How to Speak Japanese for Beginners in a Few Simple Steps

Learning a foreign language is often associated with high-order thinking abilities or extreme intelligence. However, after you learn how to speak Japanese for beginners, you will have an entirely different approach to the whole language-learning matter.

There is no such thing as a “difficult” language. Nonetheless, Japanese has somehow found its way to the hall of notoriety, due to its alleged complexity. Let’s take a look at the following step-by-step method that will set you on the right track and have you mastering the basics of the language, much sooner than you expected.

Learn About the Nature of the Language

Too many people freak out when it comes to learning Eastern languages because they look like nothing they know. The elusive language learner, in fact, will feel that any attempt at acquiring ANY foreign language is too challenging a task for them.

Fortunately, the optimistic learner-to-be will be interested in knowing that Japanese is far more simple to learn that one would expect. To begin with, the entire language is made up of only 46 distinct sounds, which is much more simplified than other more “phonetic” languages. On the other hand, it is true that Japanese relies on many different subtleties that will require several years to master.

One of the greatest challenges that any novel learner is bound to come across involves getting used to a different writing system. At first, it is natural for you to confuse some of the characters. This will often happen until you get familiar with them. Confusion often stems from the fact that this language makes use of two different syllabaries; Hiragana and Katakana. Another feature that makes Japanese especially difficult for English speakers is word order. Whereas in English, the standard sentence word order is usually Subject + Verb +Object, in Japanese it is more like Subject +Object + Verb; whatever!

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Learning the Basics

Learning how to speak Japanese for beginners can be a difficult and daunting task. Once you have acknowledged that Japanese is a whole new language to you and that in many ways, it is very different from your mother tongue you can begin to practice the first communicational tools you may need to use shortly. Start by learning a few greetings and salutations. Luckily, the web is full with interesting and useful sites that will help you carry out your task more effectively.

Some of the most helpful first phrases include personal presentations and general greetings. Together with the acquisition of these phrases, you can begin to learn a bit more about the different cultural meanings associated to each greeting, as well. Remember that learning a language is much more than just learning the actual words; there are so many cultural connotations to pay attention to, especially in the Japanese culture.

Move on to Short Conversations

You will be surprised to learn that just with the help of a few phrases, you are now able to move on to short conversations that can help you engage in small talk, in the event of a trip or a near encounter with Japanese tourists, for example.

A good starting point is always yourself and exchange of personal information. Another all-time favorite is the weather and traveling conditions –though this last subject may elicit responses that you are not yet able to deal with.

But of course, linguistic experts get it right when they claim that the best type of exchanges you can aspire to engage in concerns functions, such as shopping for a present, eating out or parking your car, among many other essentials.

One of the pros of these pre-rehearsed exchanges is that you will feel natural and have something to say when the time comes. The bad news is that you have no –or very small control- whatsoever over the other people’s responses, so be ready to say “I don’t understand” when the time comes.

Learn the Numbers

Since figures pop up all over the place when you are traveling to a foreign country (timetables, prices, hotel rooms), you will want to master the numbers in Japanese, too. Although this piece of advice may sound trite to you, it is basic that you are able not only to understand but also make use of numbers accurately.

Keep in mind that numbers are written in Kanji –Japanese writing system that makes use of Chinese characters- and are pronounced using a different variation of the original 46 sounds.

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Go on to More Complex

Once you feel comfortable on how to speak Japanese for beginners, you should move on to more complex situations that require a major effort on your part. For example, put yourself in a situation in which you will need to use the language to communicate something a bit more advanced.

Besides, moving on to another level will challenge what you already know so much so that you will find yourself asking for more information or looking for more advanced help. This will help you keep the motivation level high, and motivation is vital to success on any language learning occasion.

Learn About Japanese Pronunciation and Variations on Japanese Sounds

You will soon learn that Japanese writing presents some strokes that mean that these words should be pronounced with an additional sound that can be placed within four different categories. If you are to master the language, you should begin to pay attention to these aspects early in your training.

As with many languages, English for example, you will find that intonation plays a vital role when it comes to conveying meaning. Pay careful attention to these subtleties and again, practice as much as you can. Since Japanese pronunciation is based not so much on intonation, but on a pitch, you will find that different words mean different things because of the presence of pitch or not.

If you are planning on becoming fluent, you should pay attention to pitch variations if you are to become a fluent and accurate Japanese speaker.

What about getting an instructor? You may be wondering what it is with the DIY approach to Japanese learning. Truth be known, finding a right language teacher is still the best way to succeed at learning a language, but still, there are useful tips that you can follow if you want to learn how to speak Japanese for beginners.

5 Best Cities to Visit in Japan to Learn About Its History

Best Cities to Visit in Japan

Japan is one of the most unique countries in the world, which millions of people visit every year. Usually, tourists come to see Tokyo and other major cities, but those hungry for knowledge should focus on best cities to visit in Japan for learning about the culture and history of the Land of the Rising Sun.

With over 100 million people living in it, Japan is 10th most populous country in the world. The country spreads on exactly 6,852 islands, meaning that you would need a whole lifetime to visit all of the interesting tourist spots. But, if you’re a history buff, certain places must be on your itinerary. To help you out, here are five best cities to visit in Japan to get a genuine insight into this country’s spirit.

1. Kyoto

For more than a thousand years, Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan, which is why almost every corner of the city testifies about its glorious past. In fact, one-fifth of all National Treasures of Japan are located inside the city boundaries. Some of the sites you must not miss include Kamigamo Shrine, Tō-ji, Ryōan-ji, Nijō Castle, and Nishi Honganji.

Still, the city is not all about the past. Today, Kyoto is a modern city with nearly 1.5 million residents. The city’s industry is blossoming, making Kyoto one of the most important cities on the island of Honshu. In today’s Japan, Kyoto is a sort of capital of traditional festivals. If you are visiting Japan in summer, make sure to stay in Kyoto for the Gion Matsuri festival, which features promotion of traditional Japanese foods and crafts. The festival lasts whole July and is crowned with a massive street parade.

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2. Sapporo

The host-city of 1972 Olympics is one of the most-vibrant cities in Japan, yet somehow it flies under the radar of most tourists from abroad. But, Sapporo is definitely worth a visit, especially if you want to witness the life of ordinary people in modern-day Japan. Although there are some historical landmarks dating back to the ancient time, Sapporo’s birth is actually related to the mid-19th century. In fact, this is one of the youngest cities in Japan, which is seen by its carefully planned architecture.

When visiting Sapporo, the best thing you can do is wander around the town as that way you’ll get an authentic insight into the life in Japan. Feel free to go bit further away from the crowd if you wish to try real Japanese food, instead of what’s served in fast food restaurants in the city center.

With a good meal, comes a good beer, so don’t waste an opportunity to try one of the most famous beers from Japan, which is named after the city. In fact, you can also visit the Sapporo Brewery, which was built more than 140 years ago.

3. Himeji

You might’ve not even heard about Himeji, but this city is where you’ll find true examples of traditional Japanese architecture. The city is located in the southern part of the Honshu Island, in an area that is known for amazing beaches. Still, the history is the number one thing that brings travelers to Himeji.

One of the most significant buildings in Japanese history, the Himeji Castle is situated above the city and is considered the finest example of traditional castle architecture in the country. The castle itself is composed of 83 different buildings, all built between early 14th century and the year 1618.

4. Hiroshima

When it comes to the history of Japan and in fact, the whole planet, the biggest scar was left in 1945, when the city was a site of a nuclear attack. Despite being almost completely burned to the ground, the city rose from the ashes, becoming the 11th-most populous city in the country. Still, despite coming back from the dead, Hiroshima still has lots of reminders of the war.

This is one of the best cities to visit in Japan as it is bound to leave a strong impression on you. You can learn more about the atomic bombing of the city and pay your respect to the victims by visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the park of the same name. In fact, the later one is the home of the Peace Pagoda, built in mid-1960s, almost entirely of steel.

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5. Tokyo

You can’t make a list of best cities to visit in Japan, without including its capital and the biggest city, Tokyo. The metropolis is without doubt one of the most interesting cities on the planet. It is home to nearly 14 million people, which means that Tokyo never sleeps. In fact, whatever you might be interested in, you will surely find it in this city – Tokyo is Japan’s center of culture, entertainment, sport, and so on.

In order to get just a tiny grip on what Tokyo has to offer, you would need to spend at least a month in the city. Among the parts of Tokyo, that you should not miss is the Roppongi, a mundane district with hundreds of museums and art galleries, but also cafes, bars, and nightclubs. If history is your focus, make sure to visit the Sensō-ji, a temple constructed back in the 7th century.

How to Experience the Real Japan?

Japan is a country that has too much to offer, so a regular 2-week holiday will not quench your thirst for exploration. Instead, if you are hungry for knowledge, you should think about moving to Japan for some time. This way, you will be able to check out all of the best cities to visit in Japan, but also to learn about Japanese culture, firsthand.

If the finances are what’s stopping you from achieving your dream of living in Japan, you should know that there are ways not only to save money while traveling Japan, but also to make some. You should look into the possibility of enrolling in one of many working holiday programs or think about teaching English in Japan.