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Is Learning Japanese Hard or Easy? The Truth… — 14 Comments

  1. I have vivid memories of sitting in Japanese 101 class years ago and being unable to wrap my head around sentences like 「11時半に図書館に行きます」. The concept of に was uttery strange to me, and Japanese was difficult as a beginner.
    The first time I went to Japan, I bought exactly two volumes of manga. They sat on my self unread for more than a year until I could understand them, and Japanese was difficult as an intermediate learner.
    There are a few Japanese novels on my shelf which I have not yet read because they are too high level for me. Guess what—Japanese is still difficult as a seasoned learner. The lesson to be had, though, is that in any goal you pursue, there will always be challenges waiting for you to take on no matter your level of ability. It is possible, however, to overcome those challenges. I can do things in Japanese today that I couldn’t do six months ago. Or a year ago. (How far I’ve come in Japanese is especially apparent to me when I contrast my Japanese skills with my current Korean ability, haha)
    I’ve found personally that the best way to beat obstacles is to stick with it while knowing how to pick your battles, and also to keep in mind that time and exposure is often an effective solution.

    • That’s the perfect attitude.

      Challenges are meant to be overcome. You just have to accept that they are challenges first.

  2. Great post! Or, as my wise grandpa once said when I told him how hard calculus was and I wanted to give up,”There are no hard subjects. However, some subjects take more time to master than others.”

  3. So true. I wish there were more articles like this. Writing about the grey area is so much harder than writing about black or white.

  4. “This ignores the simple principle that continuously and habitually using time to accomplish any specific goal is where most people stumble.”

    this is it for me. it’s not hard in the sense that learning it is beyond one’s intelligence. it’s hard in the sense that you have to consistently put in effort over a long period of time. currently on a plateau in my studies but i will get back into it soon enough.

    great article, adam. have fun in your studies, everyone.

  5. For me, Japanese study feels hardest when I can understand every word in a sentence, but I can’t quite put the whole thing together into a coherent thought. That happened a lot in the first year or so of studying, but not so much lately.

    Immersion started to feel hard after about a year because anime was basically the only thing that I had to watch. Once I found ways of renting or streaming dramas, variety shows, and NHK programs, immersion started to feel easy and fun again.

    • Regarding immersion with anime – I was the same. Once I swapped from anime to podcasts, I found it way easier. Maybe it’s because I was never into anime prior to learning Japanese, or just because I’d rather listen to “normal” people speaking I’m not sure.

  6. Years ago I tried learning Japanese and thought it was too hard, so I quit. A couple of weeks ago, I started on JalupNext, not really thinking I’d like it.

    I love it! Hard or easy? It’s just pure fun! And relaxing. And a much needed escape from the present-day world.

  7. I have learned japanese 10 years ago only to forget them as I don’t really use them that often but now I’m back on learning them again. I stumbled upon JALUP today! Can’t wait to go home from work and try it! :D

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