Most of you coming to teach here
probably speak little or no Japanese.
A dedicated few may have gone through a couple pages of the introductory
Some of you may have even studied Japanese formally. Don't worry, it
sound like gibberish when you first arrive. You'll mostly be able to
yourself understood, maybe, but if its your first time here, you'll start
wonder if your university didn't play some dirty trick and teach you
instead of Japanese.
One big problem I noticed was my
vocabulary. Sure, I had one after two years
of classes, but it didn't seem entirely relevant. As happens with
are many ways to say the same thing, and the words I'd have picked didn't
at all with the words they were using. Particularly the kids, who
are more likely
to use plain speech and slang. I still have trouble with old people,
who like to
talk to you at random, without introductions, and seem to babble on
polite speech. This is even further confused by the local dialects,
which can have
different intonations, constructions and pronunciation. You probably
notice how much local ben they are actually using. You'll
just wonder why
Japanese is so confoundingly hard to understand.
The Tokyo dialect is taught in
books, but you will get used to the local speech.
I now have a harder time understanding people in Tokyo. If you are
Tokyo, it still sucks because they talk way faster than should be humanly
Being around kids all day, you'll
be hearing them speak Japanese a lot, especially
when you first get here and they're talking about you with their friends.
yourself ahead of time. Being the generous soul I am, I'm giving you
a list of
common words that may or not be buried in your texts, but you will be
them a lot.
to know Japanese words