I’ve been studying Japanese for the better part of a decade now. I enjoy it a lot and encourage a lot of people to do so, too. Learning Japanese has helped me understand the culture a lot more. Most Japanese people, especially the non-English speakers, tend to share more about their customs and traditions when they see someone is showing enough interest in their language.
A lot of people ask me how I study Japanese. Some think I was an exchange student, but this isn’t true. I also have never enrolled in a Japanese language school here in Japan. Unbelievable as it may sound, I’ve always studied by myself at home, with my Japanese books. No one at work knew I spoke, read, wrote or understood Japanese for a really long time, except the secretaries who I often chatted with. I didn’t speak with them to improve my language skills, however. I watched anime and copied female characters’ intonations. I don’t claim to speak like a native, but a lot of people have started to doubt that I am a foreigner. Studying Japanese may seem daunting in the beginning, with all the grammar patterns, mnemonic words and the 2000 or so basic kanji, but then if I was able to do it, I’m sure a lot of you out there can, too!
For people interested in the language, there are links on my page and occasionally I will put out lesson blogs in Japanese. To view the characters properly, however, you will need to set your browser to Unicode UTF-8 which can be found in the View menu, under Character Encoding.