Learning a foreign language is the key to unlocking the door to another culture. One can learn about another culture by seeing pictures or hearing sounds, but one doesn’t really know what the culture is like until “stepping into the room.” Learning a foreign language will open the door to see what another part of the world is about. When opening the door to Japan with Japanese language, what is waiting on the other side of the door? Japan is a tiny little spot on the map. However, if you look around, Japan is everywhere. You can find Japanese automobiles everywhere, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Lexus, and more. Car tires are made by Japanese companies: Yokohama, Bridgestone etc. Electronic items like Toshiba, Panasonic, Sony, Nintendo, etc. You might not have noticed, but “TOTO” toilets, YKK zippers on jeans and jackets, and “Sun Star” dental floss are Japanese products readily found in the U.S.. After one semester of Japanese study, you will be able to understand one of three kinds of Japanese characters: Hiragana. You will be thrilled to be able to read Japanese letters in manuals for house items, on clothing, and, of course, in video games. Also, you will be able to pick up Japanese words in Japanese Anime. After a few semesters of Japanese, you will be able to understand the third kind of Japanese writing: Kanji (Chinese Characters). You will be able to read and understand the meaning of someone’s Kanji Tattoos. You probably can laugh at the nonsense of tattoos that are written incorrectly. 。゚(゚^∀^゚)゚。. By the way, “Emoji” is also from Japan! Not only is it fun to learn Japanese, but knowing the Japanese language can also open up your future. My previous students are English teachers, a company worker in Japan, a government worker in Japanese relations in Washington D.C., a Japanese, local government worker, a translator for auto industries, a popular YouTuber, a cartoonist etc….. You cannot imagine how learning the Japanese language might lead you to a very bright future!! Would you like to go on an adventure in Japanese with us?

by Michiyo Buckwalter

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