e-book How to read Japanese from Day One in Japan

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The Japanese counter 日 is less straightforward and harder to use than others When it means "one day" or "a whole day," it's read as いちにち;.
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The Edo-Tokyo museum has a great exhibit in the early history of Edo, but try to see all the history in English only. It's pathetic. Learning the language will open new windows to understanding it. And as far as the family is concerned, they have little time to learn English, so it is a hobby of mine that leads to understanding with family.

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Not quite. I couldn't imagine being able to go to Shirakawa-go and not know a word of Japanese. Again, learning the language opens up new windows that if you want more than pre-canned phrases and easy-to-digest facts. Bizzarely, the place I most used my Japanese was Hong Kong. I couldn't speak Chinese, they couldn't speak English, but we could both speak Japanese ;.

I don't always agree with you but your comment above was right on. I get more negs move for supporting good comments of others, than I do for making my own dumb comments, though. First: Because it's good for your brain to master foreign languages, and the more different, the better. You get a slightly different way of thinking and of approaching problems.

Third: You might get a Japanese girlfriend, and unless you can switch languages back and forth, you'll always feel like you're the beta in the relationship. If you go out with her friends, they will always be humoring you with a switch to English, and they will become tired of this. If you meet her grandparents, you're going to want to have a normal conversation with them.

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  • They won't think you're serious if you didn't bother learning their language. Fourth: Gaijin who can't speak Japanese are more likely to hit a glass ceiling at work. Language skills don't automatically take you through, but they do improve your chances.

    More Japanese words & vocabulary

    Fifth: You have to climb out of the "contemptible valley" of your language skills. I made up that expression to be similar to the uncanny valley of animation. Here's the idea. When your Japanese is obviously a bunch of inadequate, strung-together phrases, the locals will like it. It looks like you're trying.

    When you become really fluent, they will also like it, because they can just speak to you effortlessly, and you sound as smart as you are. But in between these points, there is a contemptible valley, where your skills are good enough to converse, but you sound like kind of like an intellectually challenged Japanese person.

    Once your skills get good enough to where your mistakes sound like the mistakes of a Japanese child or moron - rather than an obvious foreigner - you've reached the depth of the contemptible valley. Whoever hears you can't help but suspect that you're shallow and stupid, even if they consciously realize that this is probably the result of a language barrier and not your stupidity.

    Once you're there, there's only one way out, and that's forward toward full fluency. Sigh, this is an all-too-common attitude among expats from English-speaking countries. English-speakers are the first to whine if an immigrant to their country doesn't speak English the minute he or she steps off the plane, and if a national or local government provides official forms or signage or information in any language other than English, it is "coddling those immigrants who refuse to learn English.

    I've even seen websites that tout retirement overseas and assure the retirees that they can live in Mexico without speaking Spanish. Any North American familiar with the English Only movement will see the irony here. I'll give you my experience. Granted, I came to Japan for the first time as a student of Japanese historical linguistics and eventually became a translator.

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    My experience was different from many people's study abroad experience in that I was one of two native speakers of English in the entire university. Most of the other foreign students were from Asian countries, such as Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, and our only common language was Japanese.

    I also lived in an apartment in an all-Japanese neighborhood and spoke English perhaps once or twice a week. I spent much of each weekday reading scholarly articles in Japanese. During this time, I knew an expat couple who had lived in Japan for many years and took the same approach as the author of this piece, that you just need a few phrases.

    Worse still, their children, who had come with them to Japan as infants or toddlers, and were teenagers by the time I met them, did not speak Japanese. Aside from the fact that my language skills have been useful professionally, they have enriched my life immeasurably. For one thing, I can talk to anyone, not just people who speak English.

    I've had interesting conversations with people from all walks of life and of all ages. It's hard to maintain stereotypes when you've had in-depth conversations with all kinds of people. If I need to ask fairly complicated questions of train station employees or bank tellers, I can. I can get information and make reservations over the phone, even if the person on the other end of the line doesn't speak English.

    Using Japanese Numbers to Read Days, Months and Days of the Week

    Many times, I have seen panic on the faces of retail clerks or ticket sellers, only to see them relax when I address them in Japanese and explain what I need. I am not illiterate in Japan. I can read signs, newspapers, magazines, even novels. If I have a layover in a country train station, I can pick up a newspaper and read it. I can understand what's happening on TV. Granted, much of it is inane but if you think that inane TV is uniquely Japanese, you haven't seen the inanities shown to the viewing public in your own country recently , but being able to understand what is happening on TV can be a useful skill.

    I was living in a gaijin house in the summer of when the big JAL crash that killed people occurred. I was the only person in the house who could tell my housemates what was going on.

    言い習わし (いいならわし)

    I'll never be mistaken for a Japanese person over the phone, and since I live in the States, I don't have many opportunities to speak Japanese. But I do read and watch movies, and when I visit Japan, my brain soon clicks into gear. People who live in Japan and don't speak Japanese beyond a few phrases don't know what they're missing. Saying "You'll never be accepted no matter how long you live here, so why bother learning the language" may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. True, you'll never really be Japanese, but many of my fellow translators have proved that you can live a full adult life in Japan if you bother to learn the language to what is called "professional competence.

    Any one interested in taking on a student? JustinPascoe - you can learn hiragana and katakana in a few days - get some flashcards and a writing practice workbook. Easy as, if you knuckle down for a short while. Problem is pronounciation and recognition between the characters.

    I do know that Japanese kids learn the characters by relating them to pictures with a statement What I'm after is coaching. I can get the flash cards from many different web sites, but to learn the correct pronounciation and contexts, thats the hard part. BUT, You made a lot of great points, and I would agree that most of us here in Japan from other lands can just enjoy the adventure, eat the food, and stick to the essential phrases like "nama-biru kudasai!

    For short-termers I completely agree there is no real need to learn much Japanese. Of course do so if you wish but its not required to enjoy life here at all. For long-termers or lifers I cannot understand the mentality behind NOT learning the language.

    Date and time notation in Japan

    There are lots of reasons to learn and it should need to be explained. For me personally the biggest reason is career. Without Japanese my employment choices and potential for salary growth would be very very limited. Money is not a huge factor for me but if allows my children to have a decent life and education.