How to Succeed in your Japanese Studies

Vol. 2 - Melfidan Abdel-Aziz

success3.jpgI was interested in the Japanese language for a long time since I liked watching Japanese animation and didn't like the idea of dubbed voice-overs. I wanted to watch the animation in its original Japanese language. So, I started studying Japanese. Finally it was great to be able to understand the words you hear during a show and know what they mean. I'm still not there 100%, but I can feel good about watching a RAW anime now better then when I started.

For me, I like to watch the anime episode twice. I like watching/listening to it without the subtitles first and see what I can understand. Sometimes I reach for my dictionary to figure out a word that can help me understand the topic of the conversation better. Then when I watch the show the second time, I compare what I understood and what I missed. This way, if the words are used again in a different show, I can understand them immediately.

At one time, I tried writing the dialogue down, but Japanese people speak too fast and some have different accents that makes the words sound different than what I'm learning. It was taking longer to learn that way, so I decided to watch the RAW first. Most of the time, I just listen to the show without watching, this focuses my ability to listen better and comprehend.

I also get books (try the Japanese Foundation library) that have both English and Japanese. These books help me read and recognize the Kanji as well as the structure of the Japanese written sentence either in casual form, or formal one. Seeing the written word is very important as it helps understand the grammar you learn in school. Also, seeing the Kanji repeatedly helps you memorise it better.

One of the most important practices is actually speaking the language. And as they say "Practice makes perfect". So, I try not to miss any of the conversation club events held at school once a month. I wish they were more, but once a month is good for now. Having actual contact with Japanese people and listening to them speak and trying to comprehend them, is a great exercise and is fun to experience. Although every time I confirm attendance to the conversation club event, I regret it and feel too embarrassed to go. But once I am there (and I never cancelled so far), I feel great. There are times were I feel that I improved a lot, others I feel I still need more practice, but I never leave feeling that I should quit. You meet a lot of different types of people and different accents, however, they all understand that you are trying to speak, study and understand a very difficult language and they provide you with great support. Always take a paper and pencil with you, as you get the chance to learn new words and it is great to write them down and try using them later in your school work.

I'm getting more comfortable speaking with my Japanese friends in Japanese and appreciate it when they correct me pronunciation or grammar. It helps immensely and it gives me the confidence and the courage to continue learning. "The End."

(Level 8 Completed in October, 2010)

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