Learning Japanese #1

Learning JapaneseBy ‘learning’ I mean trying!

For months after giving up on learning Mandarin last year, I felt the need to do something else. Something new.

I considered my options. Pottery was still out of the question after having failed miserably before and realising that I am not a very creative person when it comes to clay. None of the expat courses sounded appealing enough. Sure, I could try one or two afternoons of something but I wanted something I could sink my teeth into and do over the long term. Husband suggested picking up a new sport but I am already busy enough with hiking, tennis and yoga. I felt a need to sit down with books and wanted something that I had to do everyday. I wanted some homework and studying time. I missed it. Last November I dabbled in a little Japanese. Nothing serious as I was too busy going or coming back to Hong Kong. The New Year came and I was too scared to put down any New Year resolutions but in the back of my mind I felt that I was ok with spending more time studying Japanese. I missed travelling in Japan and thought that it would be good to have some basic of Japanese before our next. Now I have been doing it regularly for a few weeks and thought that announcing it here will make it official and make it harder for me to give up on another Asian language.

What I have been doing so far?

First I went to the language forums and blogs to read people’s experiences with learning Japanese and then made a plan.

I started slowly by learning Hiragana (basic Japanese phonetic script). I downloaded a free book Hiragana42 for basic Hiragana and practiced with the iKana iPhone app. It’s a great app to play with on the go and just 38hkd.

After Hiragana I moved to Katakana and took my time with James Heisig’s Remembering the Kana. I wanted to be able to read it fluently. Luckily, there are lots of exercises online to practice reading and writing.

Next step? I will be ‘on the road’ for the almost six weeks, but will try to listen to Pimsleur’s Japanese lessons while trying not to forget Kana. Real studying starts when I’m back after in March.

Hopefully, I will be able to order a bowl of ramen or two next time we visit Japan.

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