Learning Japanese

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Kikaku, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. Kikaku

    Kikaku Gakorai Tosha Akuma Fudo

    I've just signed up for Japanese language classes twice a week :p
    I'm currently living in a condominium, which is actually inside a shopping mall of all places, and I've just noticed that there is a brand new language school opening up which teaches a wide range of languages, Japanese being one of them.

    Languages are my forte, since I currently speak English (duh ! I'm English :cool: ), Spanish, Italian and Dutch fluently, so one more shouldn’t be a problem. I think this is going to be an excellent way of facilitating my trips to Japan, and my training whilst in Japan since eventually I might be able to communicate with Soke and the non-English speaking Shihan.

    Anybody else here speak Japanese ?
  2. SilentNightfall

    SilentNightfall Eien no Ninja

    I've been studying Japanese for three years now and I'm still no where near fluent. Why? Because unlike most languages where the majority of time spent is with learning vocabulary and grammar, with Japanese, you also have to learn to read and write the system as well, seeing as how there is now simple alphabet with Japanese. You'll start with the simplistic writing systems of hiragana and katakana (used for writing imported words in Japanese phonetics) and soon after, you'll start learning Kanji. To be considered fluent, you need to know at least 3,000 Kanji (or so most people say) and that isn't an easy task, particularly when you don't read or write many obscure Kanji that often and thus forget how to read and write them. Just like with taijutsu, always keep in mind the word "gambatte."
  3. KageAkuma

    KageAkuma Valued Member

    Japanese is completely different from European languages. Like what the above says, you don't only have to learn vocab and grammar, but you have to learn 3 seperate alphabets. (Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji).

    The grammar structure is also the complete opposite of English. That takes time getting used to, along with all the particles. (Wa, wo, ga, etc).

    Make sure to practice as much as possible, especially the writing.
  4. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    I started studying japanese by myself about a year ago, and I've learned heaps since then. I think it would be a lot easier if one were to spend time in Japan as well, preferrably longer periods.
  5. NorCalNerd

    NorCalNerd New Member

    If anyone wants, I have a book in pdf form that gives a pretty good rundown on the japanese language. Send me an e-mail and i'll hook ya up, now to sign up for classes myself ;)
  6. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    I took Japanese for about 4 years. I forgot most of it. Hehehe.

    I can read and write averagely, and I can understand bits and peices of speach, but I have forgotten ALOT of words... I just picked up a few CDs for a little refresher course...
  7. jimbsagwa

    jimbsagwa New Member

    want to learn

    i dont know japanese, but i want to learn. it seems like a cool language... and i want to go to japan again sometime.
    from what i hear in the above posts, japanese seems hard to learn. hmm... have you tried the Rosetta Stone? apparently its quite a great program.
  8. VWarrior

    VWarrior Valued Member

    Enjoy learning the language. I do. I find it impressive that you know so many languages fluently. Man, its feels like such a huge task just trying to become bilingual. I've been studying Japanese for two years now, and, as guy said a above, I know i'm nowhere near fluent. I learning vocabulary and grammer is only half the job. Learning how to write the language is a huge task all its own mainly due to the fact that you have to learn litterally thousands of chinese characters. Hiragana and Katakana are only scraping the surface.

    Based off my experience so far, my advice to you is to practice the language often. Converse in it when you can, and practice Kanji often to help it stick in your head. I spend the off semesters of school doing just that. In fact, I plan on buying a book of 2,000 essential Kanji that I'll use for practice and reference.

  9. VWarrior

    VWarrior Valued Member

    Yeah, i've heard from multiple people you can learn so much more efficiently if you actually study in Japan. I may study abroad there if I can.
  10. SilentNightfall

    SilentNightfall Eien no Ninja

    I'll second this as it is exactly what I did this year and your Japanese does improve by leaps and bounds. But then again, so does your taijutsu. I was living in Tokyo and though the train fare killed me (about $20 roundtrip every time I went to Chiba, be it Kashiwa, Noda-shi, or Kasukabe), I went about 4-5 times per week. If you can combine training and language courses, especially for a year, by all means do so. :D
  11. VWarrior

    VWarrior Valued Member

    Yeah, the language can be difficult, especially when it comes to an english native speaker trying to adjust to the grammer and using particles. Then there are various conjugations (verbs are practically twisted around 1000 different ways), casual vs. polite speech, honorific speech, then of course, the seemingly endless abundance of Kanji to memorize. And its not just memorizing their strokes, you have to memorize their combinations. A Kanji paired with a certain other Kanji can mean one thing, but paired with another can mean something else.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2006
  12. VWarrior

    VWarrior Valued Member

    Yeah, I will definitely try to go within the next couple years to study and train.
  13. succubus

    succubus so hot right now

    been trying to learn it for the last 4 years, but i don't get any practice in at all with actual speakers, so i keep forgetting it and having to re-learn it.

    off to japan in a month's time, though, so hopefully when i get back in August 2007 I'll be fluent. :)

    if you're good with languages it shouldn't be too difficult to learn how to speak it. the only thing that gets me is the different verb conjugations. the writing, as other people have said above, is very tricky. i've got the hiragana and katakana down, but kanji is another matter altogether... in about 2 years of studying the writing i've only managed to learn about 100 words in kanji. :p

  14. SilentNightfall

    SilentNightfall Eien no Ninja

    It all depends on how much you study while in Japan. Don't expect to get fluent in only a year in Japan, to be quite honest. I spent the first six months here in class 5 hours everyday from Monday to Friday on nothing but Japanese and I knew about 500 Kanji when coming here. Am I fluent now? Heck no! If you plan on going out and sight-seeing, training, etc., you won't get fluent. Personally, I would never sit in my room studying Japanese all year just to get fluent. I plan on returning next year to live and then in three years, we'll see. Don't go over with the expectation of becoming fluent. Just enjoy how much you improve and how you can get through all daily activities with what you learn. But if you can, make lots of Japanese friends and only talk to them in Japanese.
  15. bencole

    bencole Valued Member


    Actually, grammatically, Japanese is easier to learn than English, in my personal opinion.

    Japanese is actually VERY well structured, so long as you look at it from a Japanese perspective. People want everything to translate into English congruently, and when it doesn't, they assume that there are a lot of "irregulars" and the like. In fact, many Japanese natives who teach actually believe that Japanese is difficult to learn. I disagree from a grammar point of view. (Note: Learning to use the various levels of politeness are a different story, but that comes with experience.)

    I personally recommend the following textbook series: STEP UP NIHONGO

    A friend of mine was involved in writing this book, and I personally wish that I had used it when I was learning Japanese. It would have significantly sped up my progress in my opinion.

    If you are serious about learning Japanese for the long haul, I recommend the following reference books:

    A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar by Makino and Tsutsui

    All About Particles (Power Japanese) by Chino.

    From a non-grammatical standpoint, I recommend the following books to ANYONE who wants to understand the "Japanese mind," including that of Soke and the Shihan. I would never go to Japan to train without first reading at least the first book by Hall and Hall.

    Hidden Differences: Doing Business with the Japanese by Hall and Hall.

    Different Games, Different Rules: Why Americans and Japanese Misunderstand Each Other by Yamada and Tannen.

    Finally, I have put together a manual of Japanese in the order in which *I* think natives of English should learn the language. It is available for free download here.

    I hope this helps!

  16. Upgraded

    Upgraded Valued Member

    Mendo Kusaii..

    I find watching alot of Japanese anime helps you learn Japanese faster, Same with the Television.
    Go rent out a few japanese ninja movies and watch them over and over..

  17. NorCalNerd

    NorCalNerd New Member

    lol, i'd have to agree, been watching the stuff since I was a kid. Who can forget the japanese pizza ninja cats ;)
  18. CKava

    CKava Just one more thing... Supporter

    So you want to learn Japanese eh? You should have a look here...

    *Please read through to the end of that page before cracking up its meant firmly tongue in cheek as the author does in fact study Japanese.

    Anyhow Japanese as far as Asian languages go isn't so bad for English speakers. Not being tonal is a huge plus and while Kanji obviously do take a long time to learn they are not used for the entire sentence unlike Chinese. For learning any language going to the actual country is extremely beneficial plus everything everyone else said seems spot on. Practice lots, watch a lot of Japanese shows etc. etc. except Id be careful about learning too much from anime... anime characters tend not to speak like normal everyday people.
  19. Grimjack

    Grimjack Dangerous but not serious

    I have tried to learn Japanese. While I am not even close to as good as I would like, I think learning a little is a good thing.

    One book I would reccomend is a book called "Learn To Read Japanese Today." It teaches you to recognize and read about 300 charecters. They are some of the most common ones too. It really helps you I think if you reach a point where you see something and are able to recognize and read it. It is a great boost to your confidence.

    You got a few people here that speak and read Japanese. Maybe there should be a thread about what terms and words to learn for training in the Bujinkan.

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