Question #1: Why Are You Learning Japanese?
“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” – Stephen Kaggwa
You’d be surprised how many people decide to do something as big as learning Japanese without knowing the answer to this question. I bet you 90% of people who start studying have no idea why they’re doing it (which… ahem… happens to be the same percentage of people who end up quitting, might I add). Now, when I say these people “don’t know why they’re learning Japanese” I’m also not counting generalities. Answers like “because it’s fun” and “because it’s cool” are okay for a little while, but they won’t hold out when the going gets tough. I’m looking for a specific answer…things like:
- I want to be able to talk to my Japanese grandmother in Japanese
- I want to travel to Japan and walk the 88 temples of Shikoku
- I want to live and work in Japan, doing marketing for Sony
- I’m an anthropologist and want to study the Ainu people
- I want to appear on Japanese television one day as a comedian
When you know what you’re working towards, you end up having more drive. You also end up having more focus, as well, which really helps. When you think “aw… I don’t want to learn any more today” your reason for learning Japanese will kick in and respond with “but what about those temples!!?” and you’ll keep going (and eventually love yourself for it). TextFugu’s going to help you make nice and steady steps forward, but you need to have something to walk towards otherwise it’s aimless wandering.
Now, I also understand that answering this question can be hard. But, you should really think about it. Maybe you really are just trying new things, and don’t have a reason. If that’s you, just continue and work hard. You’ll figure yourself out soon enough (i.e. you’ll figure out if you want to keep going or you’ll figure out if you want to spend your time somewhere else). Nobody’s judging you here, you should do the things that make you happy :)
But, you should really try to answer this question. I guarantee that those of you who can answer this question will be way more likely to succeed. Those that don’t… well, you still have a decent chance that you’ll figure out your reason later. Just keep thinking about it.
Task: Answer the question: “Why Are You Learning Japanese?”
Once you’ve figured this out, move on to the next question. Are you already a member? If so, head on over to the TextFugu forums and share your reason and post up an introduction to say hello! The forum is full of helpful, supportive people just like you who are happy to help you out if you need help (of course, I’m also here to help you out of if you need it). You’re not the only one using TextFugu, so it’s fun to go and get to know fellow TextFugu-ers as well!
Task: Introduce yourself on the TextFugu Forums. These people will help you out in the future (and you’ll probably help out a Japanese newb or two as you get better too!).
When you’ve answered the first question and (optionally) introduced yourself on the forums, move on to the next question. You’re almost ready to get started here.