How Much Would you Pay for Instant Fluency?
If Japanese takes thousands (or tens of thousands) of hours to master, wouldn’t it be great if you could just skip all that and get your results instantly? Wake up and you are fluent. I know I know… the journey is what makes the end goal so worthwhile. This is a fact. But let’s drop all that for a second. What if you could Matrix-style plug your brain into a machine, and upload Japanese fluency directly into your mind? While this may or may not be science fiction in the future, it’s an interesting topic and poses a strange question to you:
If you could upload Japanese fluency instantly to your brain, how much would you pay?
Why think about the cost?
A few reasons.
First, it is more realistic. If something like this did ever exist, expect it to be an extremely expensive procedure. People with more money get newer technology first.
In a way we do have a budget in mind for our study resources and native material. If you spent $100 a month on resources, that adds up overtime, so you are indirectly paying for your fluency. Or maybe you were like me, and foolishly tried to pay your way to success.
However, the main reason for our question here is that it frames how important Japanese is to you. Time is your most valuable resource. Your second most valuable resource is probably money. If you were willing to put in 10,000 hours into fluency, and you earned $30/hour, that’s $300,000 worth of value you are putting into that fluency.
How much would you pay?
Let’s get down to the numbers. What sum of money would you pay to achieve this glorious Japanese upload. A few guidelines:
1. This isn’t a moral question, whether you would or wouldn’t do this. It’s a value question.
2. In this scenario you aren’t rich (unless you actually are rich in reality). So imagine the amount as though you are currently making the money you are today.
3. You are able to take out loans in the way you would on typical large items (like a mortgage on a house).
4. If you are already intermediate to high level, assume you were a beginner
5. Priceless is not an answer : )
If you really don’t like this question, change it from “how much would you pay to achieve fluency” to “how much would you pay to keep your fluency.” You can assume some evil corporation steals fluency from people unless they pay a “fluency tax.”
What’s your number?
Leave your answers in the comments section! I’d probably max out every expensive loan I could get my hands on…
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.
I wouldn’t take instant fluency for free. I love learning Japanese, that’s why I study it. All the benefits of being able to speak a second language are bonuses to me.
If my fluency was taken away, I wouldn’t pay to get it back. If I still liked it, I would learn it all again.
Sorry for the lame answer.
Haha, I’ll take that answer.
Starting from scratch would take a lot of willpower. I don’t think I’d be able to handle that.
That just sounds so fishy, I find it hard to come up with an answer! Tbh it would totally destroy my hobby for me and seems like way less fun, hmmm. I mean there are a lot of things I want to do with Japanese, so being fluent in a second would be useful, but at the same time I think if it was that easy and instantaneous I would also be less interested in it.
But, maybe… let’s say I could buy Japanese level-ups or could get an abonnement for those. I can progress myself, but on top of that, I could also buy into a level up every month or so. Or if I feel like I’m at a plateau I could buy a bunch of level ups and then feel better about myself *cough*. I usually don’t like the kind of games where this is possible and if I happen to like the game nonetheless, I mostly go for the “free route” but to be honest if Japanese was like that, I’m not so sure I’d be strong enough to resist. I think I’d probably spend loads on that… As the poor student I am right now, it would be limited, and I would try to get as far as I could myself, but give me a few more years and some more money and… I’d still be poor but probably good at Japanese. I mean essentially it’s a similar scenario… Honestly, if there are both options (gradual level ups vs full boost) I might even go for the full boost (because I’m a cheapskate at heart and that option might save a few bucks? Though if I do the first levels by myself maybe it actually doesn’t? Hmmm!) but somehow I feel like I’d be more willing to buy a “full boost” if the options are “nothing”, “gradual boost”, “full boost” rather than if the options are “nothing” and “full boost” only. I’m strange like that… Though I think with gradual boosts I’d still have more fun than with a full boost…
Yeah, I realize now that this post didn’t pose the easiest question and some people would be uncomfortable trying to answer it.
Thanks for going into detail with your thought process. It was pretty interesting how you separated what you might actually buy.
Having experienced my fair share of Japanese learning before achieveing N1 and finally becoming good enough to simply coast through things, I’d say a good amount. A year’s worth of disposable income, perhaps? Maybe even double that price.
Unlike most here I’m not exactly into the whole process. I like the results. There are things that I’d like to experience, which are only or predominantly available in Japanese, and this was my initial motivation for learning the language. These are books, visual novels, and video games among others. Clumsy conversations riddled with beginner mistakes never brought me joy, nor did the Anki grind or the feeling of helplessness when you don’t understand a thing from the sentence you just read even though you know all the words.
So yeah, I’d pay to avoid going back there.
The results are of course very important. Sure, the journey can be great (and not so great), but without the results, no one is going to do it. I feel the same way that I couldn’t imagine starting again from scratch, so I would definitely pay a large sum of money at that point to prevent a restart.
I am a cheapskate but being able to watch anime without needing to read subtitles would mean allowing more time to watch and appreciate the animation. It would also mean I would be able to read manga without waiting for it to be translated, and I could buy and play games straight from Japan.
$10,000 for this sure seems like a good idea to me. Any more than that would be difficult to justify.