“Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so.”
– – The Vapors
Just recently, I got this sudden urge to learn Japanese. I believe it was sparked by friends posting travel pics on social media. That made me reflect on the wonderful memories of my own travels to Japan.
Flashback. Growing up, my grandmother (obaachan) lived with us. I was exposed to Japanese at an early age. However, I picked up Japanese from watching dad’s samurai shows on KIKU TV. I learned mostly curse words like “chikusho!” To my obaachan’s horror, I was quickly enrolled in Japanese Language School. I really wanted to play Little League Baseball instead, so I hated Japanese School. I didn’t learn the language at all (which I now regret.)
Because Japanese School failed me (rather, I flunked Japanese School) I chose not to enroll in any type of formal study. I’m going about it via independent study. I’m trying to immerse myself in a variety of mediums to find my own path. So far I’ve watched YouTube videos, started journaling, downloaded iPhone apps, read manga, watched J-dramas, and listened to KZOO Radio on my commute. I even do my grocery shopping at Nijiya Market. Every bit helps…
YouTube seems to be my favorite mode of learning right now. I’ve found a few helpful YouTubers like Risa on JapanesePod101 and Japanese Ammo With Misa. But my go-to channel is Susuru TV. Susuru is a dude who eats ramen everyday. It’s all in Japanese, and there are no subtitles.
I also stumbled upon polyglots on YouTube. I feel validated that self-study is what they do. They said that there are no secrets, shortcuts, or a “language gene” that you are born with. The keys are having fun, finding your way, and doing a little each day.
And I hope to keep it going. がんばります。