Japanese is a very strange foreign language for European people. – Isamu Akasaki

I have, besides school, been taking Japanese classes once a week! The classes have been pretty light-hearted and a mix of culture and language learning, but it has sparked my interest in the language again. I do feel like I have started to remember hiragana a bit better and actually recognizing the right symbols for once. I have also been using Duolingo as a support and it does help quite a bit, even if I haven’t gotten very far.

So why have I now suddenly gotten back into it? Mainly because I’m not learning it alone and I have started to watch anime again more regularly. I also follow the Abroad in Japan podcast and youtube channel so I keep my interest alive a bit better. I have also started thinking about what to do when I graduate and I figured that if I can’t find work (which I hope I will, but one never knows) I would start studying Japanology. I have always secretly dreamed about that but figured it would be too hard to get any work within the field.

I did study the language back in high school, but back then it didn’t really go anywhere. This time around I really like the teacher and the way she teaches through the course so I don’t mind having a slower pace. I also still have my old books, so if I ever want to sprint ahead a bit I can just pick them back up again. My SO also studied Japanese briefly during his studies as his foreign language, so I can pick up his books too if I want something different.

This time I have also tried to commit in other ways than just a course. As mentioned I have the Duolingo app, I also downloaded a Japanese keyboard to my phone and am going to a Japanese home cooking class. It’s really nice to have a bunch of things to do that support me learning the language and it makes it so much easier! I am learning together with a friend as well so that I’m not alone and have someone to talk to once we get that far.

Sadly this week I had the last class for the semester, but luckily there was enough interest so there will be more in the spring! In case any of you are interested the course is run by Vaasa Opisto. If you are lucky there might also be a new starter class next autumn if enough people ask for it.

Do you have any tips for learning a new language? Anything that has helped you especially?

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