My History of Studying Japanese

Initially I wrote this on my about me page but it was too long for some people to read, I accidentally made it soooo long and decided to put in on a post of it’s own. Normally I don’t like writing long post with little pictures and further more something about myself, but in this case I will make an exception. (I proof read this one but I am pretty sure they are many mistakes, so ignore them or tell me to correct them.)

When I first entered middle school it was compulsory to study a language for at least 1.5 years, I don’t understand why because you don’t really gain much from it. In primary school for 6 years I had compulsory Spanish classes, why? because one of our teachers was Spanish. For 6 years!! and I only know how to count to 20. In the 7th year the Spanish teacher was no more, we had a Vietnamese teacher and all we learn was how to make cold rolls.

Now back to middle school, I had several language choices. Enough with the European languages I thought that they were too boring. So I thought about learning an Asian language after all, I am Asian. So it’s either Chinese or Japanese. I went to an open night and the Japanese teacher looked so interesting so I chose Japanese.

In my 1st term the Japanese teacher was completely different, she was a female and Chinese, not the same guy I saw at open night. Not that there was anything wrong with female teachers, it’s just that I had several bad experiences with female teachers in primary school, there are all scary! In 4th grade I had a teacher who likes to give people the ‘finger’, kick people and lock them up in toilets. Well I don’t know if the locking up of people in toilets are true or a myth, but I have witness the other 2 and been a victim of being kicked and shout at. I cried a lot back then.

Anyway, (got side-tracked again) that Chinese teacher didn’t even know much Japanese herself, I found this out when she took my class for a relief one day in my final year of high school, everyone’s Japanese was superior to her’s lol! After the first team was over I had a new teacher for the rest of the year. It was the teacher I saw on open night! He is Japanese, very friendly and has very entertaining teaching methods. “Haga-sensei”, we called him. Well not really most of the time people just call him Mr. Haga. He was the best teacher I ever had and is probably one of the reasons I had continued to study Japanese.

So later on in the next 1 to 2 years, I can’t exactly remember when but I had another Japanese teacher who was Italian. He would kind of flirt with the girls in my class. I didn’t like him very much and he was not that good of a teacher. I also had the feeling that he didn’t really like me either. In the 3rd year of middle school I had the opportunity to travel to Japan as an exchange student. But only 2 students could go! Out of the 3 applicants, he didn’t select me! Well I deeply apologies for what I am about to say, not to him but to the people reading this, “WHAT A JERK!!” this is the first time I have expressed my feeling about this matter. The other 2 applicants were female, at the time I would say their Japanese was a lot better than mine. I had great potential that he could not see, which Mr. Haga saw, if it was him I have no doubt in my mind that I would have already went. After I heard the news I was shattered, and tried my best to crying inside because at that age and as a male it would be pretty embarrassing to cry , I think I was 16 years old at the time.

The tools I used…

In the final 2 years of high school I had Mr. Haga as my teacher, he was really dedicated to his job. One of his greatest secrets was his age, he said that on the day we graduated he would tell us, but I never did follow up on that. So it still probably one of the world’s greatest secrets lol. In total I had studied Japanese for 5 years the 4 years didn’t really count at all! My Japanese only started to improve in the final year when I watched tons of Japanese dramas.

I didn’t really have the option to study Japanese anymore in University but I have been improving through other methods after graduating from high school. So basically it’s self-study. In the past 1 year of self-study I wouldn’t say that I exactly studied at all. Well I tried to and got lazy… Instead my lifestyle always included something Japanese related. Taking a step further from what I did in high school and will continue doing which is watch a lot of jdorama and listening to jpop. (because I enjoy them so much!) I started interacting with Japanese people online. By myself I have learned many things that were not taught in high school. I have become very interested in Osaka-ben which adds more expression to your average Japanese and the casual way of talking is so much different from what I learned at school.

In the next segment, I don’t know when that will be but I will elaborate more on what methods I used to self-study.

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