“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can; there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” ~ Sarah Caldwell
Have you ever found yourself wanting to learn a new language? You’re not alone. By learning a new language you can also get a glimpse at the culture behind the language. Without the ability to communicate, you can never truly understand a culture on its own terms. In a world where we can connect with other cultures lays at our fingertips, learning a new language is a logical step to expand our own horizons. Without understanding a culture, you risk being misunderstood.
Why learn Japanese? Here’s 7 reasons!
1) Business Opportunities
Japan is a diverse and prosperous country. Learning Japanese can open the door to new opportunities for yourself or your company. Being able to truly communicate with potential customers or colleagues can open many doors. If you’re stuck utilizing a translator, you will have to deal with an inconsistency in grammar. By understanding the language, you will also get an insiders point of view on their work culture and etiquette. This could help you make or break and important deal.
2) A Gateway Language
Throughout history, Japan has been shaped by the influence of Asia’s great civilizations. While the cultures differ, they also have many similarities that make them different from the Western ways. Learning Japanese will give you a glimpse into the Asian cultures, and also help you gain a new perspective into your own everyday life.
Not only will learning Japanese help you with other languages, it can also help you improve your native language. Research has shown that being multilingual enables students to use their native language more effectively. Learning a new language might help you understand and appreciate your own language.
3) Study Abroad
Many students shy away from studying in countries where English is not the native language. Sadly, many students miss out on a fantastic experience – either because they believe their grades will suffer or that their communication will not be adequate. Ease your anxiety by studying beforehand, and preparing yourself to be able to live outside the campus walls.
Japan has a beautifully vibrant culture. From anime to bonsai, Japanese culture has found itself inside many households around the world. Knowing the language can allow you to gain more insight in your manga, or allow you to find a new way to order your sushi.
By learning about the culture of Japan, you’ll also learn more about yourself and your own culture. Learning a new language can let you step outside your own familiar scope and inspect your own traditions and habits from an “outsiders” perspective. Who knows what you could discover!
5) Be Unique
When people talk about learning a new language, they normally choose something like Spanish, Mandarin, or possibly French. By choosing Japanese, you’re going to be setting yourself apart not only from your peers but also on your resume. Everyone is always looking for a way to stand out, and being bilingual is always a good way to start. Whatever your career goals are, knowing Japanese won’t hurt, and might give you the edge over other applicants.
6) It’s not as hard as you think!
It’s true that Japanese is much different than an English or European language. However you can get by with learning the 44 or so hiragana or katakana characters that represent sounds in a similar way as the English alphabet. The grammar is in many ways more simple than that of a European language. Nouns have no gender, plural forms, or accompanying articles to learn. It has two verb tenses, present and past. With only 5 vowel sounds and consistent phonetic spelling, the language is fairly easy to pronounce.
7) Time to Travel
You can obviously travel to Japan without knowing a single word. Depending on what you want out of your experience, that might be OK. Even if you’re fantastic at charades, knowing the language can help you appreciate the day-to-day culture that goes beyond the tourist stops. Language barriers can be frustrating at best, especially if you’re the type to explore. Just imagine visiting Japan and being able to order meals, ask directions, and find accommodations. While it’s true that in most tourist areas English is spoken, most people will appreciate your attempts to use their language instead of being expected to speak your language. Knowing the language will allow you to see and do things that many tourists cannot.