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No Fun, No Good: You Must Enjoy Learning Japanese

November 5, 2006
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You can enjoy learning Japanese. In fact, you must enjoy yourself. Otherwise, what’s the point? Why make learning Japanese an exercise in masochism for yourself? The key is to do/use things you (already) like.

A lot of the things you typically like doing may not seem (or even be) very productive. They may even be weaknesses. For example, I like reading comics, watching Hollywood movies, listening to rap music, playing video games, browsing Wikipedia articles of the most random sort, eating candy, and cetera.

It turns out that all these things and many more enjoyable activities in life use language in either spoken or written form, and they can, in principle, all be done in Japanese (with the exception of watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart :().

If you lack certain strengths or have a lot of weaknesses, then exploit your weaknesses for the purpose of learning Japanese. If you like playing video games, watching movies or even playing sports, simply make sure you do all those things in Japanese and/or with Japanese people (I played with a soccer team made up entirely of Japanese students plus me; too bad I don’t like soccer). You could go running and play Japanese music while you do it…there’s enough stuff out there for all your tastes.

This all sounds like a game, and it is, but at its core, it’s also about responsibility. There neither time nor room here to blame classes for sucking, teachers for boring lessons or classmates for being stupid and dragging you down. Even though all that may be true, you are responsible for making sure you enjoy yourself while learning Japanese. No one else is.

There is no such thing as something being “boring but effective”. There are no “language-learning vegetables” that taste bad but that you have to eat because they’re good for you; classes have been peddling that lie for years. Of course you may need to go out of your way to learn Japanese, but if the methods you’re using bore you, then those methods need to go.

So, have fun at learning Japanese. Because having fun won’t just be fun, but it will also ensure that you choose to do it again and again (repetition). In fact, you’ll want to do Japanese so much, that you’ll need to pull yourself away from it in order to do things like take showers — and even then, you can hook up some Japanese audio to play while you wash yourself.

When learning Japanese is fun for you, you’ve practically won already, because you’ll readily choose to make it the center of your life.

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10 Responses to No Fun, No Good: You Must Enjoy Learning Japanese

  1. [...] keep yourself on track, you need to find stuff that’s fun. As Khatsumoto says, There is no such thing as something being “boring but effective”. If it’s not fun, don’t do it because you’ll just kill your desire. Usually i try [...]

  2. AJATT for Chinese on August 28, 2009 at 19:31

    [...] will work for most any language, Chinese included, with just a few minor tweaks. The core — having fun, and running sentences through an SRS — work no matter what you’re [...]

  3. [...] mentioned Japanese learning, because I’m an addict. I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy learning Japanese more and playing games is a great one. However, most games either have too much 漢字 (with no [...]

  4. [...] movies, playing games, chatting, reading cartoons; but all in their target language. Why? Because fun gets done. Raw exposure beats intensive study any day of the week. I have yet to meet a fluent speaker of any [...]

  5. [...] And have fun! [...]

  6. The Life of Game | Spanish Only on April 20, 2012 at 10:34

    [...] Fun gets done. [...]

  7. Mass(ively) Effect(ive) | Spanish Only on May 27, 2012 at 12:55

    [...] I’ve spent XXX hours (censored out of shame) on this game, and can’t stop. It’s too fun. When you’re completely addicted to something in your L2, you’re winning. As soon as I [...]

  8. [...] to what you are trying to master and make sure you are having fun.   As Khatzumoto explains, fun gets done.  All the words I collected had some kind of fun memory attached to it.  Bob and weave with [...]

  9. […] secret is to use things or do things that you already like. Khatzumoto gives more detail: “If you lack certain strengths or have a lot of weaknesses, then exploit your weaknesses […]

  10. Shimane PA Resources on March 20, 2014 at 11:03

    […] No Fun, No Good; You Must Enjoy Learning Japanese […]

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