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Learning Japanese? hehehe.

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 book. 
 Some of you may have even studied Japanese formally.  Don't worry, it still all
 sound like gibberish when you first arrive.  You'll mostly be able to make
 yourself understood, maybe, but if its your first time here, you'll start to
 wonder if your university didn't play some dirty trick and teach you French
 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 language, there
 are many ways to say the same thing, and the words I'd have picked didn't match
 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 endlessly in
 polite speech.  This is even further confused by the local dialects, which can have
 different intonations, constructions and pronunciation.  You probably won't
 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 going to
 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.  Arm
 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 hearing
 them a lot.

 Good to know Japanese words



  Hey! What time is it in Japan?

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