Learn a Language

Japanese 101

Though I wasn’t able to take JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) this year, it’s not a reason not to prepare for it for next year. In this post, I’ll be sharing how I learned Japanese and some tips for you.

When I moved to Japan in 2009, I only know the basics such as “konnichiwa” and “sayonara”. Since I have zero communication skills, learning the language wasn’t easy for me. I’m used to speak only when asked and never really the type who initiates the first move to socialise. My family moved to Japan in 2008 and being the last one to be able to do so, it placed me at an disadvantage that I’m the least knowledgeable about the language. Another hindrance was, we lived in Kansai area where people usually speak Kansai-ben (a dialect in Japan) and everything in books are made for formal use.

How I studied Japanese for free?

From 2009-2010, I was a fresh grad and being under 22, it was a bad timing to look for “real” work in Japan. What I did to maximise my time and be productive was to study Japanese at my city’s International Friendship Association which provided free Japanese classes every Thursday night. Every Sunday, I joined my sibling’s free Japanese tutorial lessons from a volunteer. Yay! (In case you’re wondering what I do on most days, I used to blog about my outfit a lot that time haha)

How difficult it is to study Japanese?

Well, in comparison to my non-existent French, I learned Japanese easily. I also studied French in uni for about to 2-3 years (I can’t remember any of the things I was supposed to learn) and we paid for that. I even paid for extra classes at Alliance Française de Manille because I thought at that time, I would be moving to France. I’m not saying that Japanese is easy, I’m saying that I learned it better than French. Maybe because, I was living in Japan and I was forced to speak it.

I am not in Japan but I really want to learn Japanese, how? 

Most of my friends who are able to understand Japanese are anime fans (most people laugh at this but it’s true), and they are amazing speakers as well. Well if you’re not an anime fan, there is hope. There are programs you can enrol at such as Lingualift. They offer their lessons at a minimal cost plus they have 14 day trial which I am at right now. Of course, I had to make sure that I love the program before I share it.  And so far so good. I’ll update you more about it soon. Let me know if you’re going to try it, too.


  • Reply
    December 18, 2015 at 3:46 am

    Hello! I’m also learning Nihongo through self-study and online after I graduated in my uni. I also have a Nihongo class back then for 1 year. I just wanna share this website I’m currently in, it’s JapaneseClass.jp it’s an interactive website too, learning while playing. I think you should check this out. 🙂 and this website called nihongomaster as well.

    • Reply
      Ashley Dy
      December 18, 2015 at 3:48 am

      Thank you! I’ll check it out! 🙂

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