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Advice on studying in Japan and Finances 2008/9/4 11:21
Hello all,

I'm having a difficult time deciding how to approach something I want to do, and would like some advice. I will try to keep this brief.

I have a strong desire to study and obtain a degree in Japan. I have been to Japan twice and loved it, I would like to stay there for the long-term and immerse myself in Japanese culture. But I am having some problems.

I am in the military, and will separate in approximately 9 months. I should have around $10,000 saved at that time. Being a member of the service, I now get upgraded educational benefits, which will pay for my tuition and provide me with a monthly stipend. So financing the undergraduate studies is no problem.

My main barrier to preventing me from continuing is Japanese language proficiency. I realize that I need to be quite fluent to take college classes in Japan. But I am perplexed on how to do this in a reasonable amount of time.

Attending a language school in Japan, without working part-time is expensive. Would that be something you recommend? Or should I work two jobs to save the money I need? Has anyone had success speaking, reading, and writing Japanese through self-study?

I am 23 years old, and I would love to get started as soon as possible. I appreciate any of your input.

by Xerexus  

Teach yourself!!! 2008/9/5 00:03

I taught myself Japanese over the course of a year and a half, because I studied long and hard. After that, I met my now fiancee, who, after speaking to him every day on the phone and in person when I was in Japan, helped me increase my rate of learning immensely.

What I suggest is: Go to Borders or Barnes and Nobles, go to the language section, and buy textbooks. Just a crapload of them. Don't forget that you'll need a verb book to help-- I suggest a nifty helper called 501 Japanese Verbs, because it has 501 verbs conjugated completely, formal and informal conjugations included. Also, get a Japanese-English dictionary.

Study grammar and memorize how to read and write Hiragana and Katakana at the very least, since learning the Kanji takes a lot more time and practice. Many books will teach them to you in one chapter, and after that, you'll have to know them to read anything on the pages. They'll teach you to read Kanji the exact same way-- for that, I suggest Elementary Japanese by Yoko Hasegawa.

After you've studied a number of chapters, you'll want to work on picking out words and phrases. Buy movies and music from Japan, watch Anime online in Japanese-- do anything, just to start picking out words and phrases and working on getting that down, because when you can pick out where words begin and end, you can look them up and learn even more vocabulary.

For music, check out Gackt, Bump of Chicken, Spitz, Yui, Koda Kumi, Home Made Kazoku, Ellegarden, et cetera.

For movies, look up Hayao Miyazaki and watch his anime movies (any of his DVD's that you buy has the Japanese audio on it!), Moon Child, Ringu or Ju-On (if you're into horror films).

It'll cost a couple hundred or more for everything, but in all honesty, if you just have the desire and the patience to learn, you get a major pay off in the end. And if you live in Japan for any length of time, you'll speed up the learning process because you're constantly working on it, which helps immensely.

I hope I helped!
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