How to Start Learning Japanese

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”

Learn Japanese Quickly – in 7 Easy Steps

So you want to learn Japanese fast?  Great—you can!—in just seven easy steps.  Just like the pros.

Now don’t deny it, you want to believe those guys on the internet claiming to have “learned Japanese” in like a year or two.  For some reason it’s always guys too—why is that?  Aren’t women supposed to be better at languages?  Nah, that can’t be right.  Anyway, since they apparently learned Japanese so quickly, you (presumably) can too.  But how’d they do it, and more importantly—do you have what it takes?  Let’s find out. Continue reading “Learn Japanese Quickly – in 7 Easy Steps”