I see Japanese simply as matching sounds and letters together
I began learning Japanese when I was ten years old, during my research for my 5th grade “Million Dollar” math project. In this project, we had to create a detailed budget concerning what we would do with $1,000,000.
I always knew I wanted to travel so, I considered a luxury trip. Seeing as how it was the year 2000 at the time, I was very interested in anime (as most kids were) as it had become very popular in the US. So I decided to go there. I did my research, did very well on the project and got an A.
I then figured that if I were to actually go to the country, I would need to learn the language. So I began teaching myself at first with books and tapes, then briefly went to Berlitz, before going to Hoshuukou (Japanese Language Weekend School of New Jersey) for three years. I continued through high school (while taking French at the same time) and declared it as a major in college.
The language itself wasn’t too difficult–I see it simply as matching sounds and letters together, lots of practice and having no fear in making mistakes. Also watching dramas and finding other people who shared the same interests as I did helped a lot.
Some of our customers always request their favorite topics, then discuss them with enthusiasm. I think it’s very good practice to use your second language during these discussions, as your words become more powerful when you have fun.
by Thalia (USA)
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