Japanese is Hard

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Japanese is Hard

It’s a theme among my family that if you don’t know a language, you go to the country and learn it. My sister went to Morocco, and look, now she’s advanced in Arabic. It only took her two years too. As for me, when it comes to learning languages, I’m honestly not that great. I used to learn Spanish. I used to be intermediate in Spanish and now I can barely utter a sentence. Maybe it’s because I never really used it, but besides the point, compared to my sister, I can’ just absorb it in and keep all that knowledge in my brain.

But here I am, in Japan, learning Japanese. I’m not in a university because I already graduated. I wanted to take Japanese when I was younger, but there were never any classes. Even if there was some available, I was too busy working, so that would have never worked out.

Coming to Japan, the first thing I noticed and that caught my breath away, was the cleanliness, the kind people, and the nature. I love nature. I can stare at nature all day and be totally relaxed. However, I didn’t come here to live in nature. My job is not in nature and most people don't live surrounded by trees and rivers.

In my sharehouse, I am one of the few people who cannot speak any Japanese. I self-studied for a while, and when I came here, just like Spanish, it seemed like everything I learned just magically disappeared, especially when it came to talking to people.

I could say phrases like… はじめまして! マラさん。 アメリカからきました。And that was about it before I found myself utterly lost for words. While my housemates wanted to know me, it was a struggle to have a conversation with them. I could say less than ten sentences and only a few words like 大丈夫 and はい or いいえ. It was really difficult.

And to be honest, it made me feel depressed. I was disappointed in myself. I thought I knew a lot more but apparently not. However, I didn’t want to let that get to me. In real life, you have to work hard to get what you want.

The good thing is that my sharehouse has a study room right across my own room. While my room has a desk, it’s not as big. The desk in the study room is very spacious and it has a relaxing atmosphere for me to work in.

Right now, I am studying with Minna no Nihongo. The book is all in Japanese, but every Friday, I go to Matsudo station where I meet my other classmates who are struggling to learn the language as well. I really love my teachers because they are very supportive and nice. They are also other people who make me feel welcome in Japan.

Now, I know more phrases and new words, and every time, I try to use them with my housemates. While not perfect, I get comments like my Japanese is improving or getting better, which makes me feel happy. Japanese is hard, but I will continue to work hard.
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Hello. This is Mara. I'm from Boston in the US. I teach English and am a student of Japanese. My goals are to live and learn about this wonderful country and make new friends. I also write stories but have never written a blog before. There's a first for everything, though, right?