What it Feels Like Studying Japanese in my 20s

It’s harder than I thought. Sometimes, I feel like I’m no longer capable of learning it because perhaps my brain doesn’t work like it used to anymore. Is it really due to the fact that I’m not getting any younger (going 29 this year)? Is it the language itself? Or is it just a lack of motivation? Living here should be enough motivating force for me, but it’s not how I feel. I have this dream of speaking Japanese fluently so I could work in a field where my language ability is required. How challenging it would be, I said to myself.

Before I came here, I felt the excitement thinking about learning the language but the feeling started to dwindle the moment I saw the big picture. I feel like I’m facing a big rock. Breaking it into pieces is a stupid thing to do, I thought. Why would I let myself be in that situation when I could just make a turn and walk away from it? But then again, it’s the only way to get to where I would want to be.

Japanese is quite intimidating. Memorizing hundreds of kanji, remembering words that are sometimes difficult to pronounce, grasping grammatical rules that are sometimes confusing are wearing me down. It may sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not. I don’t want to come across as a whiner. I’m only stating facts that some people may not agree with. It’s no concern of mine. What concerns me is the fact that I’ve been losing the fire that ignites me to study the language even when I’ve been given the privilege to learn it. Knowing the root of it is what I’m trying to find out.

I don’t want to put blame on anything. I guess it’s just me. Maybe this is just a period that’s trying to give me a lesson. Maybe this is the part of a song playing on air that’s hard to catch but when you listen to it again and again, you realize that it’s actually a beautiful song. Okay then, I’ll let it play on repeat until it makes sense to me.

If there’s anyone out there that shares the same sentiment, hang in there!

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115 thoughts on “What it Feels Like Studying Japanese in my 20s

  1. I can totally understand what you are going through! I must say, I am very new to this. But the struggle is real. At the moment, I am stuck with learning Hiragana and Katakana and honestly, I am consciously trying to ignore the fact that I’ll have to learn Kanji, someday!

    The thought of Kanji itself scares me! 😀 But have to do this to keep me motivated!


  2. Ah! What a fresh read! You’re not alone. I tried to learn Japanese and had extramural classes before. My enthusiasm was very high at first but later on dwindled. I don’t feel as motivated as before. I seem to found a couple of reasons why. One, I got overwhelmed by the sheer number of words you need to learn to at least communicate at the basic level. Not to mention the Kanji and their alternate readings when you combine them to form other words. The second, they have so many rules in grammar especially many other forms, negatives forms and so on and so many uses of the same particles that makes you very confused most of the time. Three would probably be the pressure you get whenever you try to learn faster or maybe, at a rate where the class would want to dictate where you should be at that time. I have been, to this day, still processing in about a minute every word while translating what I have listened to. Not to mention, I can’t decipher what I have heard 90% of the time. These got me thinking why. The answered I got was I forgot the reason I wanted to learn Japanese. I wanted to communicate. I wanted to translate, to write articles, essays, and maybe in the future a short story in Japanese. I would also want to at least be able to make an English, or even a Filipino subtitle of maybe an Anime title. (This is just wishful thinking though.) And second, I feel, if I don’t get pressured in the schedule of learning Japanese, it would make me more enjoy learning it therefore making me learn it faster. I hope this helps. If you have any other tips, please feel free to let me know. I’m also in dire need to motivate myself again especially in this time of pandemic. Cheers! Stay safe and well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot! These days, I try to learn words everyday and post them on my Facebook page. I created the page so I’d be obligated and motivated to learn and then share on my page. So far it’s working for me. 😀
      Stay safe and sound!


  3. Japanese is quite challenging. You need to have a strong interest and motivation to be able to read and write. Speaking is a bit easier if you are already in Japan. Being in an environment that speaks the language is a great advantage. You hear it everyday. You’ll eventually be able to grasp words and eventually use them with ease. If you have Japanese friends, try to speak Japanese when you hangout with them. For more fun, you and your husband can have a mini Japanese session every day. This way, it will be a lot less stressful. It won’t feel like “studying”. My mom(Fil) and dad (Japanese) speak only Japanese at supper time. This is their way of language practice.
    Don’t worry about age. My SO (Canadian) started studying Korean when he was about your age. I just started studying French and I’m 33. Motivation is one of the keys for successful language learning. Have fun with Japanese!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the input! I will try harder.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m coming to terms with the reality of studying Japanese’s at this time as well. The task is certainly an extremely distant and surely daunting endeavor, but the payout, despite sacrifice, hair-pulling nausea, and all those late nights, is endless. Endlessly rewarding, endlessly evolving. The closer we come to our ears and tongues (pertaining to Japanese) the closer we can be to the people. To the culture, the heart, the narrative, the lives. Such bloody hard work but on the off chance that we make it we shall never give up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a refreshing thing to read. Thanks a lot!


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