Blog: Why do you want to learn Japanese?

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Was just scrolling through my facebook feed and saw this photo shared from 9gag.

Indeed… watching anime is a huge motivation of many people to learn Japanese. The Japanese has been very successful in exporting their popular culture overseas. Sure, JPOP may have lost to KPOP, but just think of all the Japanese games and anime. Detective conan, Doraemon, Pokemon… And how about Mario, Zelda, or the Wii? That’s right, all these are Japanese, and that just a quick few pulled out from the top of my head.

Personally my interest in Japan and Japanese only came about because of a family vacation to Japan in 2008. I became much more interested in the Japanese pop culture after that, and started watching some variety shows, and listening to JPOP. I eventually got the opportunity to learn Japanese in University… and along the way I grew to like the boyband Arashi. And Arashi was the reason for my Japanese prowess.

It started with my watching shows with Chinese subtitles… and then eventually I could, through guesswork, inference, their gestures and tone, and the on screen kanji (helps that I know Chinese!), understand more and more of the show. Just a few sentences at first… then whole conversations. Eventually I was understanding almost the full show even without needing subtitles. You can say that my idols were actually my language teachers. Cool eh?

I guess I’m not the only one though, who learned Japanese by watching shows/anime. Then things got more serious as I started doing show reviews… and eventually doing fansubs. That was when my Japanese REALLY IMPROVED. Because there is no compromise. You can’t just skip lines you don’t understand, or guess the meaning… and it’s not enough to roughly have an idea or what they are saying. Even if you pretty much understand everything they say, it won’t do if you can internalize every word they are saying AND translate it accurately and precisely into English. And as it’s a fansub, I’d also want to try and keep the tone, sentence structure etc as true to the words of the idol as I possible can. Not an easy task indeed!

As for why I’m going to keep on learning the language… I guess because I enjoy doing so. I like learning. I do enjoy translating… as much as it is tough and time consuming. The five stormy boys (aka Arashi) are still as wonderful as ever, providing me with much needed entertainment and laughter. I enjoy listening to JPOP too (besides Arashi, SEKAI NO OWARI and One OK Rock are my favourites). Translating Japanese to English gives me a chance to practice BOTH my Japanese and English, and it also gives me something to do, something to self improve, besides work.

And that’s why I want to learn Japanese.

How about you?

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