Do you picture yourself as some unstoppable Japanese learning beast, absorbing knowledge left and right, and dominating every kanji, word, and sentence you come across?
You want everything.
● You want to be an elegant speaker who can capture the heart of his audience.
● You want to understand everything you could possibly ever hear or watch.
● You want to be able to write out beautiful compositions worthy of praise and awards.
● You want to be able to pore through with ease even the most advanced literature Japan has to offer.
You want your language to shine like the massive sun over all those that have climbed Mount Fuji.
While you want everything to be perfect, and all-powerful, you have to accept something important.
You are going to have weaknesses.
Those who seek perfection and fail come across this realization early: One of the big keys to Japanese success is accepting your weaknesses to allow your strengths to shine.
Trying to shine in every Japanese way possible is going to lead you down an unpleasant path. In your own language, you haven’t mastered everything, and never will. Can you wow an audience of thousands of people? Can you read and fully comprehend or listen to lectures of advanced subjects such as science, medicine, and technology? Can you write novels?
You most likely don’t want to achieve the peak for every possible thing that exists. You want to choose what matters most to you. Some people want beautiful handwriting. Some people want to be able to write publish-worthy Japanese. Some people want to be able to speak in a refined way that allows for public speaking. Some people want to be able to understand hard science. Others don’t.
When you don’t want something, you don’t focus on it. That skill becomes weak and unrefined. That’s completely fine.
When you know your weaknesses, you can decide in the future if strengthening them is important to you. Then later you can address them head on when it matters to you.
Weaknesses can go straight down to the core of Japanese
This can be reading, writing, speaking, or listening.
Most people have the greatest difficulty in speaking, because they spend the lion share of their studying with reading and listening. So you have a speaking weakness, because right now it isn’t your focus. You know that weakness, and later on you can slowly work to change that and turn it into a strength. Or maybe you won’t. Maybe you don’t really care about being the best speaker. Having normal conversations is enough, and you don’t need to be able to do anything more than that.
Choose your weaknesses
Your weaknesses are the product of how you forge your Japanese learner path. Then you can decide what to do with those weaknesses.
Don’t ever think that to become fluent and beyond you have to remove every single weakness. That’s the biggest mistake. You are allowed to have weaknesses. You are supposed to have them. Having weaknesses, and understanding them, is a sign of strength, not of weakness.
What’s a weakness that you have that you’ve decided isn’t important to you (even if just for now)?
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.