By Jazmin Angel-Guzman
One major thing I have learned in Japanese Plus is the importance of language learning. Before I came to Japanese Plus, my hobby was self-learning languages, but I didn’t learn much about the cultural implications within a language. What I mean by cultural implications is that there’s more to language other than grammar, sentence structure, etc. That is just the surface of the language, but there is also more to learn by asking why do you say this? Or why do you say that instead of this?
I’ve learned that there can be so many ways to say thank you in Japanese depending on how formal you are. I’ve experienced that too within my household and my family. There are certain things that I can’t say to my mother because I’m formal to her. There are different forms of saying “you” in Spanish, but I wouldn’t say the casual form to her. Learning some of the cultural implications in the Japanese language has made me appreciate more of the cultural aspect of Japan.
The cultural implications have also made me learn from my experience when I went to Japan in February of 2018. I went to Japan with the KAKEHASHI Project and fortunately I stayed with a wonderful host family – although back then my Japanese was so limited I could barely say thank you, somewhat formally. I would say “arigato gozaimasu.” It wasn’t until Japanese Plus, that I could say thank you really formal. You would say, “Domo arigato gozaimasu.” Although the addition was just “domo,” it was such a significant snippet that was added to the formality of the phrase to the extent it changes the casual to more formal. I remember my host dad saying my Japanese was good, but for me I still felt kind of guilty I didn’t know much Japanese.