7 Japanese lessons in 7 days

The printing has been delayed until Tuesday, so I have loads of time on my hands. I use it to learn Japanese from this book:

I find it pretty good. It seemed to be too simple in the beginning, but the slow tempo makes for a more thorough learning. And when you’re learning from a book, you are the one that sets the pace. So far, I’ve devoured 7 chapters in as many days. (Got the book last Friday.) And I tell you, each chapter is several hours of concentration, memorizing and all the stuff that language studies is.

I love it! Haven’t learned a language from scratch for a very long time. Here’s my language studies history:

  • Age 0: Swedish. (Hey, I was great at it!)
  • Age 9: English in school (mandatory).
  • Age 12: German in school (choice; French was the other available language).
  • Age 21: Czech at university.
  • Age 28: Hungarian at a private school in Budapest.
  • Age 35: Japanese by private tutor.

When studying Hungarian I realised that once you’ve learned a language at university level, you can’t go back. I don’t want to look at funny cats or draw lines between fancy illustrations – just give me the complete grammar tables, please!

So I never really learned much Hungarian in the end. A Spanish course I took with a friend had the same problem; a tempo so slow it makes you lose interest. But what can you expect from a course with one lesson a week.

I like the cats (ねこ) in Japanese from Zero though. I gotta be patient with this language. I feel a bit like the Karate Kid – learning lots of meaningless phrases, that hopefully one day will make perfect sense. And I know that will be beautiful.

Learning a language is like going to a gym. You won’t see results immediately. But they’ll come. And they’ll reflect the time and energy you devoted to your training. Just like with your body, you gotta rest for a day inbetween sometimes, to let the new muscles/brain cells grow in you. But right now I’m a linguistic bodybuilder. I want results and I want them now!

And I got the first results some day ago. When I posted this piece of (modified) shota a while ago, the Japanese was just a bunch of exotic signs to me. Seeing the picture again, I realized I could read the text! Not understand it, because I still haven’t learned the words that the signs make up. But I could read out loud all the hiragana parts of the text.

Another result today: I saw a Japanese restaurant called Midori (みどり), and I knew it meant green. That was fun!

In another post I’ll tell you why I decided to learn Japanese.

(Oh, and I tried the street tutor thing again today, but with no luck – he was Korean.)

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