Regardless of whether you believe Japanese is easy, or difficult, or you have no opinion on the matter at all, a definite remains. It starts off easy, and gets more complex the further you go. Learning こんにちは (hello) is easier than learning 俺を殺さんでくれ！ (Don’t kill me!)
If Japanese was a game, what would the end of it be? Becoming fluent? Is this really an end? Do you want an end?
There is a really popular cram-school teacher in Japan teaching the important mentality of treating studying like a fun game. Miyamoto-Sensei was featured on the motivational/educational variety show 全力教室 and provided a few important quotes that I feel are highly relevant to Japanese learners.
The reward for completing a hurdle is a higher hurdle.
Life is a never ending tournament.
The more you win and push forward, the stronger the enemies become.
Don’t make the final win your goal. Enjoy overcoming the hurdles.
Japanese will get more difficult, and will continue to throw you new and more powerful enemies.
You need to enjoy this every step of the way.
You enjoy a video game because of the difficulty. You don’t play a video game just to finish it. You play it to have fun and take satisfaction of every hurdle you go through till your final victory.
Regular console video games have the issue of having a firm ending, which can feel kind of anti-satisfying. You travelled so far, worked so hard, and you are done. Then what? You are left with emptiness.
That’s why endless MMORPGs are so addictive.
We crave an endless game. We always want the next more difficult challenge. And that’s what Japanese is. An endless MMORPG with a never ending supply of new and increasingly difficult challenges.
Fluency? Native Level? Is that an end?
Even native speakers are always looking for ways to make themselves better writers. Better speakers. Always learning new words and concepts. Old words and concepts they never knew.
So you need to enjoy every hurdle. Finished Jalup Beginner Stage 1? Bask in the feeling of reward of completing this. But quickly get ready for the more difficult stage 2. Were you reading only manga with furigana? Get ready to read manga without it. Used to watching only simple romantic comedy dramas? Time to try a detective story.
Keep raising the hurdles, one difficulty level at a time.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.