Why You Should Learn Japanese

TCJ japanese language school Culture
(c) Tokyo Central Japanese Language School / TCJ
Writer's Profile
Writer’s Profile

Bryce was born in California, but raised from the age of 3 near Seattle, Washington. He’s been living in Tokyo for about 7 years, and graduated from Temple University, Japan with degrees in economics and international business. He loves traveling of course, but also cooking, snowboarding, some video games as well. His biggest interest is songwriting/music production, more specifically electronic music… (think Skrillex, Marshmello, Daft Punk, etc.) He also has terrible humor as you’ll notice, but he hopes you’ll enjoy it!

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If you’ve already found inspiration for your adventure in Japan in some of our other articles about all the beautiful nature, bustling cities and relaxing getaways you can find here, maybe you’re wondering how to make the most of your time in this fascinating country.

It goes without saying that whether you’re planning to live here or just to enjoy a few weeks of vacation, having knowledge of the Japanese language will enhance your experience monumentally.

Written English is used throughout the country, mainly in signage, menus, hotels, and various other tourism-related services and locations. However, it cannot be stressed enough that things become much easier, quicker, more enjoyable, and just overall more convenient when you don’t have to rely on a translation app or a helpful soul.

If you’re just here to travel, knowing Japanese will help you connect with locals and find experiences off the beaten path, and maybe even enjoy the regular tourist hotspots in a new way. For those planning to live here, there are even more benefits to be had; trust us when we say that knowing Japanese will save you a lot of time and hassle every day!

Understand and Embrace the Culture

Matcha tea

While many think of Japan as a highly futuristic, tech-driven nation, many things revolve around century-old traditions deeply rooted in the country’s ancient culture. This might make it feel a bit intimidating for those trying to engage in Japanese society, but the language is one of the important keys to unlock and understand the country’s culture as well as its people.

Many things found in traditional Japanese culture have no direct translation, and rather than trying to find an adequate word to describe it in your own language, it’s much better to adopt and accept the Japanese words to fully embrace and understand their meaning. Another interesting cultural quirk is the fact that some English loanwords can take on a whole different meaning when used in Japanese.

Long story short, understanding the Japanese language will also lead to a better understanding of the culture, which will ultimately help you navigate and enjoy the country much more.

An Indispensable Tool for Both Business and Leisure

Business card exchange
Knowing Japanese will set you apart from other people and is an invaluable asset if you want to work in Japan

With only 1/26 of the land mass and 1/3 of the population of the world’s biggest economy – the U.S. – it’s quite incredible that Japan is in fact the 3rd largest economy in the world. This means that knowledge of the Japanese language is a very powerful qualification to have on your resume if you’re an aspiring business person, have a job with ties to Japan, or if you simply dream of working in Japan some day in the future. 

Outside the office, being able to speak Japanese will enable you to make Japanese friends as well, even if they don’t speak your language, which is a very fulfilling experience. It’s almost like being a climber or pilot: being able to reach an altitude where only those skilled enough to get there can enjoy the view. For short and long stays alike, being able to make friends is how you turn an ordinary experience into an unforgettable memory.

A Rewarding, Mind-Strengthening Challenge

Calligraphy kanji

Did you know that the Japanese language has 3 different alphabets and more than 50,000 characters? This can seem intimidating, but the good thing is that reaching even a level of just moderate fluency and literacy in Japanese will feel like a major accomplishment, and you will have done your brain a big favor treating it to such an intriguing challenge.

2 of the alphabets – called hiragana and katakana, respectively – consist of 46 phonetic characters each. Kanji, or Chinese characters, is where the other 49,000 characters are to be found. However, with the advanced technology and autocorrect features available today, being able to write kanji by hand is becoming more of an artform than an actual part of language learning, but it’s still a very useful way to memorize the characters – and to impress those who don’t know how to write them!

Expand Your Horizon

Imagine if you could read all the neon signs in Tokyo’s iconic Kabukicho neighborhood!

Maybe you haven’t given it much thought, but Japan has had an influence on cultures and everyday lives across the world for a very long time, with so much technology, cars and entertainment such as anime and video games, originating from here. This makes Japan a very interesting destination for everyone wanting to widen their perspective on the world, and once you’re done exploring this fun, comfortable and welcoming country, the rest of Asia is at your doorstep and easily accessible from here as well.

How Do You Learn Japanese?

(c) Tokyo Central Japanese Language School / TCJ

Now that you know exactly why learning Japanese will be such an advantage for everyone looking to explore this amazing country, you’re probably wondering how to take the first step. One of the best ways to learn a language is to enroll in a language school, and if you’re already in Japan or planning to move here, there are plenty of good schools to choose from. Language schools often offer a broad range of different courses, and will make sure to challenge you at the right pace and keep your studies structured. Enrolling in a Japanese language school will also give you the opportunity to apply for a student visa, which is probably one of the easiest ways to get a visa for Japan that exceeds the common 3-month tourist visas.

Sign up now: Tokyo Central Japanese Language School

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of why knowledge of the Japanese language will enhance not only your travels, but also your work or study life inside and outside of Japan. What do you think – is learning Japanese a challenge for you?

Japan Wonder Travel Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan. 
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots! 
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help! 

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Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.

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Mt. Fuji Day Trip Bus Tour from Tokyo
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