In late June, the Japanese government passed a new law under which central and municipal governments are to be held responsible for the promotion of Japanese-language education for foreign residents. In theory, this law would bring forth comprehensive measures that would guarantee expats, blue-collar workers, exchange students and refugees language education, no matter their level and schedule. How it’ll be practiced will depend on many other factors, notably funding and personnel. In the meantime, the Diet encouraged companies to offer Japenese-language courses to their foreign employees, ensuring a fully immersive work environment.
If you’re coming from a Latin or German language, Asian languages are particularly difficult and take years to master. It’s not uncommon that those who’ve studied Japanese in their home country arrive at Narita or Haneda airport only to realize that there’s more to say than, “sugoi desu ne.”
Living in Japan certainly helps; you pick things up, you learn new words and kanji. But if you’re to become comfortable in Japanese, there’s not much that helps besides the obvious: hitting the books.
This news has inspired me to dive back into studying, which meant sacrificing my favorite mobile games only to replace them with various studying apps. There are, of course, more studying opportunities outside of our phones. Here are few with the TW stamp of approval:
If you’re starting out or simply want to revisit the basics of the Japanese language, you can’t go wrong with more conventional methods. If you’ve got a wobbly foundation, nothing you study late will stick or make sense. Set yourself up for success.
For intermediate or advanced learners, otsukaresamadesu. You’ve made it this far. But the Japanese language is always evolving, and there’s always more to learn. Do you feel ready to tackle niche subject matter with a more creative approach?
If you’re a busy bee, movies and Japanese television series are a great, casual way to pick up some new vocabulary. It might take a little bit of time to get used to, but it’s easy to indulge in an episode or two when you get home from work.
When you aren’t learning new words, learn body language! It can save you when you spend too much time thinking about the correct expression, and isn’t all too hard to mess up once you learn it (and even that takes no time at all).