Monday, September 5, 2011

How I learned Japanese Part 2

How to learn Japanese. er. . I mean, How I learned Japanese Part 2
Part 1 is here. The videos are here


IS! . . . Playing video games!. Playing video games helped me learn Japanese a lot!. Especially in reading, vocabulary, listening and KANJI. One day I went to the local video game store and bought a Japanese copy of Persona 4. Note:I played and finished Persona 3 in English before so I was familiar with the game.I really liked it and it was very interesting. I kept on playing it even though I couldn't read well. The Minna no Nihongo Kanji booklet and a Japanese-English dictionary were my best friends I was constantly using them.
I bought the game just before school  started(before I took Japanese classes). So at the time I had near zero Japanese knowledge, I couldn't even read the hiragana and katakana letters. Also I didn't have the 2 books mentioned above, I only had a small book called "Simple conversation in Japanese" from JICA. The book had hiragana and katakana letters. When I started the game I could only read the hiragana and katakana letters by looking at the small book. And I just skipped the kanji's. It took me about 1 hour and 30 or so minutes to get to the first save point which should take around 15 minutes MAX for someone that can read Japanese. And I didn't understand anything, BUT I did memorize most of the hiragana and katakana letters ^.^ . I realized that I was no match for Japanese at the time and can't continue like this. So I temporarily quit playing Persona 4 and went on to school for training.

After 6 months of training I restarted Persona 4. Surprised I was. I could easily read the hiragana, katakana letters and some of the kanji. Best of all I could make out meaningful sentences. But. . . it still wasn't enough, there were an abundance of words and kanji that I didn't know. Luckily I got the 2 books mentioned above in bold.

Every unknown kanji I encounter I would manually search it in my booklet by it's shape!. This consumed time and took a lot of patience. And my booklet only had 400 kanjis so sometimes the kanji being searched would not be there -_-*, at these moments I'd make a deep breath and have a cup of tea.
One feature of Persona really saved me. The characters in Persona will sometimes speak out loud!.

The text appears normally like other rpg's. But the characters will say their lines out loud. This greatly helped me. How?, by carefully listening to them speaking I could catch how the kanji's are read. And if I knew how they're read I could easily look them up on my Japanese-English dictionary. Saves time, understands better, more fun when they talk.
Also In Persona you the player can sometimes choose the reply's or what to say to the characters. Depending on your answers different things will happen. At some important parts it can even alter the game ending. This gives you a big pressure to understand what the characters are saying and to choose the best answer. Because it is important I tried to translate more and understand what they were saying.
(watch the video to exactly get what I mean.Vid:Part 2)
By playing Persona 4 I learned a lot of new words, even phrases and 200+ kanji's!. Which is pretty good for playing a game right. . . right?. Oh I also learned a lot of Mythological deity's ^_^


Is reading Japanese books. This really helps in learning kanji's. I didn't have any manga's I only had one Japanese book which I don't remember -.-" . Honestly speaking I didn't use this method a lot. 
Reading books is really good for kanji training. Just trying to read helps a lot.


Method #5 is more like a requirement than a method. And it's the most important thing in learning Japanese.
It IS... Feeling. . . I think this is the right word to use(couldn't think of any cool words). Yes! Feeling. All of my methods especially # 2 and 3 are dependent on the Feelings Like and Want without these they'd be meaningless.
I actually transferred to a new school that teaches Japanese because I really wanted to go to Japan. And to do that I needed to learn Japanese. Which wasn't that hard because I really liked Japanese and wanted to go to Japan.
I liked the language and really wanted to learn it, because of this I studied hard and always payed attention to Japanese class.
I could learn Japanese by playing a video game. Because, I liked playing video games and I liked Japanese I was interested. I could also patiently look up all the kanji's from my book by shape.
I learned Japanese by watching anime's. And I could do that because, I liked watching anime's, I liked Japanese and I really wanted to learn Japanese. I think that my subconscious mind was happily storing away all the words and information from the anime. Later on when I used Japanese to talk to someone somehow these words, phrases just pop inside my head and I knew what to say. It just came out. I think this has to with the subconscious mind and just naturally memorizing.
So in the end learning Japanese really isn't that hard! IF you really really want to learn it and like it.
This is pretty obvious right? I mean why would anyone want to learn something they don't want to or have little interest in. That's kinda stupid...right?...right?. And trust me it is a waste of time. In my old school they used to teach Russian and after 2 years of class I learned only a few sentences and words.(me speak wee bit Russian hereVid:Part 2)

Lastly a few words.

If you can't find a place that teaches Japanese and if your school doesn't teach it then you'll have to teach yourself. You can use my methods, improvise on them. If you really like the language and if you really really want to learn it then the determination will come and you can learn it by yourself. 
There are plenty of ways. Like, buy a book from Amazon. 
Ask Google teacher. Go to your local library. Ask a friend. Look up those really big and thick phonebooks that . . ., you might just find a number.
And finally just GO FOR IT.

1 comment:

  1. wow! im just really amaze how you learn japanese in just a short time! :) btw, what country are you from? and are just by yourself there in japan?! :D