Where Can Japanese Take You?
This series of Learners Stories focuses on the experiences of Japanese learners who have had the opportunity to utilise their language through their interests or their career. Learn how they got involved in Japanese and their specific areas of interest, and pick up tips on how you too can use your language. Broaden your horizons and discover where Japanese can take you!
In this edition of “Where can Japanese take you?” we spoke to J-Course student Christy Lam about her Japanese language journey.
Personally, I think the best way to learn a language is to expose yourself to its environment… There are a lot of exchange programs provided by the Japan Foundation to gain experience learning in Japan, other options such as working holiday and JET program to teach English are also amazing opportunities.
Christy Lam began studying Japanese formally in 2017 after moving to Sydney, and recently achieved level N2 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). She aims to move to Japan to continue her studies.
I fell in love with Japan the first time I landed the country, the cutting edge technology, culture, people and sceneries, back then I did not understand Japanese at all, however I find the intonation extremely attractive, even a normal Japanese conversation sounded like music. Later on when I had access to my own computer, I had the ability to expose myself to anime, that’s when my informal Japanese studies began, it felt amazing picking up keywords and phrases from anime.
I was lucky enough to live in a multi-cultural environment to allow myself to expose to Japanese, my conversations were extremely bad initially, after friends and colleagues’ guidance and corrections, it had been a lot better. To take my practice further, I went to Japan (my second trip) to attempt practising with the locals. It was an amazing experience!
After moving to Sydney, I have decided to learn Japanese formally, thus starting my studies at the Japan Foundation. Outside class, I attend Japanese conversation Meetups to provide myself more opportunities to communicate in Japanese and understand more about Japan.
I have managed to build networks of Japanese friends and achieved JLPT N2 thanks to Sydney and Japan Foundation.
My next step is to migrate to Japan and experience more from the country of my love (perhaps aim for N1 after the migration :D)!
When did you first start learning Japanese?
2017, October when I first started studying at the Sydney Japan Foundation.
What attracted you to Japan and learning Japanese?
The culture, language, scenery, food and people are amazing.
Where has your interest in Japan taken you?
Travelled to Japan 7 times, built a network of Japanese friends and planning to migrate to Japan hopefully this year (after the coronavirus concerns).
How do your career and your interests connect you to Japan and the Japanese language?
I have always been extremely interested in anime, manga, console and arcade games, Japan provides loads of options igniting my interest to another level.
I am planning to apply for a company in Japan and relocate to experience and settle my life in Japan.
And, how did you become involved in this area?
I am always on the watch for the latest anime series and games. My plan is to actively apply for a job in Japan after coronavirus settles.
What are your proudest “Japanese Language” milestones?
I have taken the N2 exam last year and have passed it!!! Being able to communicate within Japan without issues have also provided extra motivation!
What is the most challenging aspect of learning Japanese for you?
Japanese grammar had always been a challenge due to its uniqueness and complexity.
Do you have any advice for Japanese learners who are thinking about ways they can utilise their language skills?
Personally, I think the best way to learn a language is to expose yourself to its environment, perhaps not as extreme like myself in migrating to Japan permanently. There are a lot of exchange programs provided by the Japan Foundation to gain experience learning in Japan, other options such as working holiday and JET program to teach English are also amazing opportunities.