while, but go back to Japan fairly regularly.

You have a few misconceptions that might be interfering with your decision making: - Japan does not have too many foreigners or tourists. In comparison with other places, such as Europe, there are very few, although the number of tourists from China and Thailand has gone up massively compared to earlier. - what other people think of where you want to move to doesn't matter. What they think will be based on either ignorance or misconceptions, so why should you care what they think? It is YOUR life. What YOU want to do is what matters. - both Chinese and Japanese culture have fascinating aspects, but they are VERY different from one another. Which appeals the most to you? That is probably where your long term happiness lies. - Japanese language does have a lot of indirectness, but it doesn't meant that you won't have friendships or close relationships with people. Some of the most fun and quirky people I know are friends in Japan. - I'm not all that up to date with it, but it used to be fairly easy to be able to get a job teaching English in China. So if teaching English is your way of getting to stay in a country, it doesn't HAVE to be in Japan rather than China.


Thanks so much for the detailed comment! I find Chinese culture and people more interesting because I interact with it a lot less and it's still a mystery to me. The look and 'feel' of Japan (from what I can gather, I haven't been to either) seems a lot more pleasing to me. My misconception of there being too many tourists just comes from me talking with a lot of people who really want to move to Japan or at least talk about it a lot.

Maybe even though Japanese culture is really commonly talked about, I'll never really know unless I discover it for myself.

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