Oh, stop it. Just…stop it.

I am so tired of people telling me:

Japanese is impossible to learn


You can achieve fluency in Japanese in six days, just ten minutes a day, with no effort on your part


Both of these ideas set you up for failure.

Japanese is impossible to learn

Well, obviously not, since there are lots of people in the world who speak Japanese.  I did have a guy I work with qualify it – Japanese is impossible for an English speaker to learn.  Again, lots of English speakers have learned Japanese.

It can’t be impossible, because I’m doing it.  During my last Cafetalk lesson with Makisan, the conversation was about 95% in Japanese.

I can learn Japanese.  You can learn Japanese.

You can achieve fluency very quickly and with no effort

No.  No, you can’t.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but it can’t.  Sure, maybe there is some guy out there with a special gift and a photographic memory, but I’m not that guy.  You probably aren’t that guy.

You can achieve fluency (whatever it is you happen to mean by “fluency” because not everyone defines it the same way).  You can definitely do it.

But it won’t be fast, and it won’t be effortless.

But, then again, why should it be?  Getting good at pretty much anything takes time and effort.  Learning to play the piano, learning to be an architect, learning to be a trapeze artist, learning to write…it all takes time and effort.

Can you, perhaps, attain some low level of proficiency rapidly?

In some thing, yeah.  A teenager can learn the basics to driving a car along the road in an afternoon.  Does that mean he or she is ready to hit the highway?  Of course not.  More time, more practice, more effort.

Give up on the idea of learning fast and stick with the idea of learning well.

Anyway, what kind of sense of accomplishment do you get from learning something that you can master in a day?

Just keep on studying.  You’ll get there.  If you’ve been studying for awhile, look back at how much you know now that you didn’t know a couple of months ago or a year ago.

Now, if you are studying for some level of the JLPT, then you have a defined goal – take the test and pass it.

If you are just learning to be able to use the language, you don’t have such a clear goal line, so don’t focus on that.  Focus on what you want to learn today and then learn it.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The next thing you know, you’ll be a Japanese speaker.  Then maybe you can help somebody else to learn.

Wouldn’t that be cool?

We’re in this together, so the more help we give each other the better.



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