Japanese doesn’t require us to be superhuman. She only wants us to show up. We don’t have to know everything about her, just the next thing. Learning is nothing but a process of connecting what you don’t know to what you do know. So you never have to make any of these giant leaps 2. You’re always taking baby steps — not just at the beginning, but the whole time, the whole way 3. This is why I can look you right in the eye and say that learning Japanese is easy — because you only do easy things. At no point is a difficult, heroic act demanded of you. And nothing is easier than going one step (+1) from where you are (i).
- i is everything you already know.
- +1 is the closest thing to i that you don’t know.
Don’t be a great learner, just a frequent learner. Become a regular at the bar, and everybody will know your name. Visit Japanese frequently, and you’ll know all the frequent nouns..and verbs…and just, you know, phrases; I was trying to be clever here, just let it go lol.
You grow like a tree. And you can grow mighty freaking big. But you’re always there. You don’t grow by jumping from seed to shoot but by simply stretching your current shape out a little further. You don’t teleport, you just amble.
“But that’ll take forever!”, you say.
No. It won’t. It definitely seems that way now. But compounding and snowball effects eventually start to kick in. The irony, though, is that in order for you to reach the point that they do kick in, you need to live, play, act and enjoy yourself as if their existence didn’t matter to you. It’s kind of like how cats and butterflies don’t alight on the laps and noses of people who seem too eager or desperate for them to do so. You’ve got to, paradoxically, care enough to make progress but not care if you’re making progress. A watched pot doesn’t boil and all that. It’s a really weird back and forth with interesting parallels in the the field of seduction.
Don’t go looking for a teleporter. Just start walking and keep walking, and you’ll be there before you even realize it. You’ll one day just be kind of awesome and you won’t be quite sure how exactly it happened, and you won’t even fully believe it yourself. But your environment will force you to realize that you’re a bit of a bada$$ 😉 .
- Hey, just because you don’t like the source of your wisdom and/or find it worthy of mockery, doesn’t make it not true (lol). ↩
- I mean, you can if you want, but that’s never been my style. I’m just not that awesome, I guess. I tell people this all the time without a hint of false humility (and with not a little self-loathing): I’m not smart, just methodical. You don’t need to be smart if you have methods. You don’t need to be strong if you have tools and leverage. You don’t need wings or prayers or levitation if you know how to make and fly a plane. ↩
- It’s as though you get to the Moon by walking the whole time. Not a single Saturn V rocket in sight. No gravity well. No violent lurch to escape velocity. Not even an incline. No kickstart. Just a nice, comfy stroll all the way. ↩