There are many reasons why you might want to learn Japanese. Whether you decide to learn for pleasure, personal interest, or business reasons, studying Japanese can be both fun and challenging.
Many people choose to learn Japanese because they are interested in the culture of Japan. Some people just love to learn languages. Perhaps one of the most practical reasons to learn Japanese is to expand your business opportunities. In today’s word, East Asian language translators are in high demand. Many companies want to expand to other countries, and more often than not, some of the countries they wish to establish a foothold in are in Asia. Japanese is quickly becoming a language that people are rushing to learn.
If you love Japanese culture and would like to work in Japan one day, learning Japanese is where you need to start. By becoming fluent in Japanese, you will be more valuable to employers who wish to send workers abroad. You can get hired as a translator or become a sort of ambassador who negotiates business deals with clients in Japan. You could even become an English teacher in a Japanese high school. Native English speakers are in high demand for this type of job—you do not even have to have a teaching license. In many cases, you do not even have to be fluent in Japanese to become an English teacher there (but it definitely helps you get around in Japan if you learn Japanese before you go there)!
Another great reason to learn Japanese is so you can work from home. Japanese is the third most used language on the Internet, so many opportunities can be created from learning this language. You could start your own translating business from the comfort of your own home. This career is especially satisfying for those who enjoy Japanese culture–not only do you get to market your skill, you get to truly enjoy your job!
Learning Japanese can enhance your resume. Although people who are bilingual in Japanese and English are highly sought after, there still are not very many people with that skill (especially compared to people who learn European languages as a second language). If you can put Japanese language as a skill on your resume, you will definitely stand out as unique among applicants.
By studying Japanese, you open the gateway to other Asian languages. The structure of Japanese sentences are actually very similar to those of the Korean language, so learning Japanese can help you if you choose to study other Asian languages one day.
No matter what your reasons are for studying Japanese, even the most dedicated students can sometimes lose interest in their pursuit of language fluency. I have personally experienced the loss of interest in Japanese, but I was able to revive my love of language by remembering why I began studying in the first place. My personal reasons for deciding to learn Japanese were my desire to learn an Asian language, my love of the culture of Japan, and my desire to teach English in Japan one day. I would like to share some advice that has come from my personal experience with learning Japanese, and my advice is especially directed towards those who are experiencing a rut and thinking about giving up!
My first piece of advice is to acknowledge you made a commitment to learn Japanese. By beginning to study, you essentially agreed to make that commitment. Of course, you could give up at any time you wished, but why throw away the work you have already done?
Next, you need to find motivation for studying. If you purchased books or other resources in order to learn Japanese, or paid for lessons, think of the money! Don’t waste your money by quitting before you reach your Japanese goals. If you can, plan a trip to Japan as a reward for mastering the language. You can also reward yourself with less expensive things such as Japanese CDs or DVDs, or even rewards that are not Japanese related. Give yourself that material motivation if you really need to.
Another piece of advice I offer to those who want to learn Japanese is to set goals for yourself, but do not make them too hard to reach. You need to set small goals. This way, you can track your progress and see your growth as you become better and better at Japanese. Even if you have been studying Japanese for years, as I have, you can still benefit from setting small, attainable goals for yourself. These goals will help drive you towards your larger goal of Japanese mastery. For example, you can plan out how many kanji symbols you want to learn in a week or a month. Meet each small goal of five or ten new kanji symbols before moving on to the next goal. You can use the same type of goal system with vocabulary words.
If you end up a deep rut and are seriously on the verge of giving up on Japanese, take a break. Sometimes a break (whether short or long) can work wonders. You may even begin to miss studying Japanese! Take time off to pursue a different hobby for a while, and then try getting back into studying Japanese. You can also designate certain times of the week, the month, or even the year that you will devote to studying Japanese. The rest of the time can be your time off to pursue something else. Just think how proud you will be if you can persevere and see your commitment through to the end!
As I mentioned earlier, there are many great reasons to learn Japanese. Always keep your personal reasons for studying Japanese in mind as you continue to delve deeper and deeper into this beautiful language. It’s important to stay focused, but don’t forget to allow yourself time (or rewards!) to help you stay on track. The most important thing to remember is to never give up!