I am starting to learn Japanese, not for fluency, but for travel.

This post was originally posted on Babelhut.

Within the last few months, I decided that I am finally going to get some international travel under my belt. I’m going to save my money, and I’m going to Japan. The actual trip probably won’t happen until next year, but it’s going to happen, and I’ve already made good progress in saving up for the trip. Why Japan? Mostly because Thomas, my friend and fellow Babelhut.com writer, lives there with his wife and child. What better way to travel internationally than to get someone you know to show you around?

Because of this decision, my girlfriend and I have decided to start learning Japanese. Spanish is still my primary language of study, and that won’t change, so we plan to only study Japanese for one hour a week. We don’t intend to become fluent speakers, we just want to be able to get around. We just started this and have only studied twice now, but so far we have been having fun.

We are focusing mostly on learning to communicate verbally, and in our first sesssion we sampled both Carl Kenner’s free Japanese audio course, and the Michel Thomas Method Japanese for Beginners. Carl Kenner’s course teaches writing along with speaking, while the Michel Thomas course is focused entirely on speaking. We found that Carl Kenner moved a little to quickly for us to keep up, and decided to stick with the Michel Thomas course for now.

I was surprised at just how much fun learning a brand new language together with my girlfriend is. We both laugh at our silly mistakes, while simultaneously being very encouraging to each other. During our second session, we needed to say “kore o kudasai,” which means something like “please may I have this?” My girlfriend couldn’t remember how to say it, so I held up a piece of mail and said “correo” which in Spanish means “mail”, but sounds very similar to the Japanese “kore o.” This got a laugh out of her and now she remembers that “kore” means “this” in Japanese.

I hope we continue to have this much fun with Japanese, because we are both looking forward to our next Japanese session!

One last thing. I know it’s been very quiet around here. Thomas and I have been working on something big, and soon we’ll be able to tell you all about it! I’m actually very excited about this, but I can’t say more yet! Stay tuned…