Learning Japanese in a year: Manga-style explanation!

Learning Japanese in a year: Manga-style explanation!

Benny

Today’s guest post is from Mars Dorian who writes over at I luv Empire – which is his online comic and project to make the world a more epic place. Mars is German and we hung out while I was living in Berlin (and talked together in German of course).

This post shares his Japanese learning story and strategy… presented in his Japanese Manga-like drawing style with himself as the main character! It’s over to you Mars!

————–

1) Since my early childhood, I was OBSESSED with Japanese culture. I loved the animation, the food and everything that came from that odd, little country on the other side of the globe. I knew in my guts that I was DEFINITELY going to go there someday. It was only a matter of time.

2) Then in my early twenties, when I was in Australia, it came to me: I was living with Japanese peeps in China town, and I said to myself: Hell – I’m going to Japan next… and I’m going to dominate this language in less than a year!

I knew this was going to be a tough challenge, but I have a passion that’s strong enough to melt the moon, and the focus of a Terminator hunting down his target. And you know what? I did indeed succeed in this mad quest.

This is how I did it:

3) Total immersion:

Since I was going to live in Australia for almost a year, I had to bring Japan to ME. And that meant buying Japanese books, listening to Japanese music, eating Sushi, consuming Japanese cartoons and animation…hell, even getting a Japanese girlfriend. I completely surrounded myself with my target language, in order to get the MAXIMUM input.

Lesson: Do the same. Bring your target language into your daily life. Change the language settings of your browser and mp3 player, eat that food, watch online videos…your imagination is the only limit here!

4) When it came to actually learning, I focused almost exclusively on the 1000 most used words in Japanese. It turns out that if you understand the 1000 most used words, you understand about 80% of daily conversations.

This brings many advantages: First, you understand your target language much sooner, and as a sweet side effect, you’ll raise your self-confidence which results in better language learning!

5) Fake it ’till you make it.

Often said, but works like magic in real life. It’s a well-known psychological trick that if you ask yourself “What would (insert person here) do?”, you begin to act like them.

That’s why I pretended to be a Japanese at times, mimicking their gestures and speaking flow. It’s amazing how powerful it worked – my pronunciation improved dramatically!

And remember: it’s a learning aid. It’s not about going crazy and being someone you are not ;)

6) Have redonculous fun.

You may say this is obvious, but it’s NOT. Many times I learned the language when I was in a bad mood and just didn’t feel like it, and as a result I didn’t learn much!

Being in a good state DRAMATICALLY increases your receptiveness – the better you feel the better you learn.

So, make sure you get into kick-ass mode before you learn – hell, dance like a monkey on fire if that helps you. But do it in your target language :)

————
Well said Mars! Dance like a monkey on fire, but do it in the target language :) Check out more of Mars’ great comics on I Luv Empire, and leave your comments below about his tips on this post!

Today’s guest post is from Mars Dorian who writes over at I luv Empire – which is his online comic and project to make the world a more epic place. Mars is German and we hung out while I was living in Berlin (and talked together in German of course). This post shares his Japanese […]

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  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    thanx for the opportunity Benny.

    I hope your community gets fun & inspiration out of this graphical post.

  • WC

    I would add a couple things to the list:

    Have a way to know you are progressing.  I do this by having a series of books and video that are too hard for me yet.  Every once in a while, if I start to doubt my progress, I open them up and see how much better I can read them.  It has never yet failed to cheer me up.

    Don’t ever give up.  Take vacations, but don’t quit.  So long as you continue to study, even if you only average a few minutes a day, you will continue improving.  I know this because my average is somewhere close to that.  At 4 years, I can read a lot of manga, some novels, talk to natives (haltingly…  need to practice more!) and I even watched Space Battleship Yamato the other day in Japanese, with Japanese subtitles.

    I don’t live in Japan and the only practice I get is what I bring to myself.  It can be done.  You just have to try. And not even very hard.

  • WC

    I would add a couple things to the list:

    Have a way to know you are progressing.  I do this by having a series of books and video that are too hard for me yet.  Every once in a while, if I start to doubt my progress, I open them up and see how much better I can read them.  It has never yet failed to cheer me up.

    Don’t ever give up.  Take vacations, but don’t quit.  So long as you continue to study, even if you only average a few minutes a day, you will continue improving.  I know this because my average is somewhere close to that.  At 4 years, I can read a lot of manga, some novels, talk to natives (haltingly…  need to practice more!) and I even watched Space Battleship Yamato the other day in Japanese, with Japanese subtitles.

    I don’t live in Japan and the only practice I get is what I bring to myself.  It can be done.  You just have to try. And not even very hard.

  • WC

    I would add a couple things to the list:

    Have a way to know you are progressing.  I do this by having a series of books and video that are too hard for me yet.  Every once in a while, if I start to doubt my progress, I open them up and see how much better I can read them.  It has never yet failed to cheer me up.

    Don’t ever give up.  Take vacations, but don’t quit.  So long as you continue to study, even if you only average a few minutes a day, you will continue improving.  I know this because my average is somewhere close to that.  At 4 years, I can read a lot of manga, some novels, talk to natives (haltingly…  need to practice more!) and I even watched Space Battleship Yamato the other day in Japanese, with Japanese subtitles.

    I don’t live in Japan and the only practice I get is what I bring to myself.  It can be done.  You just have to try. And not even very hard.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Nice man, you are on a MISSION !

      Winners never quit, quitters never win ;)Thanx for sharing your experiences here !

  • WC

    I would add a couple things to the list:

    Have a way to know you are progressing.  I do this by having a series of books and video that are too hard for me yet.  Every once in a while, if I start to doubt my progress, I open them up and see how much better I can read them.  It has never yet failed to cheer me up.

    Don’t ever give up.  Take vacations, but don’t quit.  So long as you continue to study, even if you only average a few minutes a day, you will continue improving.  I know this because my average is somewhere close to that.  At 4 years, I can read a lot of manga, some novels, talk to natives (haltingly…  need to practice more!) and I even watched Space Battleship Yamato the other day in Japanese, with Japanese subtitles.

    I don’t live in Japan and the only practice I get is what I bring to myself.  It can be done.  You just have to try. And not even very hard.

  • http://cruisesurfingz.com roy | cruisesurfingz.com

    Great article Mars & Benny. Love the art and the advice! Okay, now to learn some more Latvian. I’ve been here for 1.5 weeks and I only know 5 words :S

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      haha, 5 words Roy ?

      I know you can do better ;)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      haha, 5 words Roy ?

      I know you can do better ;)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      haha, 5 words Roy ?

      I know you can do better ;)

      • Tergiversator_Maximus

        Technically that was six words.

      • Tergiversator_Maximus

        Technically that was six words.

      • Tergiversator_Maximus

        Technically that was six words.

      • Tergiversator_Maximus

        Technically that was six words.

    • dylan freeman

      Spend 20 minutes and you’ll double that.

    • dylan freeman

      Spend 20 minutes and you’ll double that.

    • dylan freeman

      Spend 20 minutes and you’ll double that.

    • dylan freeman

      Spend 20 minutes and you’ll double that.

    • dylan freeman

      Spend 20 minutes and you’ll double that.

    • dylan freeman

      Spend 20 minutes and you’ll double that.

    • dylan freeman

      Spend 20 minutes and you’ll double that.

    • dylan freeman

      Spend 20 minutes and you’ll double that.

    • dylan freeman

      Spend 20 minutes and you’ll double that.

    • dylan freeman

      Spend 20 minutes and you’ll double that.

  • http://cruisesurfingz.com roy | cruisesurfingz.com

    Great article Mars & Benny. Love the art and the advice! Okay, now to learn some more Latvian. I’ve been here for 1.5 weeks and I only know 5 words :S

  • http://cruisesurfingz.com roy | cruisesurfingz.com

    Great article Mars & Benny. Love the art and the advice! Okay, now to learn some more Latvian. I’ve been here for 1.5 weeks and I only know 5 words :S

  • http://cruisesurfingz.com roy | cruisesurfingz.com

    Great article Mars & Benny. Love the art and the advice! Okay, now to learn some more Latvian. I’ve been here for 1.5 weeks and I only know 5 words :S

  • http://cruisesurfingz.com roy | cruisesurfingz.com

    Great article Mars & Benny. Love the art and the advice! Okay, now to learn some more Latvian. I’ve been here for 1.5 weeks and I only know 5 words :S

  • http://cruisesurfingz.com roy | cruisesurfingz.com

    Great article Mars & Benny. Love the art and the advice! Okay, now to learn some more Latvian. I’ve been here for 1.5 weeks and I only know 5 words :S

  • http://cruisesurfingz.com roy | cruisesurfingz.com

    Great article Mars & Benny. Love the art and the advice! Okay, now to learn some more Latvian. I’ve been here for 1.5 weeks and I only know 5 words :S

  • http://cruisesurfingz.com roy | cruisesurfingz.com

    Great article Mars & Benny. Love the art and the advice! Okay, now to learn some more Latvian. I’ve been here for 1.5 weeks and I only know 5 words :S

  • Eri

    Sounds like you were hardcore even before you decided to learn the language! I somewhat was as well because I pretty much only listened to Japanese music @.@ The only thing is that a person like you, who loves Japan and isn’t afraid to show it, is often labeled a ‘weeaboo’ by other people. I often don’t tell anime fans that I’m learning Japanese because this is what’ll happen. They’ll just say ‘pfff weeaboo, you’ll never actually learn it’. They automatically assume that the only reason you’re learning Japanese is to watch anime or read manga. And while I will admit that was my initial reasons, I now have a very close Japanese friend who I want to converse with more in Japanese than in English.
    So like, did you ever have trouble with this? I’m sure everyone at some point has encountered someone telling them they wn’t succeed, but these people are just monsters. I wouldn’t want to end up on the weeaboo stories tumblr with an exaggerated story about how I was trying to convince everyone I know Japanese if I just tell someone I’m trying to learn it. (because I know a lot of those stories are exaggerated augh)

  • Eri

    Sounds like you were hardcore even before you decided to learn the language! I somewhat was as well because I pretty much only listened to Japanese music @.@ The only thing is that a person like you, who loves Japan and isn’t afraid to show it, is often labeled a ‘weeaboo’ by other people. I often don’t tell anime fans that I’m learning Japanese because this is what’ll happen. They’ll just say ‘pfff weeaboo, you’ll never actually learn it’. They automatically assume that the only reason you’re learning Japanese is to watch anime or read manga. And while I will admit that was my initial reasons, I now have a very close Japanese friend who I want to converse with more in Japanese than in English.
    So like, did you ever have trouble with this? I’m sure everyone at some point has encountered someone telling them they wn’t succeed, but these people are just monsters. I wouldn’t want to end up on the weeaboo stories tumblr with an exaggerated story about how I was trying to convince everyone I know Japanese if I just tell someone I’m trying to learn it. (because I know a lot of those stories are exaggerated augh)

  • Eri

    Sounds like you were hardcore even before you decided to learn the language! I somewhat was as well because I pretty much only listened to Japanese music @.@ The only thing is that a person like you, who loves Japan and isn’t afraid to show it, is often labeled a ‘weeaboo’ by other people. I often don’t tell anime fans that I’m learning Japanese because this is what’ll happen. They’ll just say ‘pfff weeaboo, you’ll never actually learn it’. They automatically assume that the only reason you’re learning Japanese is to watch anime or read manga. And while I will admit that was my initial reasons, I now have a very close Japanese friend who I want to converse with more in Japanese than in English.
    So like, did you ever have trouble with this? I’m sure everyone at some point has encountered someone telling them they wn’t succeed, but these people are just monsters. I wouldn’t want to end up on the weeaboo stories tumblr with an exaggerated story about how I was trying to convince everyone I know Japanese if I just tell someone I’m trying to learn it. (because I know a lot of those stories are exaggerated augh)

  • Eri

    Sounds like you were hardcore even before you decided to learn the language! I somewhat was as well because I pretty much only listened to Japanese music @.@ The only thing is that a person like you, who loves Japan and isn’t afraid to show it, is often labeled a ‘weeaboo’ by other people. I often don’t tell anime fans that I’m learning Japanese because this is what’ll happen. They’ll just say ‘pfff weeaboo, you’ll never actually learn it’. They automatically assume that the only reason you’re learning Japanese is to watch anime or read manga. And while I will admit that was my initial reasons, I now have a very close Japanese friend who I want to converse with more in Japanese than in English.
    So like, did you ever have trouble with this? I’m sure everyone at some point has encountered someone telling them they wn’t succeed, but these people are just monsters. I wouldn’t want to end up on the weeaboo stories tumblr with an exaggerated story about how I was trying to convince everyone I know Japanese if I just tell someone I’m trying to learn it. (because I know a lot of those stories are exaggerated augh)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620908571 Katie Senn

      I’m not Mars, but you should definitely keep going for it!  Anyone who judges you like that so quickly definitely has not had enough time to figure out whether that’s true of you or not.  Don’t give up on something that’s important to you.  I believe you can do it.  And whatever reasons you have for learning a language, if they motivate you to do so, are valid.  (You don’t strike me as being weeaboo in the least, btw)  Wherever your passions begin to take hold, keep going!  Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, and you’ve already expanded your reasons beyond what they were when you started.  Why turn down a chance to do something that makes you happy and could enrich your life in surprising ways because of a few idiots?
      じゃあ、がんばって、エリさん。きっと出来るわ~

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620908571 Katie Senn

      I’m not Mars, but you should definitely keep going for it!  Anyone who judges you like that so quickly definitely has not had enough time to figure out whether that’s true of you or not.  Don’t give up on something that’s important to you.  I believe you can do it.  And whatever reasons you have for learning a language, if they motivate you to do so, are valid.  (You don’t strike me as being weeaboo in the least, btw)  Wherever your passions begin to take hold, keep going!  Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, and you’ve already expanded your reasons beyond what they were when you started.  Why turn down a chance to do something that makes you happy and could enrich your life in surprising ways because of a few idiots?
      じゃあ、がんばって、エリさん。きっと出来るわ~

      • Tomos Burton

        I briefly had that happen to me a long time ago. And I was just making YouTube poops of Kamen Rider Kabuto, which isn’t even that weaboo-ish. I also used to be on JapanForum, where they thought that word was acceptable, but if anyone say made an AMV they said it was ”unethical”. I was also once accused of lying about having been there. Needless to say I don’t go on there any more. Yeah, I think people that use that word are nothing more than internet trolls.

  • Eri

    Sounds like you were hardcore even before you decided to learn the language! I somewhat was as well because I pretty much only listened to Japanese music @.@ The only thing is that a person like you, who loves Japan and isn’t afraid to show it, is often labeled a ‘weeaboo’ by other people. I often don’t tell anime fans that I’m learning Japanese because this is what’ll happen. They’ll just say ‘pfff weeaboo, you’ll never actually learn it’. They automatically assume that the only reason you’re learning Japanese is to watch anime or read manga. And while I will admit that was my initial reasons, I now have a very close Japanese friend who I want to converse with more in Japanese than in English.
    So like, did you ever have trouble with this? I’m sure everyone at some point has encountered someone telling them they wn’t succeed, but these people are just monsters. I wouldn’t want to end up on the weeaboo stories tumblr with an exaggerated story about how I was trying to convince everyone I know Japanese if I just tell someone I’m trying to learn it. (because I know a lot of those stories are exaggerated augh)

  • Eri

    Sounds like you were hardcore even before you decided to learn the language! I somewhat was as well because I pretty much only listened to Japanese music @.@ The only thing is that a person like you, who loves Japan and isn’t afraid to show it, is often labeled a ‘weeaboo’ by other people. I often don’t tell anime fans that I’m learning Japanese because this is what’ll happen. They’ll just say ‘pfff weeaboo, you’ll never actually learn it’. They automatically assume that the only reason you’re learning Japanese is to watch anime or read manga. And while I will admit that was my initial reasons, I now have a very close Japanese friend who I want to converse with more in Japanese than in English.
    So like, did you ever have trouble with this? I’m sure everyone at some point has encountered someone telling them they wn’t succeed, but these people are just monsters. I wouldn’t want to end up on the weeaboo stories tumblr with an exaggerated story about how I was trying to convince everyone I know Japanese if I just tell someone I’m trying to learn it. (because I know a lot of those stories are exaggerated augh)

  • Eri

    Sounds like you were hardcore even before you decided to learn the language! I somewhat was as well because I pretty much only listened to Japanese music @.@ The only thing is that a person like you, who loves Japan and isn’t afraid to show it, is often labeled a ‘weeaboo’ by other people. I often don’t tell anime fans that I’m learning Japanese because this is what’ll happen. They’ll just say ‘pfff weeaboo, you’ll never actually learn it’. They automatically assume that the only reason you’re learning Japanese is to watch anime or read manga. And while I will admit that was my initial reasons, I now have a very close Japanese friend who I want to converse with more in Japanese than in English.
    So like, did you ever have trouble with this? I’m sure everyone at some point has encountered someone telling them they wn’t succeed, but these people are just monsters. I wouldn’t want to end up on the weeaboo stories tumblr with an exaggerated story about how I was trying to convince everyone I know Japanese if I just tell someone I’m trying to learn it. (because I know a lot of those stories are exaggerated augh)

  • Eri

    Sounds like you were hardcore even before you decided to learn the language! I somewhat was as well because I pretty much only listened to Japanese music @.@ The only thing is that a person like you, who loves Japan and isn’t afraid to show it, is often labeled a ‘weeaboo’ by other people. I often don’t tell anime fans that I’m learning Japanese because this is what’ll happen. They’ll just say ‘pfff weeaboo, you’ll never actually learn it’. They automatically assume that the only reason you’re learning Japanese is to watch anime or read manga. And while I will admit that was my initial reasons, I now have a very close Japanese friend who I want to converse with more in Japanese than in English.
    So like, did you ever have trouble with this? I’m sure everyone at some point has encountered someone telling them they wn’t succeed, but these people are just monsters. I wouldn’t want to end up on the weeaboo stories tumblr with an exaggerated story about how I was trying to convince everyone I know Japanese if I just tell someone I’m trying to learn it. (because I know a lot of those stories are exaggerated augh)

  • Eri

    Sounds like you were hardcore even before you decided to learn the language! I somewhat was as well because I pretty much only listened to Japanese music @.@ The only thing is that a person like you, who loves Japan and isn’t afraid to show it, is often labeled a ‘weeaboo’ by other people. I often don’t tell anime fans that I’m learning Japanese because this is what’ll happen. They’ll just say ‘pfff weeaboo, you’ll never actually learn it’. They automatically assume that the only reason you’re learning Japanese is to watch anime or read manga. And while I will admit that was my initial reasons, I now have a very close Japanese friend who I want to converse with more in Japanese than in English.
    So like, did you ever have trouble with this? I’m sure everyone at some point has encountered someone telling them they wn’t succeed, but these people are just monsters. I wouldn’t want to end up on the weeaboo stories tumblr with an exaggerated story about how I was trying to convince everyone I know Japanese if I just tell someone I’m trying to learn it. (because I know a lot of those stories are exaggerated augh)

  • Eri

    Sounds like you were hardcore even before you decided to learn the language! I somewhat was as well because I pretty much only listened to Japanese music @.@ The only thing is that a person like you, who loves Japan and isn’t afraid to show it, is often labeled a ‘weeaboo’ by other people. I often don’t tell anime fans that I’m learning Japanese because this is what’ll happen. They’ll just say ‘pfff weeaboo, you’ll never actually learn it’. They automatically assume that the only reason you’re learning Japanese is to watch anime or read manga. And while I will admit that was my initial reasons, I now have a very close Japanese friend who I want to converse with more in Japanese than in English.
    So like, did you ever have trouble with this? I’m sure everyone at some point has encountered someone telling them they wn’t succeed, but these people are just monsters. I wouldn’t want to end up on the weeaboo stories tumblr with an exaggerated story about how I was trying to convince everyone I know Japanese if I just tell someone I’m trying to learn it. (because I know a lot of those stories are exaggerated augh)

  • Cannovan

    Hey Mars
     
    Sounds a bit like the AJATT method – apart from the 1000 most used words in Japanese, but I like the sound of that…..

    Love the images

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Yeah, I got heavily influenced by that. 
      It’s a great system.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Yeah, I got heavily influenced by that. 
      It’s a great system.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Yeah, I got heavily influenced by that. 
      It’s a great system.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Yeah, I got heavily influenced by that. 
      It’s a great system.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Yeah, I got heavily influenced by that. 
      It’s a great system.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Yeah, I got heavily influenced by that. 
      It’s a great system.

  • Cannovan

    Hey Mars
     
    Sounds a bit like the AJATT method – apart from the 1000 most used words in Japanese, but I like the sound of that…..

    Love the images

  • Cannovan

    Hey Mars
     
    Sounds a bit like the AJATT method – apart from the 1000 most used words in Japanese, but I like the sound of that…..

    Love the images

  • Cannovan

    Hey Mars
     
    Sounds a bit like the AJATT method – apart from the 1000 most used words in Japanese, but I like the sound of that…..

    Love the images

  • Cannovan

    Hey Mars
     
    Sounds a bit like the AJATT method – apart from the 1000 most used words in Japanese, but I like the sound of that…..

    Love the images

  • Cannovan

    Hey Mars
     
    Sounds a bit like the AJATT method – apart from the 1000 most used words in Japanese, but I like the sound of that…..

    Love the images

  • Cannovan

    Hey Mars
     
    Sounds a bit like the AJATT method – apart from the 1000 most used words in Japanese, but I like the sound of that…..

    Love the images

  • Cannovan

    Hey Mars
     
    Sounds a bit like the AJATT method – apart from the 1000 most used words in Japanese, but I like the sound of that…..

    Love the images

  • Cannovan

    Hey Mars
     
    Sounds a bit like the AJATT method – apart from the 1000 most used words in Japanese, but I like the sound of that…..

    Love the images

  • http://midlifesinglemum.blogspot.com Midlife Singlemum

    I admire your single-minded determination. The first requirement when approaching a new language is to have the right motivation. This was a big part of your success i think.

  • Cannovan

    Mars – can you recommend a website that provides a list of the 1000 most common japanese words? Possibly with kanji/hiragana/katakana – pronunciation – english translation

    • KB

      Google ‘Japanese Core 2000′. It’s the list most people seem to use. If you use Anki (SRS software) you can also find it in the ‘shared decks’ list. 

    • KB

      Google ‘Japanese Core 2000′. It’s the list most people seem to use. If you use Anki (SRS software) you can also find it in the ‘shared decks’ list. 

    • KB

      Google ‘Japanese Core 2000′. It’s the list most people seem to use. If you use Anki (SRS software) you can also find it in the ‘shared decks’ list. 

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      yeah, download the free flashcard system Anki http://ankisrs.net/
      From there, you can download many free language decks (including those 1000-2000 Japanese words)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      yeah, download the free flashcard system Anki http://ankisrs.net/
      From there, you can download many free language decks (including those 1000-2000 Japanese words)

  • Cannovan

    Mars – can you recommend a website that provides a list of the 1000 most common japanese words? Possibly with kanji/hiragana/katakana – pronunciation – english translation

  • Cannovan

    Mars – can you recommend a website that provides a list of the 1000 most common japanese words? Possibly with kanji/hiragana/katakana – pronunciation – english translation

  • Cannovan

    Mars – can you recommend a website that provides a list of the 1000 most common japanese words? Possibly with kanji/hiragana/katakana – pronunciation – english translation

  • Cannovan

    Mars – can you recommend a website that provides a list of the 1000 most common japanese words? Possibly with kanji/hiragana/katakana – pronunciation – english translation

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    don’t worry – it’s never too late ;)

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    haha, luv the Dutch immersion – you should do it more often it’s truly helpful if done on a consistant basis. 

    And yeah, I don’t read that many text books – it was more a full media assault on all on my senses. Really make it FUN for you to learn that language.
    Everything that’s feels like a drag won’t help you get better – the more fun the faster you learn.

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    haha, luv the Dutch immersion – you should do it more often it’s truly helpful if done on a consistant basis. 

    And yeah, I don’t read that many text books – it was more a full media assault on all on my senses. Really make it FUN for you to learn that language.
    Everything that’s feels like a drag won’t help you get better – the more fun the faster you learn.

  • http://twitter.com/JetLagPato Patrick Taylor

    Very fun article. I’m gonna share with others. Immersion learning is ideal, but it isn’t easy, that’s for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/JetLagPato Patrick Taylor

    Very fun article. I’m gonna share with others. Immersion learning is ideal, but it isn’t easy, that’s for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/JetLagPato Patrick Taylor

    Very fun article. I’m gonna share with others. Immersion learning is ideal, but it isn’t easy, that’s for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/JetLagPato Patrick Taylor

    Very fun article. I’m gonna share with others. Immersion learning is ideal, but it isn’t easy, that’s for sure.

  • http://yetanotherlanguage.blogspot.com/ Crno Srce

    Nice drawings!

    Immersion works a lot better when you’re either single, or your partner speaks your target language. My wife gets annoyed sometimes if I listen to German radio through my headphones! I suspect there aren’t many partners who would be keen on total immersion if they weren’t involved as well. My advice – try this approach before you get in a long-term relationship!

    One other note is just that perhaps the “top 1000 words” idea works better for some languages than others. As an example, I once downloaded a list of the 1000 most frequent German words, and quickly realised that it may not be that useful :-) I did know all the very basic words, so that’s one reason, but also, on a purely lexical basis “der” appears with high frequency, as does “zu”, but you can’t just look them up and then say “ahah! now I know these words, therefore I understand the sentence!”. Also, there is a well noted inverse relationship between word-frequency and semantic contribution to a sentence, which means you might have fantastic recognition of 80% of the vocabulary, and still have absolutely no idea of what is being discussed. Still, it’s a bad idea for a place to start off with building a vocabulary…

  • http://yetanotherlanguage.blogspot.com/ Crno Srce

    Nice drawings!

    Immersion works a lot better when you’re either single, or your partner speaks your target language. My wife gets annoyed sometimes if I listen to German radio through my headphones! I suspect there aren’t many partners who would be keen on total immersion if they weren’t involved as well. My advice – try this approach before you get in a long-term relationship!

    One other note is just that perhaps the “top 1000 words” idea works better for some languages than others. As an example, I once downloaded a list of the 1000 most frequent German words, and quickly realised that it may not be that useful :-) I did know all the very basic words, so that’s one reason, but also, on a purely lexical basis “der” appears with high frequency, as does “zu”, but you can’t just look them up and then say “ahah! now I know these words, therefore I understand the sentence!”. Also, there is a well noted inverse relationship between word-frequency and semantic contribution to a sentence, which means you might have fantastic recognition of 80% of the vocabulary, and still have absolutely no idea of what is being discussed. Still, it’s a bad idea for a place to start off with building a vocabulary…

    • http://yetanotherlanguage.blogspot.com/ Crno Srce

      Sorry – correction. That last sentence should be “Still, it’s NOT a bad idea for a place to start…”

      oops…

  • http://yetanotherlanguage.blogspot.com/ Crno Srce

    Nice drawings!

    Immersion works a lot better when you’re either single, or your partner speaks your target language. My wife gets annoyed sometimes if I listen to German radio through my headphones! I suspect there aren’t many partners who would be keen on total immersion if they weren’t involved as well. My advice – try this approach before you get in a long-term relationship!

    One other note is just that perhaps the “top 1000 words” idea works better for some languages than others. As an example, I once downloaded a list of the 1000 most frequent German words, and quickly realised that it may not be that useful :-) I did know all the very basic words, so that’s one reason, but also, on a purely lexical basis “der” appears with high frequency, as does “zu”, but you can’t just look them up and then say “ahah! now I know these words, therefore I understand the sentence!”. Also, there is a well noted inverse relationship between word-frequency and semantic contribution to a sentence, which means you might have fantastic recognition of 80% of the vocabulary, and still have absolutely no idea of what is being discussed. Still, it’s a bad idea for a place to start off with building a vocabulary…

  • http://yetanotherlanguage.blogspot.com/ Crno Srce

    Nice drawings!

    Immersion works a lot better when you’re either single, or your partner speaks your target language. My wife gets annoyed sometimes if I listen to German radio through my headphones! I suspect there aren’t many partners who would be keen on total immersion if they weren’t involved as well. My advice – try this approach before you get in a long-term relationship!

    One other note is just that perhaps the “top 1000 words” idea works better for some languages than others. As an example, I once downloaded a list of the 1000 most frequent German words, and quickly realised that it may not be that useful :-) I did know all the very basic words, so that’s one reason, but also, on a purely lexical basis “der” appears with high frequency, as does “zu”, but you can’t just look them up and then say “ahah! now I know these words, therefore I understand the sentence!”. Also, there is a well noted inverse relationship between word-frequency and semantic contribution to a sentence, which means you might have fantastic recognition of 80% of the vocabulary, and still have absolutely no idea of what is being discussed. Still, it’s a bad idea for a place to start off with building a vocabulary…

  • http://yetanotherlanguage.blogspot.com/ Crno Srce

    Nice drawings!

    Immersion works a lot better when you’re either single, or your partner speaks your target language. My wife gets annoyed sometimes if I listen to German radio through my headphones! I suspect there aren’t many partners who would be keen on total immersion if they weren’t involved as well. My advice – try this approach before you get in a long-term relationship!

    One other note is just that perhaps the “top 1000 words” idea works better for some languages than others. As an example, I once downloaded a list of the 1000 most frequent German words, and quickly realised that it may not be that useful :-) I did know all the very basic words, so that’s one reason, but also, on a purely lexical basis “der” appears with high frequency, as does “zu”, but you can’t just look them up and then say “ahah! now I know these words, therefore I understand the sentence!”. Also, there is a well noted inverse relationship between word-frequency and semantic contribution to a sentence, which means you might have fantastic recognition of 80% of the vocabulary, and still have absolutely no idea of what is being discussed. Still, it’s a bad idea for a place to start off with building a vocabulary…

  • http://yetanotherlanguage.blogspot.com/ Crno Srce

    Nice drawings!

    Immersion works a lot better when you’re either single, or your partner speaks your target language. My wife gets annoyed sometimes if I listen to German radio through my headphones! I suspect there aren’t many partners who would be keen on total immersion if they weren’t involved as well. My advice – try this approach before you get in a long-term relationship!

    One other note is just that perhaps the “top 1000 words” idea works better for some languages than others. As an example, I once downloaded a list of the 1000 most frequent German words, and quickly realised that it may not be that useful :-) I did know all the very basic words, so that’s one reason, but also, on a purely lexical basis “der” appears with high frequency, as does “zu”, but you can’t just look them up and then say “ahah! now I know these words, therefore I understand the sentence!”. Also, there is a well noted inverse relationship between word-frequency and semantic contribution to a sentence, which means you might have fantastic recognition of 80% of the vocabulary, and still have absolutely no idea of what is being discussed. Still, it’s a bad idea for a place to start off with building a vocabulary…

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    Fantastic article, I completely agree with you about the total immersion bit and especially on focusing on the most frequently used words when you’re first starting out (as you said, learning those in the first couple of weeks will help IMMENSELY because it allows you to immediately understand most of what you hear, a huge confidence boost and springboard to learning that other 20%) and have actually written up something about that (it uses Spanish as the example but applies to all languages) and included an awesome study and frequency list for anyone interested: How Many Words Do You Need to Know in Spanish (or any other foreign language)? And WHICH Words Should You Be Learning?

    Hope you find that helpful, and congrats on your success, Japanese is high on my list of languages to learn, I’ve actually studied it a bit already and think I’m going to go back to it after I learn French (which is next, I’m still working on Spanish at the moment).

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    Fantastic article, I completely agree with you about the total immersion bit and especially on focusing on the most frequently used words when you’re first starting out (as you said, learning those in the first couple of weeks will help IMMENSELY because it allows you to immediately understand most of what you hear, a huge confidence boost and springboard to learning that other 20%) and have actually written up something about that (it uses Spanish as the example but applies to all languages) and included an awesome study and frequency list for anyone interested: How Many Words Do You Need to Know in Spanish (or any other foreign language)? And WHICH Words Should You Be Learning?

    Hope you find that helpful, and congrats on your success, Japanese is high on my list of languages to learn, I’ve actually studied it a bit already and think I’m going to go back to it after I learn French (which is next, I’m still working on Spanish at the moment).

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  • http://twitter.com/ichigoichielove Lisa W

    Quite possibly the best summarized version of how to learn Japanese EVER. I completely agree with all of the above… and I’m glad he added the disclaimer (re pretending to be Japanese) about not being creepy, just a learning aid. Made my laugh. ^^)/

  • 11tatic

    Help me! I am going to have an interview for a senior high school entrance examination. What are those 1,000 words? I haven`t had friends yet.

  • Yuki

    Konichiwa Mars :)) Thanks for doing this article :D

    To be honest I already immerse myself in Japanese stuff, I love JRock, sushi, anime and manga xD I’m blaming my Mum for my obsession, she named me. I’m sure you know what my name means don’t you?

    I’m going to seriously try and memorize those 1000 words of Japanese, I think I probably know about 50? :/ FIGHTING! :3

    Arigato again Mars-Kun! Boku wa anata no zumen o aisuru! If you know a website that helps in speaking Japanese let me know (it would help if I didn’t need to download anything). SAYONARA :0

  • Nova

    So I was wondering what books are best for learning japanese fast?

    I want to speak and learn hiragana also kanji.

    Do anyone know any books that are good? please give me a link to buy it online >w<

    My goal is to learn japanese in a year :P

    Also how many hours should I spend on learning japanese?

  • De’Zsa

    I’m hoping to become fluent in Japanese by the time I reach college (I’m 16 at the moment). Reading your post just makes me want…all of Japan so much. I haven’t started learning the words yet because I’m learning the characters first (I find it much easier for me), then that’s when I’ll learn the grammar and just…submerge myself into the Japanese mind and lifestyle. I’ve loved Japan since I was young and I just wish I knew what to do sooner. Erggghhhh! Thank you for this! O(^.^)O

  • fuck weeabos

    You are a pathetic weeabo faggot.

  • cbaughn

    What do you think about learning two languages at once? I’m learning Japanese in school and watching shows/reading manga outside of class, but I’m learning Spanish outside of class as well. How would you suggest balancing the two?

  • http://alwaysnintendo.com/ Jelani Thompson

    Nice article man :D