Studying Japanese

No need for a pros and cons list. Let us show you the Japanese is the right choice for you.

What does studying Japanese involve?


Japanese usually tops the charts of difficult languages. But this should not discourage anyone interested in Japanese. Especially in the beginning, one can be charmed by the logical structure of this language. This is due to the absence of usual grammatical categories, common in Indo-European languages. It brings clarity, yet, on the other hand, a certain level of ambiguity as well. But practice makes perfect.
The challenging aspects of Japanese are, for example, the sophisticated system of expressing politeness or the set phrases for every situation imaginable, like introduction, giving gifts or asking where the toilet is.

Writing ability

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when studying a foreign language, such as Japanese, is the writing system. There are several types of script intertwined throughout the text which is like a jigsaw puzzle. First of all, the syllabaries (hiragana and katakana) are crucial for any attempt to master Japanese, but they can be managed pretty quickly. The Kanji characters usually scare people off. But this complex writing system is what gives Japanese its uniqueness. And it would be a shame to be denied this layer of a beautiful language that Japanese definitely is.

Use of Japanese

The actual use always depends on what the goal of studying Japanese is for every single student. The interest in exotic languages, namely Japanese, has been constantly increasing in recent years. The motivation of the language-learners may vary. It can be an effort to improve one’s professional profile, the desire to travel independently, the interest in history or modern culture and, of course, mastering a new language can also be just a hobby for one’s own amusement. In any case, Japanese is a source of many curious facts and can enrich your life significantly.

We recommend that beginners start by studying hiragana and katakana. Any Japanese word can be written with them.

The language is not everything. Get closer to Japan through cultural events and workshops. Visit our Events calendar.

What does studying Japanese bring?

Meet (the) Japanese

Most of us cannot tell the difference between Asian languages when hearing them. If you listen more carefully and know at least a little bit about them, you should be able to distinguish at least Japanese and Chinese.

Knowing Japanese can be an advantage while seeking a new job or when going to study abroad. There are also many other positive effects. Every Asian language is closely connected to culture. Therefore studying Japanese is an insight into the Japanese way of thinking and how Japan works. For instance, there are words that don’t have an adequate equivalent in other languages and need proper explanation, which is often an interesting fact about Japan itself.

Enjoy stepping up

The Japanese are known for their politeness and easy-going nature. Even a clumsy attempt to speak Japanese is rewarded by the Japanese with enthusiasm and admiration, which can raise the motivation to study. A mere “konnichiwa” is granted to be accepted with applause.

A beginner’s first achievements are being able to read a sign here, a product name there etc. You can feel well-deserved joy when you decipher a taxi sign, which is read as TAKUSHII. And there are plenty of such amusing tidbits in Japanese waiting for you to be discovered.

Widen your horizons

Putting the fun aspect of studying of Japanese aside, effort is crucial as well. With a little effort, the student is soon able to follow basic conversation, do some shopping or order a meal in a restaurant. Reading newspapers is a bit trickier task, but understanding manga comic books or parts of movies is within grasp for diligent intermediate students.

In addition, acquiring new vocabulary, grammar, phrases and combining Chinese characters are an effective intellectual training and it develops mental processing. Japanese is such a complex language; you won’t need any crosswords to sustain your mental health if you stick to it long enough.

Is it worth asking how long it will take to learn it?

Humans are impatient by nature. It would be ideal to have a deadline for mastering Japanese. Once again, it depends on what we mean by mastering a language. It can be either gaining basic communication skills useful for travelling or becoming a top-level interpreter. There are several levels of knowledge, each of them suitable for a specific usage.

There are also other factors to consider, such as previous experience with an Asian language, type of dominant memory and so on. Naturally, it is essential how frequently and how intensively one studies.
Therefore there is no set schedule. It is better to set some partial goals (e.g. finishing a textbook, passing a language exam) and try to reach them one by one.

Can Japanese be self-taught?

Japanese is not forbidden to anyone and you don’t have to learn it with a teacher. However, since it is a very popular language, there are too many sources. So at times a beginner can get confused and find it difficult to choose an appropriate study material.

The internet is the main source of confusion. Incorrect combinations of various transcriptions and many other errors come from unverified internet pages. Even learning how to write by copying a printed text may be problematic, because some webpages could use a font which differs from the standard handwritten style. Consequently, even selecting the right online dictionary may come as an issue.

There are some skillful Japanese self-taught speakers, unfortunately, they are very scarce. Questions regarding basic principles of Japanese, introduction to the writing system, choosing the most suitable textbook are tasks always easier to tackle with the advice of an experienced teacher. The teacher guarantees that the student does not have to re-learn the basics due to previously acquired bad habits. The teacher also guides the students through the obstacles that Japanese may present, such as levels of politeness or characteristics of the spoken and written language. These areas can be rather puzzling for self-taught learners and solving them correctly will ensure natural delivery.

And where to start?

In case the previous lines convinced you that Japanese is the language for you, there are several methods how to approach it.

Those, who would rather think everything through thoroughly and want to know what is ahead of them, can sneak a peek into our e-shop with study materials and go through proven and carefully chosen books and other visual aids.

Those, who are ready to speak Japanese right away, can sign up for a language course. The choice is up to you, depending on your preferences: there are group courses where you can meet others who share your passion, or individual courses adjusted to your particular needs. The range of offer is wide and our door is open to everyone.
If you are unsure about the right course level for you, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will gladly assist you with choosing a suitable level, a form of study and useful materials.