A language learners tale

Why do I learn Japanse?

Source: Image taken from Hello Kitty club http://www.hellokittyclub.com

My reason for learning Japanese is a very simple one. I want to “unlock” a new part of the world. I want to be able to explore native media, books, history, news, lifestyle and everything that makes life fun. I also want to be able to spent some time of my life in Japan, maybe the rest of it, who knows?

When did it all start?

My first contact with Japanese occurred about 19 years ago. It was 1992 and i was 14 at the time. I was zapping around and found a channel called JSTV – Japanese Satellite Television. The program that was running was 美少女戦士セーラームーン (びしょうじょせんしセーラームーン) Sailor Moon. It was the first time in my life that i saw an アニメ Anime on TV. Sadly the program was encrypted. All i could see were some strange lines, but the dialogue was still audible. In the days and weeks to come i would often switch over to that channel. Sometimes, when i was lucky, i saw a whole show, or a news report, that was aired without encryption. On other occasions i could see the intro or ending of an アニメ.

What has happened since my first discovery?

My fascination grew, and i thought, why don’t i start to learn the language? How hard can it be? So my first step was to go to a bookstore to see what they had to offer for learning Japanese. All that i could find was a self study course called “Langenscheidt’s Praktisches Lehrbuch Japanisch 1, 2, two Workbooks, and two tapes. Since this was the only available material, i bought the set, along with a small Phrasebook called “Langenscheidts Phrase Book Japanese,” from my monthly allowance. The months went by and the books were lying on untouched on my desk. I was reading in my 日本語の辞書 (にほんごのじしょ) Japanese dictionary which i bought during that time. Other things were more important, so two years went by, and another book came into my life. APA Guides Japan. I bought it in 1994, because my fascination about Japan has never worn off, even though life kept me busy. I read it many times over, and i was enjoying it so much, that i decided i want to visit this country some time in the near future.

When did I finally start learning?

It took another 17 years until the time would come for me to begin my journey. Last year I turned 32, and while I was cleaning out a storage room, I was rediscovering those books i bought so many years ago. The wish of learning the language returned immediately. This was a positive sign that now the time has finally come for me. I was ready, eager to learn, and very excited. Oh, little did i know what would become of what began as hobby, and what it would turn into. And I had no idea how much money i would spend on learning material.

But let me tell you this much, dear reader, before i end this article. During the last couple of months, there were only a few days, in which i didn’t study 日本語 (にほんご) the Japanese language. You will learn more about my endeavors, my struggles, my learning methods, in some of my upcoming articles. I hope to see you again.

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