Someone on Facebook recently asked me: What’s the best way to begin learning Japanese, for someone starting from zero? Never one to shirk authorial duties, I did the responsible thing by jumping up, slamming my laptop closed, and running to the convenience store for a bottle of cheap white wine and a bag of spicy dried corn snacks. They’re super salty, but man, are they ever good. But then at the store I ran into this girl I know and she invited me over for some tea, and then we drank the bottle of wine, and then a bottle of red she had, and then I woke up and it was 3 a.m. and I didn’t know where I was, and by the time I got home I’d forgotten all about the question. But I really meant to answer it. Sometimes Japan just gets in the way like that.
Anyway, anything big—learning Japanese, making a million dollars, drinking a case and a half of beer—there’s probably no “best” way to do it. There’s a lot of ways you could do those things. You could pour the beers into a glass, or drink them straight from the bottle, for example. So many options. Actually, I generally avoid telling people “how to” do anything in Japan, since there’s already a ton of that noise on the internet, and most of it seems wrong to me. Which means that anything I say will automatically seem wrong to somebody else, which is depressing, since I know it’s actually right. Because I so feel it’s rightness. Whatever, okay, here’s the best way to learn Japanese. Really. Continue reading “How to Start Learning Japanese”