Learn 2000 Kanji and blam, you can read a Japanese broadsheet newspaper. If you're a history buff (like me) or have family who are Japanese (like me) then all the more reason to learn the language. I guess all those articles that people read in their native language about different cultures doesn't mean anything, right? I lived in an ex-pat bubble only speaking to fellow gaijin and at home my apartment was a mini America watching TV shows in English and listening to American music. You see, it's not enough to know the vocabulary of a language, you need to understand the cultural baggage that is connected to it to really "get it". I mean,we all grow up hearing how hard japanese and other asian languages are and how it's 101% impossible to learn it and even if you try to do so,you'll probably fail,and that's exactly what you emphasized once more here. Only a few people in Japan speak English to any level of competence, which leaves a massive job market open for you, even in the US (companies there deal with Japanese companies every day). English will get you much if anywhere within Japanese culture and society, neither will japanese fluency if you dont look the part. It takes a long time because English and Japanese are very different. and i will not even try to learn anything in the future. But i have no confident to speak with Japanese at all (I really have trouble with this). Yet that will quickly wear off and you will be hung out to dry before you know it. I feel that I have been trolled by this post and by many of the comments. The kanji is pretty entertaining. Plus, it takes a long time. In the case with Japan as with other Asian cultures use an indirect style of communication. I'm so sick of this race bating BS I'm glad I don't have to deal with that here. Care to elaborate? BUT, You made a lot of great points, and I would agree that most of us here in Japan from other lands can just enjoy the adventure, eat the food, and stick to the essential phrases like "nama-biru kudasai!" Tough shit. Live here for awhile and leave as soon as you can. Either way, learning as much of the language as you can while you're here increases your enjoyment/appreciation tenfold. As for the environment immersion, yeah I get it, you're a gaijin millennial and Japanese people aren't as apt to coddle your fragile ego as your American friends and family. That is your only problem. Also, Japanese picture books may sound easy, but the language is certainly upper-intermediate in many of them. Maybe you talk to the wrong people in Japan? Sometimes no matter how perfectly you ask a question in Japanese, you’ll get an answer in English, or at least dumbed-down Japanese. When your Japanese is obviously a bunch of inadequate, strung-together phrases, the locals will like it. Think about like him at a party. Japanese pay a lot of attention to a person's status and use honorifics, which apply according to the rank of the person who is speaking and who he or she is speaking to.
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