Have you ever taken a language class in middle or high school? Bored! As adults, now that we are no longer in the “school culture,” we legitimately refuse boring instruction. Everything we learn now has to be immediately useful or fun, including learning Japanese.
If you are an adult beginner in Japanese, fun is absolutely necessary unless your life depends on learning the language. Japanese is one of the hardest languages to learn, and if it’s not fun, you just won’t. It is not because he lacks discipline; Even if you’re the persistent type, boredom isn’t worth it, not when so many other people and activities demand your time.
Fortunately, there are many more options for learning Japanese than Pimsleur’s standard language classes or dry, but effective, audio program. There are several multimedia courses available that give you a more engaging and fun learning experience. Teaching styles are practical; The lessons are designed to keep you focused and progressing well, not boring you in a stupor.
Many of the Japanese programs combine various learning styles: visual, listening, reading / writing, and practical, helping you to enjoy the learning process and to progress more quickly in fluency. In addition to the traditional audio component, there are also videos, animations, and games to keep you interested and focused on your goal. This is especially useful when you want to learn kanji and kana, as rote memorization can be deadly.
With the rise of Skype and video conferencing, you can also receive individual lessons online. For many people, personal attention, encouragement, and interaction with a real person are more fun than any self-study course or group class. Personal lessons have the added benefit of being with a native speaker, so you can learn about interesting aspects of Japanese culture from a primary source.
Some people cannot have fun without the stimulation of a group setting. If this is you, don’t despair; Learning Japanese doesn’t have to be a lonely experience, even if the only way to learn is with flexible home study programs. Many of the courses have built-in online communities so you can socialize with other Japanese learners. Some are as simple as forums, but some have more sophisticated ways of interacting in real time, such as virtual worlds and video chat. If you don’t like spending so much time on the computer, you can always find a group of real people to hang out with. Look on Meetup.com or ask Craigslist if there are any Japanese language and culture groups. If there aren’t any, you can always start one.
Finally, if you haven’t already, try watching anime without the subtitles. It is educational, it really is! Anime is not just for children, although it is animated; there are many series for children, but also many aimed at an adult audience. To find anime, I recommend renting them on Netflix. There are many complete series on DVD, and you can find ratings and recommendations from other people with similar tastes.
Whatever you do, find ways to have fun while you learn. Keep boosting your creativity. Whether you want to go to Japan for pleasure, have to learn the language for your work, or just want to watch Japanese shows without subtitles, the more fun it is to learn, the faster you will become proficient.