Okay, okay, you may be asking why a graphic designer of all people is studying the Japanese language. But first, let me summarize my summer thus far. Summer break has already flown by these past two months! I’ve finished reading five or six books since May and am in the middle of a few more. A lot of products have been added to my shop this summer, too, so check them out if you haven’t already. But this post isn’t to make you envious of my book reading or make you buy from my shop. Instead, I wanted to influence you on learning something way out of your comfort zone.
I’m not aiming to get you to take summer classes or anything of the sort, but to find something this summer that you want to dive into. It can be anything you’ve always wanted to know more about but haven’t completely committed to yet. And to give you all some encouragement, I wanted to talk about the thing I’m learning this summer.
I have to admit that the Japanese culture has been something I’ve kind of always loved. As a child one of my favorite shows was none other than Pokemon, which has gone through many a transformation since. As I grew up other Japanese movies and shows were sprinkled around and by the time I was twelve I was obsessed. It’s embarrassing to look back on now, but at the time it was my solace in life.
I listened to some music and watched shows, but was never fully satisfied because of the language barrier. As I became more confident in my teen years, I lost touch with the Japanese things I had grown attached to. Recently, though, I have gone back to these things with a new perspective. I have realized that as an adult (twenty-one is an adult, right? Because nowadays I don’t even know.) I am understanding more about this other land than ever before.
There’s a broader horizon than what I had confined myself to in my early teenage years, and thankfully I can see it now. There are traditions and a complex language that I can hardly comprehend as a foreigner. But most importantly, people there need Jesus just as much as here in the United States. If only I had a way to reach them.
A few weeks ago my six year old brother confronted me about learning a new language. My immediate reaction was to learn Japanese and Spanish, so I asked which one he’d prefer to start now. He enthusiastically replied, “Japanese!” Looking back we should have done Spanish first because Japanese is an ocean of confusion to a twenty-one year old, let alone a six year old.
I found an app called Memrise that offers a way to learn seventy-seven language as well as other random topics. Instantly falling in love with the UI of the app, I have used it every day since. This past Friday I even cooked up two Japanese recipes and both were pretty good. If you’re interested, you can find the Kabayaki recipe and the Zenzai recipe respectively.
Just this past week I got down all the Hiragana characters and am now moving on to Katakana. Then next will be the dreaded Kanji. WaniKani—who I signed up with to learn Kanji—says it will teach me I think 2,000 Kanji and then 6,000 vocabulary words in a little over a year. Maybe a year from now I’ll update you guys on this incredible journey.
What’s the point?
I say all this because it has been one of those childhood dreams of mine that I am now fulfilling ten years later. As we grow up, we tend to forsake silly things from our youth. Don’t do that this summer! Achieve a goal that only you can fulfill, even if it is a thing from your childhood. Learn how to write calligraphy, learn how to play the guitar, learn more about a specific book of the Bible—whatever you do, do it to the glory of God. Do it to fulfill your life’s purpose.
And whatever your set your mind to do this summer—I’m cheering for you!