You can navigate your way around Japan if you are an English speaker, but things get relatively more straightforward if you can learn some Japanese. Learning Japanese, or any new language for that matter is fun. It will also make you feel that you are integrating better if you are an expatriate and you can make simple conversation in Japanese. Learning a new language if you are an adult is challenging, but that does not mean it cannot be done.
How to Learn Japanese
- Have a clear goal: The first step towards learning Japanese is having a clear intention on how and why you want to do it. Do you want to learn simple conversational words, or are you looking to master the entire language? When you have a clear goal, it becomes easier to measure the progress you are making and improve areas which you are still struggling with.
- Register for a class: One of the easy ways to learn Japanese is to register for classes which teach expatriates. You will not only learn the language, but it will also be a place for you to meet other people. You can either register for a class in your home country before you leave, or you can join once you arrive in Japan.
- Socialise: If you want to learn a foreign language fast, you should socialise and make friends with people who speak it. Go to stadiums, restaurants, markets, and other social places where you are likely to meet people. Do not be shy about talking to people, even when you feel your Japanese is not perfect.
- Avoid romaji: In the Japanese language, learning katakana and hiragana (the alphabets) is the fastest way of learning the language. You should not focus so much on romaji (the roman version of written Japanese) as it is more complex and might slow you down.