I feel that I have been trolled by this post and by many of the comments. But, for any poor sole that is confused by this post or possibly starting to agree or believe in this balderdash, please, please, please look else where before giving up on a wonderful hobby or life changing pursuit. There are actually more people outside of Japan that speak Japanese fluently than there are in Japan. Ever been to Brazil? Yes, Japanese is not used as much as Chinese, Spanish, French or English, however it is still in the top 10 languages by usage. Learning any second language is valuable regardless of where in the world it is used. Also, Japan is an extremely influential and powerful nation with many opportunities for those with an interest to coming to this wonderful country. I have lived and worked in Japan as an Engineer and as an ALT teacher. As a teacher, I was surrounded by other English teachers and to be honest it was the most stifling time I had had in Japan. Their outlook was very narrow and there experience was limited as they mixed with themselves or the "few" japanese people who actually wanted to be around English speaking people. Sure, Japan has a huge population and it is not hard to find someone who wants to learn english (simply because of the numbers), but there are many many others learning Chinese (becoming more and more popular in schools) and German. The Japanese people who wanted to be around the English speakers would tag along with anything and everything the "English" speakers wanted to do and that included many nights at the local expat bar and heading over to each others homes for drinks and parties. Was it fun? Sure, but in a limited way. This is no different to Japanese clubs back in Australia where many aussies go because they think they love and "know" japan (they like anime and jpop culture) so they try and mix with Japanese people and in tern follow them around everywhere. Once I had broken away from that group, I started to head out on my own. I saw more of Japan, the country (88% forested, ha who knew) and so many gorgeous little country towns. I decided to start talking to people. Just approaching local people. I tried to use the language and people everywhere, young and old were generous to my outreach. I ended up staying with people, given meals, invited into homes, and made many long term relationships. There was zero english. I still have a long way to go with my study as do many people learning any other language, but if you are truly interested, you will stick with it. If you go out and try, really try, to make authentic relationships you will improve and enjoy. Forget about the expat bars. Thats NOT an experience that you will benefit from. To be honest, you will probably just be around ethnocentric, complaining american teachers. Oh, by the way. It seems that every job I have had in japan (other than teaching) wants you to learn japanese, provides all foreign workers with Japanese lessons and tutors and communication at work toward you is moved to japanese as quickly as possible. Keep with it.
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