Japanese is one of those languages that just seems impossible to learn. Many people are put off right away just by the different alphabet and then they are further misled by myths around culture and tradition. Just a quick Google will give countless ways to visit Japan without a smattering of the language. A further look will find a number of pages explaining why not to learn to speak Japanese. BUT, it is all total madness, the language is not impossible to learn, the traditions and culture are not difficult to understand and there are countless reasons why speaking Japanese makes a vacation to Japan so special.
Think of Japan and most people what comes to mind are atomic bombs, Honda and Mount Fuji all surrounded by cherry blossoms. Sure, these are all aspects that are a part of Japan, and for the narrow minded non-Japanese-speaking tourist, this very much all they will see. However, Japan is a country, a group of islands well worth exploring, and language opens up a rich tapestry full of colourful culture and people who are proud of their country.
Geographically, Japan may not be a large country, but true to everything Japanese, the country sure packs in a lot. From natural wonders to high tech entertainment, Japan has it all, and by speaking the language, as a tourist you can head off the beaten track with confidence.
One of the first things language opens up in Japan is travel, and more importantly, conversation while traveling. The Japanese Bullet Train is known worldwide for its speed and the amazing natural beauty is races through. With an understanding of Japanese, conversation with fellow passengers becomes easier, and locals will soon start to tell you more about the places you are shooting through. Gentle and friendly conversation will soon demonstrate just how proud the Japanese are of their country.
Eating out can often be a challenge, especially when exploring the less frequented areas of cities such as Tokyo or Kawasaki. Very often fast food cooked up in front of you seems very tempting but knowing how to order it, and not just order, but how you want it cooked sends people back to KFC. Language opens up the real Japan, and new tastes, smells and experiences become part of your visit where others may miss out. Eating and conversation go hand in hand and mealtimes becomes very enjoyable.
However, there are some quirky places to visit, and these will of course come up in conversation. Places that do not feature on the conventional 7-day bus tour of Japan or the 3-night stopover in Tokyo make Japan a place you must visit. Crazy places like the Bunny Café, not far from Tokyo, where you are invited to befriend a rabbit is a must. Stroking rabbits is considered therapeutic and for a small extra cost, you can even dress up your chosen bunny to help you relax more. Where else in the world would this be normal? Only by speaking Japanese is there any real chance you will ever discover it.
Japan is full of strange, quirky or just extremely beautiful attractions. One of the weirdest and a disconcerting and growing trend is what are called Maid Cafes. These are peculiar eateries where speaking Japanese can be very useful with girls dressed in maid outfits serve smiley faces, hello kitty and teddy bear shaped ice creams and treats. Almost unexplainable to an outsider it soon becomes clear why speaking Japanese is useful.
Only by speaking Japanese can anyone truly appreciate Japan and its people. The strange and often outrageous attractions are the ying to the yang of the peaceful lakes, caves, mountains and natural beauty Japan has to offer. To get the balance of everything in Japan, learning to speak Japanese is a must and heartily recommended. Contact VLLC for information on how they can help you start on your Japanese language journey.
Travelling is an exciting opportunity which can be enhanced by learning the language before you go. This blog contains some interesting articles about language and travel.