A reader recently posted an intriguing comment about foreign sumo wrestlers: “Within a year, they have a command of the language that would take most students years to develop.” Implying that with enough immersion and dedication, it’s possible to speak Japanese well in a short amount of time. Apparently, there’s a Japanese book that popularized this notion.
I’d heard this before. Not just with sumo wrestlers but with, well, everybody. A friend of mine learned the language in a year. Actually, less than a year. Well, actually, a friend of a friend.
The first time I heard it was from a random guy in Columbus, Ohio, who told me: “My daughter went to Japan for a year, and came back speaking fluent Japanese.”
That was all the proof I needed. I’m kind of gullible like that. If she could do it, then damn it, so could I. Nobody beats Ken Seeroi, and certainly nobody from Ohio. Continue reading “A Friend of Mine Learned Japanese in 1 Year”
You gotta love Anna. Seriously, because everyone loves Anna. She’s a busty, blonde Swiss-German who grew up playing the piano and speaking Swiss. And German. And English. And now she speaks perfect Japanese. God, I hate her.
Nah, just kidding. Anna’s okay. In high school, she “picked up” French, Spanish, and Italian. Well, they’re all like the same language, but still she deserves credit for one. Then in college, she majored in Japanese and ended up moving to Japan and becoming an interpreter. Not an English teacher like, um, some people. Okay, now I hate her again. Continue reading “How to Write Japanese”
It’s not Romaji That’s Evil—-It’s Hiragana
I have a new co-worker, who just so happens to be white. It’s very exciting, finally speaking with a real foreigner. I really gotta practice the English more. I think she’s from some place like Kansas, probably because she reminds me of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, albeit minus the little dog and red shoes. Maybe it’s the pigtails, and the fact that her aunt is named Em. Or is that M? Whatever. On Thursday, apropos of nothing, she turned to me and announced,
“I’m heading over to Japanese class tonight.”
“Oh,” I said. “That’s great.” Foreigners are always heading over to Japanese class. “How’s that going anyway?”
“Wonderful,” she replied, “we’re learning hiragana.” Continue reading “Why Your Japanese Sucks”
I don’t go to a lot of cocktail parties. But somehow when I do, I always meet people studying Japanese. Maybe it’s just me. Or more precisely, people who’ll eventually stop studying, only they don’t know it yet. Here’s how the conversation goes:
“Ken! I’m studying Japanese! I’m stoked! And I’m completely serious about improving. Just tell me what to do—anything—and I’ll do it.
“Three words,” I reply. “Paint my house. Nah, just kidding. You should learn the kanji.
“Ah, you know,” they begin to trail off, “I just want to speak Japanese, not read it. Continue reading “How to Learn Kanji, in 10 Steps”
“Ken Seeroi, you should write a book.” People always say that.
Well, like six people, but that’s still a lot. After my fabulous career as English-teacher-in-Japan, I’m counting on book sales to provide for retirement. I assume each person will buy at least ten thousand copies.
Of course, I could write lots of books if I wasn’t so freaking busy. Look, I’ve got mad stuff to do: shower, trim my eyebrows, study Japanese, lie on the floor surrounded by cans of beer watching YouTube. Those are 4 of the 7 habits of highly effective people. Hey, is it my fault wingsuit videos are so enthralling? I think not. The more I watch, the more I’m convinced that arial stuntman is my true destiny. Naturally, as in all things, beer helps. My potential increases exponentially by the can. At this point, the only thing I’m lacking is money. Well, that and skill. And courage. I was just born underprivileged, is all. Continue reading “How to Stop Learning Japanese”