Making the decision to learn the Japanese Language was not a hard one. But once I was thrown into that deep swamp of Asian hieroglyphs and foreign culture I began to realize that learning a new language is not a just a new way to communicate, but also a new way to think.
What are these weird symbols? – あいうえお
Japanese consists of two syllabaries, hiragana and katakana, representing sounds and syllables. Then comes kanji. Kanji are so-called logographic characters. They don’t just represent sounds like hiragana and katakana, but also represent entire words. There a ton of kanji out there. A few thousand are needed for general use, but that’s not so bad. It could be worse. For example, Mandarin Chinese is only kanji, or hanzi. Japanese has them mixed.
For example わたし(watashi, “I”) is the same as 私, the symbol in kanji. On the side, Japanese has very easy grammar compared to other languages.
The Japanese Language has a long history, too big to explain for a blog post. If you want more information look at this stackexchange post.
You can learn Japanese with Anime
If you learn a language you need to have some input. If you are as unlucky as me and don’t have any friends or relatives who speak Japanese, the internet is your god and savior. It may sound weird but its possible. All you have to do is turn off subtitles. That’s step one. Then turn them back on, but this time try to use Japanese subtitles. You will not understand but maybe you pick up some words. Also it introduces you to the normal rate of speaking. This blog post continues about the methods you can use with anime.
Japanese from Zero! is a book series which teaches you Japanese in an unique way, the “progressive method”. You will be introduced to Japanese vocabulary and words. Because the book focuses on learning hiragana, you will first read Japanese in romaji and then after each chapter some syllables will be replaced with the hiragana you learned previously. All this while learning vocabulary and bits of grammar. I own it personally and can only recommend it.
My personal longtime achievement would be to make it to Japan, but before that, there is a ton of things to learn!