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Jul 15, 2011

Mining For Japanese Gold

Learning Japanese is a lot like mining for gold. You're the lone miner of a small tunnel and you're armed with only a pick-axe and your own determination. Chipping through the rock walls you find small flecks of gold embedded in the stone - in order to get the gold you'll have to do some work and break away the useless bits. You focus for a few minutes on that single rock and after a bit of effort you're rewarded with a small piece of gold. This single bit is worth next to nothing, but you can see more gold twinkling in the rock wall. You move on to the next one and focus your efforts once more.

By the end of the day you have a small pouch of gold chips. By the end of the week, a decent sized bag, and after a month you've got enough to make an entire bar of gold. Each single piece of gold required a focused effort to gain what seemed a trivial reward, but with each small piece the overall value increased. This is exactly like learning Japanese.

With Japanese, your gold is knowledge. The mountain and mining tunnel represent your adventures through Japanese media or time spent interacting in Japanese. Most often your pick-axe is a dictionary, and the rocks surrounding the gold represent the effort you'll need to learn. Just as with trying to separate the gold from the rock, you'll have to focus your efforts to learn each word or grammar structure - and then the gold is yours forever.

Just as with the bits of gold, each little piece of Japanese you learn will seem minuscule on its own, but when you put it all together you'll find that you're quite wealthy. If you just keep focusing on getting that next little piece of knowledge, that next gold chip, then you'll eventually find that you don't need to work so hard for each piece. The deeper into that mountain of Japanese you get, the more gold you'll find – and from that point on you're set. So just dig in and keep chipping away at that wall, because you'll find yourself rich in the knowledge of Japanese in no time.

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1 comment:

  1. I couldn't help but think of Minecraft. Filling your inventory with Japanese Gold then falling into lava on the way home would be awful, good thing it's not part of your analogy.