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The Secret to Learning Japanese


We’ve all met them. The people that seem to speak Japanese easily and read and write kanji. They handle daily activities like making important phone calls easily and don’t seem to get nervous about making mistakes. The student in your class who just seems to “get it” quicker than everyone else. Obviously, they must know something that you don’t. There must be some secret to learning Japanese that is allowing them to learn quicker than you. So what’s the secret?

Simply put, “the secret” (if it can be called that) is hard work, diligence, and lots of exposure.

There is no short cut to learning Japanese. To get fluent in Japanese you need to spend time to memorize the words and structures well and then use them repeatedly.

There are however, some common habits with those who learn Japanese faster and become better Japanese speakers than others. The great thing is that all of these habits can easily be copied.

  • They study often and on a regular basis
  • Enjoy their study time
  • They go out of their way to find ways to use their Japanese
  • Aren’t afraid to make mistakes
  • Surround themselves with the Japanese language

Finding ways to use your Japanese is very important. It not only gives you practice, but helps you learn if the materials you are using are relevant or not. The people who did the best in my Japanese classes in college were not limiting themselves to the slightly outdated material in the textbooks. They watched movies in Japanese and chatted with friends on messenger in Japanese as well. This helped them learn a lot of common Japanese phrases they could use in everyday situations.

So now you know the secret (or lack there of) to learn Japanese. Put the above methods to work and improve your Japanese!