Our group has been in Japan for almost two weeks, and I’m quickly learning some “functional” Japanese. I started by practicing Hiragana and Katakana characters using Duolingo and a handful of other practice apps. Hiragana and Katakana, plus Kanji, are the 3 character sets used throughout the country. Kanji is substantially harder to learn because of the nature and number of symbols; Kanji symbols represent things, ideas, etc. not just sounds.
When we arrive back in the States, I really hope I can keep up the learning pace. I’d love to find a Japanese speaker online who I can engage with multiple times a week. I believe that would be the only way to really see continued gains because I will surely hit a learning wall upon returning home.
Other than learning the language, I’ve been eating plenty of yummy Japanese food and enjoying my time away from work. This vacation is giving me all the space I need to refocus!