How to speak Japanese without trying!!
Japanese is definitely one of the most complicated languages spoken on this planet!! Even the reasons for why it is so difficult are enough to boggle the mind – they are barely worth getting into here. Hundreds of books are available that attempt to teach the language. They are all destined to fail at what they attempt though, because really the only way to learn Japanese is to study your ass off with a good teacher (just having a good teacher is not enough – you also have to study your ass off) or to live in the country and muddle your way through it all. This is tough.
One thing that people fail to realize, though, is that certain things about Japanese are really easy to learn for somebody with an English background. For one thing, there are thousands of English terms in use in the Japanese language, so once you learn to pronounce things the katakana way (for example – ghamburgerh becomes ghan-ba-gah, gcoffeeh becomes gko-hih, etc.) there is a lot you can say – or at least indicate towards. Just donft get carried away and speak only in Katakana English, or even your own mother wonft understand you. As with everything, therefs a balance.
Another things is that there is a small handful of phrases that are easy to learn and remember. So instead of beginning a Japanese language training course with the most fundamental and useful Japanese words and phrases, the Head Cheese guide begins with the ones that are the easiest to remember!!
QK – take a break, relax
AB – shrimp
GQ – globe, the Earth
GA – self-defense; Japan Self-Defense Force is called GA tie
GU - freedom
QQ – emergency (ambulance is QQ-sha)
Chewy – caution, be careful
Itchy knee – one two
May – eye
June – pure
Gucci – mouth
Fun – shit
Therefs probably a few more, too. Wait, let me thinkc
Kanji is the term for the Chinese characters that are used in Japan. Kanji is the last thing most people learn when they come to Japan, despite the fact that it is everywhere and knowing it useful for identifying important things like train stations, subway lines, etc. A lot of people who come to Japan and become fluent in spoken Japanese never even learn more than a handful of kanji, which I find pretty lame – thatfs kind of like being a pedestrian and not knowing what any of the traffic signs mean. Or like learning numbers but ignoring roman numerals. Or like eating cheese but refusing to eat yogurt. Or something! Kanji are signs/symbols. A lot of them are very abstract, but here are a handful that are pretty easy to remember:
ì c Ø X ê ñ O Ê ú
cRiver Field @tree/wood forest one two three convex concave mouth day
River looks like 111c or like flowing water. A field is square. A tree-like object is a tree. Three tree-like objects are a forest. One, two, and three are self explanatory. Convex is convex, concave is concave. A mouth may be square, but itfs still a mouth (maybe itfs C-3POfs mouth). A day looks like an eight. It used to be round, but they squared the circle thousands of years ago in China. And therefs more. A pound sign (#) means well. An asterisk sign (*) means rice. Pretty simple, huh? Of course, it gets a lot tougher from this point onwards, especially with glookalikeh kanji, but if you just learn these 13 simple symbols youfre better off than most.
Watch for more ultra easy Japanese lessons in Head Cheese Japan 2.