From the Director:
Learning Japanese isn’t easy. Listen to our Japanese Plus students to get an idea of what it’s like – the ups, the downs, the triumphs, and the challenges.
Hiragana. One of the three Japanese alphabets. I thought it would take me years to learn it, but I was wrong. Hiragana actually sounds a lot like Spanish, so it was easy to remember the pronunciation. Every time we would learn a new character, it felt like art class, drawing the long and curvy lines actually felt calming. Writing the simplest word in Hiragana made me feel like I was making a masterpiece though I’m still memorizing some characters, it will never not be fun.
I have always wanted to travel to anywhere and everywhere ever since I traveled to Thailand. And of course, Japan is on my bucket list. But ever since I started learning Japanese, I’ve been wanting to go more. I like the aspect of learning a new language and immersing myself in a completely different culture from my own. And I especially like converting names to katakana. If you look on my phone contacts, half of the contacts are in Japanese. Katakana is so cool to look at, to read, and to figure out what the word is in English. My own family can’t figure out what the words mean but once I say it to them, they can understand it completely fine. It’s really cool immersing myself in another language and I can’t wait to travel to Japan one day.
For me learning Japanese has been such a fun experience. I’ve met new people who I can connect to. I think trying to learn all the Hiragana at once has been a struggle because some letters look similar. I was having a hard time with M-N but once I got it, it was so easy and made it easier to read.
I’m still really enjoying Japanese class. Recently, we started learning about family and kinship terms, and I like this because it’s fun to be able to ask about other peoples’ lives and to have longer conversations. Something I find particularly interesting is that there are different words for your own relatives and for others’. This is because politeness is very important in Japan, so you have to use a more respectful term if you’re inquiring about someone else’s family. I find it interesting how language and culture are intertwined and how they affect each other, and this is a cool example of that.
Japanese . . . is a whole obstacle course you have to go through these hurdles just to go through the same hurdle, and another one and . . . another one. But through time you start to comprehend and memorize the hurdle and get through them way easier than the time before. But if you don’t adjust, you’ll only start to get tired and stressed from how many times you keep falling/failing.
During these last few months of being in Japanese class I learned so many things about the Japanese language. One of the things that stood out to me is the different terms to have a conversation with someone. Having a conversation or even addressing someone depends on your relationship with that person and if that person is older than you. In English, people almost always talk in a casual way to their friends, teachers, family, and even to strangers. But in Japan, this shifts into a formal manner when addressing someone older than you. For example, in English we only have one way to thank someone no matter their age or status and that’s by saying “thank you.” But in Japan when thanking someone close like a friend or family they will say “arigoto,” but when thanking a teacher, co-worker, boss, stranger, or just someone older they will say “arigato gozaimasu.”