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Some Good Reasons for Taking Japanese Classes

From Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Japanese > Why Learn Japanese

The Japanese language has everything it needs to seduce you: a two thousand-year-old civilization, a fantastic culture, subtle and refined gastronomy, as well as a philosophy of life different from the Western mentality!

Aside from there being many different reasons to learn this new language, there are also a stack of benefits of learning Japanese.

So be adventurous and come learn Japanese!

Even if you only learn basic Japanese so that you have some key phrases and expressions in order to introduce yourself and give some common greetings, it will be worth your while!

As a new learner, your language learning will focus on conversational Japanese due to the complexities of the Japanese writing system. But don’t think that the grammar is difficult. Once you have mastered how to read and write in Japanese, the rest is surprisingly easy. You could even learn Japanese to teach in your country. The possibilities of learning Japanese are endless.

So join Superprof on this journey to the land of the rising sun to see why you should learn Japanese.

1. Japanese Lessons Will Show You a Language So Different From English

The Japanese language, with its character-based writing and different pronunciation, will take you on a trip far from home.

Japanese has been enriched during the course of its history. Although, Japanese writing was originally based on Chinese characters, and you can find some similarities with Korean, Japanese is a surprisingly unique language.

The Japanese language uses two distinct sets of characters together:

  • Kanji,
  • Kana, divided into 2 groups, hiragana and katakana.

It is, however, possible to transcribe Japanese language in Latin letters, through a writing system called romaji.

To learn Japanese, one of the reference manuals used in language schools in Japan is Minna no Nihongo.

Two of these books will allow beginners to learn the basics of the Japanese language, and then subsequently increase your fluency in order to move on to a level that will allow you to speak Japanese without much difficulty on a daily basis.

You can also take Japanese language classes with a Superprof tutor who will teach you the Japanese alphabet, the basics of pronunciation, as well as a number of Japanese vocabulary words.

2. For Its Rich and Interesting Culture

Japanese culture is a mixture of tradition and modernity Forget soccer! You’ll be thinking about Judo, if you start making learning Japanese your priority.

Japanese culture is steeped in tradition as well as modernity, and you can study Japanese to learn about the country

An article written by Kondô Seeichi, current Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan, explains that the Japanese have a special relationship with nature.

If only one particularity of Japanese thought should be mentioned, it is their vision of nature. In the West, it is considered that what makes the nobility of man is his ability to reason. […] The Japanese believe that man is only part of nature and that to dominate nature is presumptuous. They believe that it is necessary to place oneself on the same level as nature to live in osmosis with it.

Here are some of the Japanese cultural arts that will make you want to learn Japanese, or at least we hope (!):

  • Noh theater: a mixture of singing and dancing with tragic themes.
  • Kabuki: Developed by courtesans and played by men, kabuki is the epic form of traditional Japanese theater. “It is distinguished by its elaborate makeup of actors and the abundance of scenic devices intended to highlight the paroxysms and reversals of the play,” according to Wikipedia.
  • The art of the Japanese garden. These are true works of art which bring together mountains, sea, rivers, and lakes into miniature form. You can find them across Japan, and upon entering you will be filled by a overwhelming sense of relaxation.
  • Sumo: These tournaments are a big part of Japanese tradition. These imposing wrestlers – athletes in fact – are elevated to the rank of demi-gods. Do not miss the traditional rites that accompany each fight.

Anime culture is perhaps one of the most interesting elements of Japanese culture–especially for young people!

If you are visiting Japan, there are a few manga and anime grand events held in the course of the year. In particular, the AnimeJapan (formerly known as Tokyo Anime Fair), is held annually at Odaiba’s Tokyo Big Sight convention center.

Another event is Comiket, a huge comic book fair which attracts hundreds of thousands of people. It is held biannually, also at Tokyo Big Sight.

In Tokyo there are many places to visit if you are an anime fan. Manga and anime related items have a huge following in Japan and if you’re visiting Japan then places like Osaka’s Den Den Town, and more prominently, Tokyo’s Akihabara district, will you find everything you could ever want.

Don’t forget about the Anime Conventions! Anime conventions such as Anime Expo, Otakon, and JACON, started in the early 1990s and are currently held annually in cities across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Many convention attendees take part by dressing up as their favourite anime characters.

Cosplay is popular at these events. People with this hobby create their own costumes, based on their favourite game, animation or comic book character. Moreover, Japanese artists, voice actors, film directors and musicians are invited to the conventions. As the popularity of manga and anime continues to grow, so does the world’s knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture.

It’s true: the popularity of anime and manga has helped westerners gain a broader understanding of Japanese culture. Fans now collect their favourite anime series or visit comic book stores that stock all the latest ranges of manga and anime.

And let’s not forget that martial arts like Judo and Aikido were born in Japan, or that origami, the art of paper folding, hails from Japan and is now known around the world.

3. To Go Out in Tokyo and See the Craziness of the World

The capital of Japan, Tokyo, is a metropolis that will impress you with its 13 million inhabitants (the population of the entire metropolitan area is much bigger).

Located on the East coast of the main island of Honshu, it hosts most of the country’s institutions. It is the residence of the emperor, parliament, the ministries and all foreign embassies.

In order to discover Tokyo and familiarize yourself with the Japanese language, consider watching Lost in Translation by Sofia Coppola. The film tells the story of a TV star on the way down (Bill Murray) who falls in love with the wife of a famous photographer, played by the magnificent Scarlett Johansson. A haunting portrait of Tokyo’s lively underground, which includes karaoke in Shibuya where there is a bird’s eye view of the city, or the Wob Club where the two actors enjoy a night out in Tokyo.

It is definitely worth a watch!

Tokyo is the biggest city in the world Whether it be at night or during the day, Tokyo is a must-see destination!

If you want to learn Japanese for use in business, you will almost definitely pass through Tokyo as it is one of the financial capitals of the world, and the hub of economic activity in Japan.

And if you don’t want to live in Tokyo forever, why not consider a shorter immersion course in Japan? Such a linguistic stay would allow you to meet people and learn Japanese for free!

4. To Read Manga in the Original Version

Taking Japanese lessons will also allow you to read manga and perfect your Japanese vocabulary!

These comics are very popular in Japan. But be careful, most mangas read from right to left and are in black and white. Remember to bring a Japanese dictionary to help you read!

Mangas have long been popular with kids and adults alike, right across the western world.

An original and fun way to learn the history and culture of Japan. As a sidenote, you should know that it is estimated that one in twelve Japanese people reads at least one manga a week.

5. To Better Appreciate Japanese Cinema

Japanese cinema has a history dating back to the beginnings of cinema. It is currently the third largest cinema industry in the world when taking into account the number of films produced. The main genres of Japanese cinema are:

  • Animated: who hasn’t heard of  Hayao Miyazaki and The Journey of Chihiro?
  • Samurai movies.
  • Horror films such as The Ring directed by Hideo Nakata are a big hit in Japan.

Japanese culture includes the Japanese film industry Have you ever dressed up as a samurai for Halloween? Now is your chance to watch movies on these fascinating warriors!

Discover the actor Takeshi Kitano in the film Aniki, my brother (2001) or Zatoichi (2003) in which Kitano is both actor and director. This film received the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival.

6. Japanese Courses Can Help You to Explore Japanese Gastronomy

Japanese cuisine is one of the most refined cuisines in the world and has quickly spread across the world. Who has never tasted sushi or sashimi?

Here are some of the dishes selected by the Japanese National Tourist Office website. You will now have the opportunity to taste for yourself:

  • Sukiyaki: slices of finely chopped beef served with vegetables, tofu, and vermicelli.
  • Tempura: shrimp, fish, or vegetables fried in vegetable oil.
  • Sushi: small slices of fish or seafood, raw, placed on a dumpling vinegar rice.
  • Sashimi: slices of raw fish doused with soy sauce.

Not to mention the shabu-shabi, soba, udon, and yakitori, or sake–rice wine that the Japanese are used to drinking hot.

Aside from Japanese learning in your language classes, you could also learn about Japanese gastronomy, its history, and its impact on the modern world.

7. To Visit Japan’s Many Islands

Japan is an archipelago made up of 6,852 islands, the 4 largest of which are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu.

Learning Japanese for a trip to Japan is a great reason to learn the language, but you can also hone your language skills in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, or any other of Japan’s cities.

And if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city lights, you can always recharge your batteries on one of the many smaller islands. Some highlights include:

  • The Okinawa Islands. Do not miss Yakushima Island and its millennial cedars, as well as the whale sharks at the Okinawa Aquarium.
  • Hokkaido in the north of the country; a must if you like nature and national parks.
  • The island of Miyajima, located next to Hiroshima is one of the most photographed tourist spots in Japan because of its red Torii in the sea.

8. To Discover the Temples of Kyoto

Kyoto, a Japanese city in the center of Honshu, has more than 2,000 temples, shrines, palaces, bridges, and gardens.

Many temples are also classified as World Heritage sites by Unesco and are worth a look as you discover the history of Japan.

What’s more, Kyoto is located very close to Nara, the nation’s first ever permanent capital in the 8th century. It is this city that gave its name to the Nara period, a time when Buddhism was most highly developed, and the Chinese language most intensively studied, both of which impacted on the language and culture that we see today in Japan.

Japanese people are proud of their cuisine Raw fish and sticky rice are the basics of Japanese cuisine–delicious!

9. Working in the 3rd Most Powerful Country in the World

Japan is the third richest country in the world, with a GDP of over $ 4.17 billion in 2016 according to the JDN.

Learning Japanese is a great asset to find a job in large industrial groups like Toyota, Nissan, Hitachi, Panasonic, or Mitsubishi.

Being able to speak Japanese with your colleagues will demonstrate a strong motivation on your part, which can only accelerate your career. If you want to go to Japan to work, learn to write in Japanese too.

Also consider taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JPLT), an official exam organized in July and December of each year, aimed at certifying the Japanese language level of non-English speakers. This is likely to be required of you by any company considering offering you a job. If you are lucky enough to receive an offer of employment, ask your company if they offer Japanese lessons to help you increasing to improve your proficiency past the level that you achieved in the JLPT.

Japan’s relations with the west are often seen as being very important, and therefore speaking Japanese can be a huge asset in terms of finding work, both at home and abroad.

10. To Master the Ancient Art of Calligraphy

This is one of the most popular arts in the land of the rising sun!

It consists of using Japanese characters for art.

It is possible to start learning Japanese calligraphy via courses lasting between 2 and 3 hours.

Calligraphy will also mean you get to enrich your vocabulary by learning new Japanese words.

But be warned, in order to learn Japanese calligraphy you will first need to be tuned up in Japanese scripture, seeing as though calligraphy is a way of reading and writing.

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