Monday, September 20, 2010

Studying Nihongo

Although Japanese is one of the more difficult languages in the world to learn and Fluency requires thousands of hours of study, there are just so many reasons for studying Japanese.

Learning another language gives the learner the ability to step inside the mind and context of that other culture. Without the ability to communicate and understand a culture on its own terms, true access to that culture is barred. Lack of intercultural sensitivity can lead to mistrust and misunderstandings, to an inability to cooperate, negotiate, and compromise.

Though it's possible to travel to Japan without speaking the native language, your experience will be largely shaped by your ability or inability to see beyond the surface of the culture.

When you lack the ability to communicate in the native language, you can not fully participate in day-to-day life, understand the culture, or communicate with the people.

When you know the language, you have the comfort of being able to successfully navigate all sorts of situations, like order meals in restaurants, ask for and understand directions, find accommodations and perhaps negotiate cheaper prices, and meet and talk with natives, to name only a few.

You will be able to communicate more completely and have a deeper, more satisfying travel experience. Your language ability will allow you to see and do things that many visitors cannot.

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