So I was busy at lunch the other day indulging in an hour of “My Princess” at work, when my co-worker comes up behind me to stare at the screen. He stares, I pretend not to notice him, and he continues silently. I turn, smile, and ask “Can I help you?” And he responds “ANOTHER Korean one? What a weirdo! Hey everyone, she’s learning Japanese but she’s watching Korean shows!” I respond “OMG! But they’re so good!!” People, this is my daily routine.
My co-worker WAS learning Japanese (he’s totally slacking these days :-P) and never gets tired of poking fun at me for my obsession with Korean dramas. His constant and annoying questioning is what inspired this post, actually. He really got me thinking. Is watching programs in another language (that you don’t already know) detrimental to the Japanese learning process?
First, a little background on the obsession. I started watching Korean dramas summer 2010, around the same time I began studying Japanese. My reasons? I would always hear a lot of my favorite bloggers/vloggers rave about these dramas. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I began with BBF and since then have been unstoppable. I watch dramas on my lunch hour, after work, on weekends. I have drama marathons. I’ve turned down a night of clubbing for 10 hours of “My Girl”. My computer broke down and the reason I was on the verge of tears was Kim Sam Soon. (If you think that I’m crazy, you have no idea.) Yes, I’ve tried J-dramas… but once you’ve become a part of the K-drama world, it’s difficult to let go. When you hear about a new drama by your favorite writers or featuring your favorite actor, it’s not easy to resist, let me tell you.
So what does all this have to do with my Japanese? The obvious reason is the amount of time it takes away from studying. But I noticed I’ve been slowly picking up simple Korean words such as Annyonghaseyo, Oppa, Noona, etc. The drama staples. I recognize the speech patterns. I wonder if listening to so much Korean is pushing the Japanese out of my brain. Because, your brain can only hold so much information. I already speak English and Spanish, and even my Spanish is beginning to suffer. I’m scared for my Japanese!
I’ve been asked why I don’t go ahead and try learning Korean. To be honest, I have already gone through this argument with myself. Korean pronunciation would be much more difficult for me than Japanese. I would have to learn Hangul and pretty much start back at square one and I’m not willing to do so. I am also much more interested in Japanese culture as a whole. So, giving Japanese up is not an option for me. I’ve already invested so much.
So, I’m just going to try to get through this addiction and cut down on my viewing time. I want to eventually FORCE myself to start watching J-dramas. This way I won’t be wasting time and can pick up on the language. Ahh… I hope I have it in me!!
Update (less than a week later): F-It. I caved. I am also learning Korean lol. I signed up for Korean Class 101 and will start learning Hangul during my summer break from school. Wish me luck 😀