The Beginner phase. You are full of hopes and dreams. New textbooks and programs. Ideals and magic are in the air. You have just started learning Japanese. And already…
You want to be out of the beginner phase as soon as possible. Who wants to be a beginner after all? When you can be something more. You want to be fluent in Japanese, not a beginner. The faster you move on up the mountain the better right? The view is way better up there.
Slow down and stop rushing
The beginner phase is fun. Everything is brand new. You are learning all about the intricacies of the Japanese language and the way it works. You are making new sounds with your mouth and getting used to new sounds with your ears. You are reading something that is not English. And you are writing all kinds of fancy symbols. Japanese is so different from anything you know and you are getting to experience that for the first time ever. It’s a rewarding place to be in.
By trying to blow through this all you miss out on taking the time to appreciate what you are starting. By choosing to learn Japanese, you have embarked on something special. This is a new video game. Do you rush through the early levels of a brand new video game just because you want to get towards the end? You take your time in the beginning, get used to the controls, the freshness, the originality, and what makes the game worthwhile. Only then do you worry about speeding up.
Intermediate is waiting in the dark
The higher your level, the more fun you have right? No. Anyone who is in their intermediate phase, especially the mid-level blues, can tell you differently. Intermediate is where you face your biggest challenges, most frustration and annoyance with the language, and the increased appearance of you shouting “Why Japanese People?!!” Your infatuation with Japanese settles down a bit, and you have to watch it’s cold eyes stare you down telling you that you are not allowed to enter its domain.
Things do get better. But it takes time. Many people give up here. Those that don’t move on to the more enjoyable Advanced phase. But there is nothing like what you experienced in the beginning.
Need a graphic to explain it all? Sure.
Share your experience
Are you a beginner? Having fun or rushing?
Are you an intermediate? What advice do you have to the beginners here?
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.