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Japanese Language Introduction

As we want to reach the Japanese people with the gospel and speak heart-to-heart, we need to communicate fluently in Japanese. This is a high value for our community and we aim to transition YWAM Sendai to function bilingually in Japanese and English as soon as possible (though, as we are still in the early stages of pioneering YWAM Sendai, we currently function mostly in English).

Your first decision when it comes to learning the language will be what approach or method to use. There are many approaches out there, but they will roughly fall into the following categories:

Category Level of self-motivation Cost Examples
Self study High Low Mass Immersion, LAMP
Guided self study Medium Medium GPA
Directed study Low High School

If you feel that you struggle with self-motivation and time management, you may want to explore going to a language school. There are multiple schools in Sendai, and we can help you with finding one that is right for you. You will need to raise extra financial support for this route as it tends to be rather expensive.

If you feel like you are very self-motivated and can manage your own time, we have put together some tips in this wiki as you will likely need a lot of help! We think the best way to learn a new language is through immersion. So we will outline different stages that will help you learn from being immersed in the language.

We recommend either paying for someone to guide you through at least some of this process so you can have some help with pronunciation and grammar. When to start this, and the frequency, will be totally up to you. You will need to budget for this as it can be expensive depending on the ability of the person.

The general stages you will go through as you learn the language:

  1. Stage 1 | Building a Foundation (Beginner) - gain familiarity through studying
  2. Stage 2 | Immersion (Intermediate) - explore native content
  3. Stage 3 | Subconscious Learning (Advanced) - learning becomes a by-product from enjoying native content
  4. Stage 4 (or 2+) | Refining - realising and working on weak areas

If you are an incoming staff to Japan, please dedicate time to studying the language while you fundraise. A good goal would be for you to be close to stage 2 when you come to Japan. Completing stage 1 will help you to feel much more comfortable in Japanese-only settings and you can enjoy immersing yourself. Even if you feel language school is the path for you, we would encourage you to also work through stage 1 as much as you can.

Much of what we have is based on the fantastic research by redditor SuikaCider which can be found here, as well as the Mass Immersion Approach and Tofugu's Learn Japanese guide.