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Mar 22, 2011

All a Matter of Time

In learning Japanese, everything is truly based on time. You can do things to make your studies more efficient, but in the end it really just comes down to spending enough time with the language to know it well. This key truth is one of the reasons that people who take classes to learn a second language come out hardly knowing how to have a conversation or read a book – they haven't actually invested that much time into learning the language. “How can that be?” Well, allow me to explain.

Using the Japanese class I am taking now as a model we'll say that there are five hours a week spent in class studying and using Japanese. Add on to this a few additional hours for doing homework and we come up to about eight or nine hours spent with Japanese. This is actually a rather respectable amount of time compared to the weekend language learners who put in a couple hours every weekend and think they'll get somewhere, but it's nevertheless not enough to get you to fluency in any reasonable time.

On the other hand, an immersion method – like the one I describe in my posts – will turn your entire day into time spent in contact with Japanese. If you really get into immersion (as you should!) and keep Japanese media nearby at all times, you can easily spend the entire day immersed in it – no matter what country you live in. This means that every day you're getting more than ten hours of contact. Which means over the course of the week, you've managed an impressive seventy hours. That's a whole lot more than the eight or nine hours a class learner gets.

Don't forget the best part of an immersion learning method – anything in Japanese counts as studying. Cooking from a recipe in Japanese, watching a Japanese dub of CSI, playing Pokemon, anything and everything Japanese is now your instructor – all you have to do is show up for class. 

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  1. Yes that is a really good method because Japanese is a completely different form writing, in comparison to most of the languages especially the ones that use the alphabet.
    The version of the vista I have is retarded and, there is no JP locale download.

  2. >playing Pokemon

    I plan to get a Japanese version of one of the Pokémon games whenever I'm going to study the language seriously. I learned a lot of English from playing Gold and Yellow.