Weekend Vid Picks: Learning Japanese, I Really Think So

This week’s Pennsylvania primary confirmed that American politics will continue to be sad and complicated, at least for the time being. And thus the appeal of an extended stay overseas grows. Maybe Japan! It’s a whole other country. As far as I know, their electoral system isn’t at all based on superdelegates. And I love sushi. But what holds me back from making that leap is the language barrier — fortunately, there are plenty of non-conventional approaches to mastering a foreign tongue.

For one thing, so much of our communication with one another is non-verbal, which makes How to Speak Fluent Japanese Without Saying A Word so appealing as a potential lesson plan. Maybe it’s a bit exaggerated in tone. But these basic responses to statements and questions could be helpful, both at home and abroad.

And when it comes to actual words, there are more options. YouTube user Gimmeabreakman has been making videos about Japanese language and culture for a year now, and watching his latest video covering “survival phrases,” I found myself learning a little about how to offer and accept gifts. Perhaps Japanese isn’t so challenging…

But fluent speaker Emily, also known as applemilk1988, is “pretty intense” when it comes to Japanese lessons. And if this is the amount of time and effort I’m going to need to learn the words apple and cat, well, perhaps I overestimated the challenges of the language.

Then again, after watching this clip of what Japanese women learning what they consider to be essential English phrases (including “Take anything you want” and “Spare me my life”)…

…perhaps I’m better off staying home.