Sunday, November 25, 2007


I've been studying since the beginning of the Summer 2005. After learning that I'd be going to Japan come September (Matsuyama, Ehime), I decided to take an intensive course at the University of Washington during Summer quarter. Knowing nothing about the language, I quickly became lost amongst the throngs of students who already had some idea of what they were doing.

After the class, I had a lot of knowledge and vocab in my head, but still didn't know how it all fit together. In my 7 months of living abroad I was able to come to a greater understanding of how Japanese worked. I got to start learning Japanese from scratch at Ehime University, an opportunity which let me fill in the gaps of my Japanese foundation.

Living in a homestay situation helped a lot, as I was able to use Japanese as much as I wanted. My level of knowledge was in the "dangerous" category during this period of time. I knew enough to ask questions, but generally only understood 5-10% of the response. Not only that, but I didn't know how to communicate my predicament too well, aside from the all encompassing "Wakarimasen".

Upon returning, my Japanese quickly fell into disuse. I went several months without any sort of studying, and it wasn't until the end of 2006 that I began to take an interest in it again. I started attending a 2 hour class each week, and began studying from the textbooks that I had used while in Japan. Eventually I got a private tutor via Craigslist, and have been studying with her once a week. At this point I can communicate basic concepts pretty well, I have a fair grasp of several of the verb conjugations and the vocabulary that a first year student should know. My kanji ability is awful, however, and I'm struggling to bring it up to speed. My hope is to return to Japan during 2008, however I have no solid plans on how that will work out yet.

My plan with this blog is to explain my struggle to learn Japanese. There will probably be a lot of complaining, and a lot of misunderstandings. Hopefully people reading this will be able to learn from it.

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