Like most of you, the main reason I decided to learn Japanese was anime. Watching anime has always been a magnificent escape for me. I loved being able to dive into these awesome fantasy worlds. It all started with Inuyasha. I was 14 and going through a bit of a tough time and the show really helped me cope, and after that it just took off. I watched all the popular shows from Naruto, Bleach, Ranma ½ to the more uncommon, like Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, and Scrapped Princess. After about a year, I noticed myself picking up some Japanese, mostly small words like “kuso” and “nani” but I was definitely getting it. I found myself wanting to dive deeper into my fantasy worlds; I wanted to understand what my favorite characters were saying without the help of subtitles.
I started like most people, with a few websites and America’s “favorite” language program, Rosetta Stone. However, the websites couldn’t teach me to pronounce the words, let alone capture my attention. And Rosetta stone only frustrated me to no end, trying to figure out what words the pictures were referring to.
From there I jumped to Pimsluers and a little known 1980’s TV show called “Let’s Learn Japanese”. Pimsleur’s gave me the pronunciation I needed and “Let’s Learn Japanese” was actually interesting enough to capture my attention. So armed with my 4 resources I pushed on.
However, for some reason, as I learned all this Japanese my actual comprehension of unsubtitled anime only slightly increased, even after I finished Pimsleur's, Lets Learn JP, half of Rosetta Stone and a number of websites.
I wondered why, but I soon knew the answer. I’d heard it before from all my online studies, that Japanese was a very different language. So different in the fact that it actually has two different versions: a formal and an informal (or casual language). Nearly all of the programs and learning methods teach strictly formal, because casual is understood to be rude if spoken to a non friend or family member.
Well the issue is that most anime almost always uses casual speech! Not only that but the programs I was using taught me words like, book, pen and economics major(?). Words almost never used in anime.
So from there I decided to take matters a bit more into my own hands. I had the basics of the language so I began to teach myself Japanese. I used actual words and sentences from the shows I was watching, developed a way to use the English subtitles as a teaching method, and researched casual Japanese.
After that a miracle happened, learning the hard and difficult Japanese language became fun! I started to do it whenever I had free time, staying up late and waking up early before school just to study Japanese. And my comprehension immediately quadrupled! I loved to learn Japanese from my favorite anime characters.
Within one year I had nearly completely mastered anime Japanese. Raw anime became a reality.
I can’t tell you how much more of an experience watching anime in its original language is. You learn so much more about the characters from just the way they speak. Japanese actually has over 6 ways to say the word “You” each one revealing the unique personality of the character that used it.
I don’t want to drag on but it’s for all these reasons and more that I want to share what I’ve learned! That in fact you can learn Japanese and it’s actually very easy and fun once you get the right method. If you want to get my secrets for learning Japanese subscribe to my newsletter for exclusive weekly content.