A surprisingly easy language to learn. Relatively few people learn Japanese in the West, mainly due to the distances between it and Japan. However, studying it can have great benefits.
  • First, as Japanese is so rare, it is in great demand in the business world. Even a basic understanding of Japanese can set you apart from someone else when applying for a job.
  • Second, if you ever want to travel to Japan, it is essential to know a little Japanese. Kanji is extremely difficult to read and although romaji is being used more widely, kanji is still the most common. Therefore, the only avenue left is to learn it.

Many people think that Japanese is difficult to learn. That is a bit of an old wives' tale. Though like any language, mastering it is hardly easy, to gain basic understanding of Japanese is not difficult.

  • Japanese uses a lot of easily distinguishable sounds. Whereas Chinese dialects seem to use a lot of consonants, Japanese uses more vowels. Therefore, it is easier to pronouce and therefore learn them. There are problems in that some words sound very similar and others can be difficult to pronounce. But that's the same with any language. As a whole Japanese words are quite distinctive.
  • Japanese grammar at a basic level is very easy. No conjugations, easy formations of past and present verbs and so forth. For example, ikimasu (present) changes to ikimashita (past). Easy! Equally, though it can be confusing, persons are easy. The words desu (is/are) can mean "he/she/it is". Desu is one of the most flexible words in the Japanese language.

My advice is to give Japanese a go, especially if you are interested in Japan. It requires dedication and patience but after learning even a little, you will feel very proud of yourself! If you travel to Japan and feel bold enough to use your skills, the locals will be very impressed, even if you are still a beginner. It makes a change from having to try their English on you!