Daniel Knox comments

Posted in: Why you shouldn’t learn Japanese See in context

I disagree with pretty much everything in this article. Discouraging people from learning more than basic survival phrases is, to me, propagation of ignorance to the extreme. I assume this article is targeting people who live in Japan, so when I look back on my 3 years and imagine that I'd taken this advice, I would have only squeezed a fraction of the enjoyment that I have so far. Let me break down the points: 'It's going to take time'. Learning a new language tends to! Yes, Japanese is very difficult, but if you concentrate on its easy points, the simple pronunciation, the limited vocabulary (I dare you to count the number of words for 'delicious' in common use), and relatively simple grammar, and spend a bit of time on the writing system, most people will be OK. Anyway, since when is something taking a long time a good reason not to do it? It takes a long time because English and Japanese are very different. Therefore it takes a long time for the Japanese to learn English. Isn't it nice to meet them halfway at least? 'Safe return doubtful'. Yes a lot of people 'give up'. Or do you mean they go home after spending a year or so working here? I don't think it's really the same thing. Either way, learning as much of the language as you can while you're here increases your enjoyment/appreciation tenfold. 'Opportunity cost'. Moot point. Everything has an opportunity cost. Spend 3 years learning Japanese, or spend 3 years learning guitar. I'd take Japanese I think.. 'The payback'. I don't really understand the point here. So people spend time learning Japanese and then find it's not worth it? Each to his own, but I probably wouldn't be able to relate to someone like that. 'You really don't need Japanese'. OK so this might've been written by an Eikaiwa teacher who's only friends with high-level English speakers. Oh and signs at stations are in English! Yay, I don't need Japanese at all! And if they don't understand me I'll just point and speak a bit louder! Let me honestly say that 90% of Japanese people I meet are relieved that I can converse with them in (admittedly not perfect!) Japanese. And that my understanding of people is enhanced by speaking to them in their mother tongue. 'Japanese can make you less popular'. What on earth...? I don't remember someone being more popular than me because they COULDN'T speak Japanese. Some of the parties I go to, if I bring someone who doesn't speak Japanese, then I practically have to babysit them. At my work, if I couldn't speak Japanese, I'm guessing no one would bother talking to me. And I'm an English teacher!! 'Japan isn't all that'. This one is the most aggravating.. So things cost money in Japan? And I have to work to enjoy them?? Nope, looks like Japan isn't for me after all!! I probably sound like such a Japan-geek. The irony is, I would've agreed with most of this in my first 6 months here. But now looking back, it's the kind of mindset that I could've done without.

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