Category Archives: Japanese culture
Death Note is a very popular Japanese manga series in both Japan and the U.S. The story began when Light Yagami, a high-school student picked up a Death Note and realized that he could kill anyone by just writing that person’s name on it. Light began eliminating criminals all around the world with his note in order to create a world with no evil. The world started calling him “Kira”, which means “killer” in Japanese. Things didn’t go as smoothly as he expected when the world-renowned detective L started collaboration with the police to bring Kira to justice. It didn’t take long for L to suspect that Light Yagami was Kira, and Light had to find his way into L’s task force to get rid of his arch enemy. The mind-blowing fight between L, the good, and Kira, the evil makes Death Note one of the greatest manga of all time!
If you are a new Japanese learner and have been asking yourself the same question: “is it really possible to self-study Japanese?”, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. To be honest, I thought it was really insane to think that anyone can learn one of the hardest languages in the world all by themselves without the help of real teachers.
After graduating from college, I decided to challenge myself with this tough goal, and I actually achieved it (in some way). I passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level N2 after 1 year of full-time self-studying, only to realize that it was not THAT big of an achievement as I thought it would have been. I’ll go into details about that later, but first let me tell you exactly how I learned Japanese all by myself and passed the JLPT N2 with the score of 97/180 (the passing mark is 90).
If you are a foreigner who just starts a new life in Japan, you will find yourself lonely in a completely new country and new society. The first thing you want to do is to make friends, with as many people as possible. Making friends with Japanese people not only make you less lonely, it also help you improve your Japanese. How and where do you find Japanese friends? Are they hard to make friends with?
Let me tell you a story of an American friend of mine. He was drunk and fell asleep on a bench in the park. A Japanese couple found him and rushed to him to see if he was okay. They invited him to a restaurant to have breakfast and paid for his meal (he didn’t have a cent on him). They spent hours talking and he said that it was the longest time he ever spoke Japanese. And they were two strangers he met in a park.
Bowing has become a symbol of Japanese people worldwide. When you watch Japanese TV dramas or movies, you might wonder why Japanese people bow that much. But when you live in Japan, you might not see that as often as you think.