Thank you for visiting all nihongo. If you haven’t read the Start page, I’d recommend beginning there first.
So, without further delay, please allow me to begin by introducing myself and provide to you some of my background.
Who’s In Charge Here?
I am トラビス (Torabisu), and this site is about my experiences learning 日本語 ( にほんご / Japanese ). I also am hoping to provide some helpful advice along the way for those looking to learn Japanese on their own.
Initially, I come from a traditional art background (drawing, painting, sculpting, etc.). I’m an avid gamer, software developer/programmer, and overall a big-time “geek”. I normally try not to label things (especially people), but in this case I feel it is accurate. I enjoy looking at code on a screen (weird, right?), then seeing it in action when playing a game I’m developing. I’m fascinated by this, and I’ve no qualms about saying it. I wrote my first program at the age of 7 in MS-DOS QBASIC (I know, I know. Trust me, it was nothing fancy).
When I got older, I went to college in the U.S. for Video Game Art and Design, starting in late 2004. Video game development was on a steady rise then, and the industry was booming with activity and growth. At the time, I wanted nothing more than to develop a game on the PS2.
Boy, was I in for a shock later on.
So around came early 2009, time to graduate (yes, the program was 4.5 years). I built my portfolio (including a playable demo), applied to companies and worked freelance for anyone willing to give me a shot. Problem was; there wasn’t much of anything available to someone with ‘no’ experience, fresh out of school. I had figured that since I’d helped to develop a material editor for a game engine (Torque 3D, specifically) that would get me in the door somewhere. I soon came to realize I was competing against people with 15-20 years of experience where their companies cut them loose to avoid going bankrupt (and for many, even that didn’t help). I put in over 500 applications over a year and a half to various companies, with zero luck. To illustrate the point further, I was by far not the only person in this situation. As I recall I only know of two or three folks whom I went to school with who currently work in the industry. I mean, it’s not like my work sucked (at least in my opinion – I also should note that link is outdated now, as I did that content back in late 2008/early 2009). It was at this time that I determined that my passion may have to remain my hobby. 🙁
So, realizing that perusing video game development as a primary career wasn’t financially feasible, I decided to table it and move on. I’ve been with a web development company now for a few years, and it’s been an interesting ride. I’ve learned a lot not only about web development, but the retail/supply chain industry as well. It’s the kind of experience that can take you in
ten twenty so many different directions all at once. It’s been interesting and fun learning everything, but I wanted more.
I began to feel as if I wasn’t doing anything productive with my spare time. So I decided to pursue something I’ve wanted to do since middle school.
I want to study, learn and become fluent in Japanese.
One thing I’ve always found amazing is people who translate across multiple languages. In addition, I began to realize all the things that open up by learning a new language. It’s like a whole new world for each language you learn. And trust me, I have no plans to stop with Japanese. Japanese is considered by many one of the hardest languages to learn (with English outranking it, of course. More on that later). It’s going to be (and has been so far) difficult, but not impossible. However, difficult as it may be, I’m going to make it fun, too.
One thing I’ve always been terrible at is documenting things as I go, no matter what it is. I’m working on it, and this site is an example of that. I now wish I had more pictures of events I attended as a kid, or even just records of daily life to look back on the good times. I’ve only ever bought one yearbook, and that was a huge mistake (that is, only purchasing the one instead of a few more). This stops now.
I’ve always loved the Japanese culture as a whole. I want to learn more about it, and I don’t just mean all the ‘shiny’ things that so many お宅 (おたく/otaku) fawn over. You’ll see no articles of me going on about かわいい (kawaii/cute) anime characters. I’m talking about the history, the customs, the way the Japanese think, feel, eat and live. This includes the good, the bad, the ugly, the awesome, the sad, the happy… all of it.
I’m also up for a challenge. And Japanese is, in fact, a large challenge. So many aspects of Japanese are different (or in some cases, completely opposite) of English. Take, for example, that Japanese only has 46 distinct sounds. English, however, has over 8,000. Conversely, the English alphabet has 26 characters (52 if you count upper and lowercase letters separately), whereas Japanese has 3 sets of scripts – Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana. There are 2,042 “common-use” Kanji, and about 50 each of the other 2 (not including compound sounds such as きゅ).
It’s not as impossible as so many English-speakers swear it is. The Japanese learn it every day, so why can’t I? Why can’t you?
I wrote a more detailed answer to this question here.
So, this site is just a journal then?
Absolutely not. At least, it’s not just a journal. It contains articles about my progress as I go, but there are also resources posted here (for example, the kana tables). Anytime I find something interesting, inspirational, funny, happy, or even sad, I will share it with you here. I’ll also be keeping links to sites that I find on the links page. I may also post pictures from time to time, especially once I finally do make it to Japan (I plan on having a huge album then).
What else does allnihongo have to offer?
Lots of things! As time goes on, the list will only get bigger. Most importantly, allnihongo offers my method for learning Japanese. I also offer my experiences during the journey of learning Japanese so that others may benefit from my mistakes, as well as avoid them. Included are all of the tools, resources, methods, advice, links, conversations, and progress updates to assist others in learning Japanese. In addition, lots of inspiration will be sprinkled in as well.
Where do we go from here?
The best place to start is probably the page explaining where I started.