I had my Cafetalk lesson this morning. My tutor is a little busy this week because Cafetalk is running some specials and giving away some free short lessons for the new year. I didn’t really look to see what they were, but head on over there and check it out if it suits you to do so. (By the way, I don’t get any kind of benefit for recommending Cafetalk. It’s just that it works so darned well for me that I can’t help but recommend it.)
Because last week was so hectic (I didn’t even have a lesson!) and I didn’t study as well as I wanted to, I wanted this lesson to be a review and get caught back up lesson, and Makisan was agreeable, so we spent the time mostly chatting, as much in Japanese as possible. (I did at one point say, possibly rather plaintively, “I need more words!”.) I resorted to English when I had to, which was way too often, but I did get to use and to hear quite a bit of Japanese, and, because Makisan is a tutor, she still tossed in new things. When I had to use English, she would tell me the Japanese for what I wanted to say. It was great.
I feel like I am back on firm ground again, and I will hit Lesson 11 from Minna no Nihingo as well as do some more reviewing from previous lessons. This week, I am going to be a studying machine!
One of the interesting things to me (and, I hope, to you, if you’re reading this, otherwise you must be pretty bored right now) is that, in learning Japanese, I have actually learned a few things about motivation and learning in general.
So many people have told me that Japanese is not only difficult to learn, it is impossible to learn. (People don’t seem to think that it’s impossible to learn Spanish or French or German, but Japanese? Forget about it.) I imagined some future date when I could just open my mouth and let Japanese roll effortlessly out of it (hey, if you’re going to imagine, imagine big, right?) and having someone ask me, “How did you learn Japanese?”
How did I learn Japanese? I worked my tail off, that’s how. I studied and practiced and worked at it.
In other word, learning Japanese is really just like learning biology, crocheting, quantum physics or baking. You just have to do it.
Sure, Japanese is difficult, but so are lot of things that people learn every day.
Do you want something you can learn is a week? Then Japanese is not for you, but neither is Spanish or French or microbiology or TV repair or most other things in the world that are worth learning.
Learning Japanese does not require magic. It doesn’t take special skills that only a select few people have. I can do it. You can do it. There are millions of people worldwide who speak Japanese. Is every one of them a genius?
Well…they learned it as little kids…
So? Does having learned another language first somehow make it impossible or extra difficult for you to learn Japanese? I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t make any sense to me.
You have to shake that kind of nonsense off and simply put in the time and the effort.
That’s what I’m doing, and that’s what lots of other people are doing, too.
Hooray for us!