I am a beginner! I’m a clean slate with nothing but white space ready to absorb all the Nihongo I can. And that in no way makes me an expert on the language. But from my online research (and my own assumptions), here are the top 5 reasons why I chose Japanese over the rest.
1) No Tones!!! (!!!!)
If you read the previous post, one of the main reasons I gave up learning Mandarin Chinese was the tones. At first I figured… hey if I stick to it this should be a piece of cake. But after reading stories of people who went to China after having studied Chinese and not being understood due to tonal issues… I decided it was NOOOT the best idea. I’m practically half deaf as it is and don’t think I’d have the ear for that kind of thing.
I’ve heard Japanese pronunciation is pretty straight forward compared to other languages such as French or Portugese which you may have to hear over and over in order to perfect. It sounded a lot like Spanish to me (though this comparison is now a burden… that’s another post altogether). It feels safe to know that if I decided to go to Japan tomorrow, it won’t be that hard to whip out a phrasebook and ask where the baño is.
3) Politeness Levels
What??? This is a reason to learn Japanese?!?! Here’s the Salvadorian side in me coming out. In the Spanish language, I really admire the “Usted “ form as a way to heighten respect for someone such as an elder. It’s a shame that there’s no real English equivalent to this and I love that such a system exists in Japanese. Plus, knowing about the usted form has helped me grasp on to this concept almost painlessly (almost).
God, who doesn’t love anime? What?? Get off this page NOW!! Haha no but seriously—I know from experience that something could be translated word for word and you will not enjoy it as much as when you understand the language being spoken, and I’m sure all bilingual people can relate. Anime, manga, J-dramas, J-pop… so many forms of entertainment opened up to you once you know the language. This reason alone would be enough to want to learn Nihongo… and I use it as a motivation.
I decided to separate this one from entertainment, although they may be sort of in the same category. Culture in this context is a lot of things to me…. Modern-day Japan as a whole is fascinating … and don’t get me started on the history! There is so much to learn and experience and I would like to do it as a fluent speaker!
Most of these will be elaborated on later… but this is basically why I’m here. I’m ready to learn.. ready to dive in! Won’t you join me? 😉