How I Effectively Learned Japanese Language
When I applied to be a JPEPA candidate in the Philippines, I wasn’t sure if I would make it because, First, I had a zero Japanese language ability and, Second, there were a lot of applicants who were very much able.
(Check here how I passed the interview to be shortlisted as one of the jpepa’s)
To make the long story short, after the thorough recruitment process I was shortlisted as one of the candidates who were granted the opportunity to learn the language for free.
I realized that during the first stages of learning Japanese, aside from the presence of Japanese teachers, a Filipino instructor or someone who could explain properly or in English was vital. But I think the most important factor that helped me through all of this was my strong interest to learn Japanese and all things about Japan. Before, I was just day dreaming how would I feel if I could read, write and speak Japanese fluently, would it not be a great asset.
HOW I MANAGED TO LEARN NEW LANGUAGE
Always look forward for the new lessons, new expressions and new study materials you’ll receive or learn from Japanese teachers. Think how far you can go if you try to push your self outside of your limits. It will bring you somewhere you never imagined you’ll be.
“You got to think “big things” while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction” (Alvin Toffler)
After your class, in whatever you do try to incorporate the new words or phrases you learned. Don’t just practice inside your mind but speak out! Use your voice and release your thoughts into words. Make a mistake, though it may sound silly and pointless, one day you’ll realize few years ago it seemed impossible for you to give simple directions.
You’ll then thank your senselessness.
There are many temptations and drawbacks in every corners of studying new language and working with people different from your own culture. Out of focus, some gave up. Those who remained were the people who were not strayed by the mentioned factors. Once in a while you will fall short but always have faith and～
“look beyond the immediate and see the big picture-J.Maxwell.”
As mentioned, when you make mistake you learn from them. But, what do you do when you already succeeded? Rest? No, celebrate your wins but keep learning because an achievement is just another step to develop to the next stage. There is no ending in learning a language. And there is no single right-perfect way to do it, discover your strengths and associate it with your study habits. Are you more likely motivated learning in a group or alone? Explore.
⇒Start from the bottom, like how a preschool Japanese kid starts to learn the language. Start memorizing the Hiragana and Katakana alphabet [I practiced by writing each letter hundred times, it was effective for me because I am visual and kinetic type of learner]. For the pronunciation, practice it loud. Filipino articulates Japanese words very well. Because of the similarity of Japanese sounds to Filipino alphabet [A, Ba,Ka,Da] type of pronunciation.
⇒Then followed by the basic Kanji (chinese characters), try to memorize 10 Kanji a day. Aside from countless times of memorizing and practicing how to write every single Kanji, each Kanji have multiple readings but reserve that for later.
/as Spice Girls said `too much of something is bad enough’/.
⇒Next is memorize 10 ～ 20 Japanese words daily. Again, use your strengths to drive your mind and body to process new words. Do you enjoy writing, listening or visualizing. [One of the tricks I did is to voice record each words using my ipod]
⇒If you have smartphone, download hundreds of free applications that are very useful while learning Japanese. Some apps also supports JLPT N5 ～N1 study. [One app that I have been using forever is the Imiwa ]
⇒Watch Japanese Tv shows or movies. [Trivia: I was inspired to learn Japanese and its culture when I was hooked into watching a youtube video of a family living in Japan. The transnational couple taught their daughter two languages simultaneously.]
⇒Engage into conversation or small talk with your Japanese teachers or Japanese volunteers. Don’t be anxious, they find it cute and funny when a foreigner speaks broken Japanese language. [Did you know that Japanese are impressed that most of the Filipinos can speak English?]
⇒Learn from your seniors, don’t be reluctant to ask for a help. [During the early stage of studying the language; I was hopeless, especially during the times when we needed to form a sentence or make a written explanation in Japanese, because it was really difficult. Nevertheless, I reached out to the people who already have Japanese language background].
⇒Determine study habit that works best for you. If your brain works when information enters through your eyes, then you might want to create interesting visual aids or flashcards that you can carry all the time. There are a lot of effective ways to study smart.
⇒Develop a study time table and follow it as much as possible. Ascertain the best hours that your brain is at work most of the time. [Like for me, I am a night person, thus staying until wee hours works well for me.] Other people find it more effective to wake up early and study.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional Japanese language teacher. The content of this post is based on my years of learning the language in the training center, school and here in Japan. No material owned by someone has been copied or linked in this post.