In spite of its reputation for being difficult, Japanese continues to be one of the most popular languages to learn. In fact, thousands of people each year start studying Japanese not because they plan to live in Japan, but purely for recreational purposes. According to a study by the Japan Foundation, in the US alone, 50 percent of Japanese-language students said that they’re learning simply because they want to be able to enjoy manga and anime in their original language.
As with most languages, the trend today is for people to learn Japanese online through self-study courses, but if you want to become fluent, it’s crucial to practice communicating with others as often as you can. That’s why, as any language learner will tell you, one of the best ways to learn Japanese is to take a language trip to Japan.
There are different ways to take a Japanese language trip. For example, you can take an organized study trip lasting a few weeks, or even sign on at a language school for several years. Those with an adventurous streak might even want to set out on their own for a few weeks or months, immersing themselves in the language and culture of the beautiful Land of the Rising Sun.
There’s really no wrong way to go because no matter how you’ll do it, you’re sure to have a wonderful time. However, if you’re serious about becoming a Japanese speaker (and if you’d really like to learn how to read kanji), here are four benefits of taking a language trip to Japan.
Once you get to Japan, you’ll be surrounded by a barrage of Japanese words, both audible and written. While English is a second language for many Japanese people, you can speed up your learning by making yourself speak Japanese as much as possible. Living in Japan, even for a few weeks, will accustom your eyes and ears to the continual sights and sounds of the Japanese language, so you’ll be able to hear the different inflections and nuances that you’d never be able to hear back at home. Likewise, you’ll be surrounded by written Japanese as well — whether it’s in street signs and shop windows or newspapers and menus — and in a short time, your eye should be able to recognize quite a few characters.
One of the best ways to accustom your ear to the Japanese language is to go to the cinema and the theater. In traditional Japanese theater, remember that some styles, such as noh and kabuki, emphasize singing, dance, and mime rather than the spoken word. Kyogen, on the other hand, features slapstick comedy with exaggerated dialogue that’s typically easier to understand.
One of the best things about a language trip to Japan is you can immerse yourself in Japanese, without resorting to English unless you absolutely have to. The Japanese are famed for their politeness, and you’ll find that people will be extremely patient and even helpful as you fumble for the correct Japanese words to say.
Some linguists say that there’s no better way to learn than to watch TV shows in your chosen language, and Japanese television is a highly entertaining way to not only learn and memorize words but also pick up current slang and pop culture phrases.
If you’d like to know how to learn Japanese online, the Japanese website Nihongo Master is here to help. For anyone who wants to learn, Nihongo Master online offers a wide range of Japanese language lessons for every level, whether you’re a beginner or already have several years of study under your belt.
A language trip to Japan will provide an unforgettable experience, and will likely lead to many more visits to this enchanting country. Whether you make one or a hundred visits, your time in Japan will set you on the right path for a lifetime of learning and enjoying Japanese.