Learn Japanese the Easy Way: Through My Adventures in Japan

Ryan Kopf's Blog

I wrote a little bit about my new method to learn Japanese - the same way that young children in America are learning Spanish and English at the same time - through commingling this new language with the language you are already familiar with. Sure, languages are not word-for-word replacements of each other, and that may seem to limit the Kopf method to vocabulary building.

But that's not the case!

I introduce small, light, recognizable concepts that are similar to drop-in word replacements, such as introducing Japanese's particle "no" as frequently being a substitute for " 's", making a noun possessive. Follow along as I bring you with me on my journey to Japan, to explore some of the fun, amazing places I get to experience on my adventures. But of course we don't stop there! Along the way learn Japanese words in a way that feels natural, so these words actually stick with you. I, Ryan Kopf, founded a company that organizes seven major Japanese culture festivals every single year. As part of that, I get to travel to Japan yearly for business, learning the culture and meeting fantastic people. My journeys in Japan see some of the coolest stuff that others never explore.

Get it today on Amazon.

Here's a preview that let's you know what I am going to be writing about.

Let me begin with a simple discovery.

Anime subtitles are not a Rosetta Stone-type elixir for native English speakers. Trust me, if they were, I would have a career that Edward Seidensticker himself would envy.

However, there is hope. My fellow anime diehards can find solace by exposing the one major similarity between the Japanese and English languages… 

...they both are spoken by human beings. Meaning, if you can summon Porunga using Dende’s native Namekian tongue, you can also learn Japanese. 

On the other hand, Japanese may appear to be the actual extraterrestrial language; at least, to my bilingual peers who speak English and Namekian.

For example, take the sentence, "Watashi wa eel desu.” If you learned textbook Japanese in a school setting, you were probably taught that "X wa Y desu" means "X is Y.” This sentence would appear to mean, "I am an eel." 

However, it actually means "As for me, the eel," which is something you actually say when ordering at a restaurant.

Learning by memorizing doesn't work.

The entire premise of my book is that trying to learn a language through simple memorization does not work nearly as effectively as learning through immersion.

That's the same practice held by language schools, professionals, and tutors around the world. When you step into a Japanese classroom, they will immediately start immersing you in the language, and require you to ask your questions in Japanese and really get you to practice the language. Why? Because immersion works!

Why does immersion work? It works by helping your brain form connections. You connect the language you are learning with the questions you ask and the answers you receive. Your brain makes small, subtle connections between these things.

It's not simply the asking the question, but every step in the process:

* Thinking how to ask the question.
* Hearing your voice make the sounds.
* Hearing your tutor or professor answer in the language.
* Processing and understanding the response.

I've been told (by my Calculus professor) that to truly learn something, you may need to be exposed to it as much as seven times! But also, this could mean in 7 different ways. Simply reading it 7 times doesn't work, because after the second your brain isn't making new connections.

And that's why immersion is so great for learning a language.

But also - immersion sucks!

Why immersion alone doesn't work.

Language immersion by itself does not work for the first 5-10% of learning a language, because you need to have a firm grasp of fundamentals before you can learn anything else. When I say the first 5-10%, I mean usually about a full year of learning in school.

Why? Because being held back from answering questions actually damages the learning process and slows your learning.

If you need to ask a question about why "Movie Theater" and "English" sound similar (Eiga and Eigo), but you don't have good enough skills to ask that question, some professors of immersion won't answer it unless you ask in the language. This is ineffective. If they are willing to listen in English, teach you how to ask in Japanese, and then let you ask it, that would be swell! But it's time consuming, and some teachers and sensei won't take the time to do it.

That's why immersion must be gradual. Slowly replace words as you learn them and become familiar with them. Replace what with nani and replace why with dou shite. Get a grasp on how to use the language and slowly become familiar with words. That is the most effective method for learning a language.


Why Ryan Kopf's book?

My book teaches you The Kopf Method of language learning. This method is designed to enhance your learning by taking elements of the way you learned your first language - if you learned it in any way like I did.

I learned English through reading. I became excellent at writing and understanding English through reading. My reading comprehension test scores have always been off-the-charts. Of course, it came with some downsides. I thought Hermione was pronounced Hermy-oh-ne and boy was I wrong. Thank goodness too.

So if you're anything like me and you learned your first language primarily through reading it, then congratulations! You will have an excellent time learning through my book.

Will there be a second edition?

I expect so! I have already found some errors and places that can be improved throughout the book. I think I may have went a little too easy and not introduced enough words and used them consistently enough towards the end of the book. But if you want to learn japanese through reading then this book is for you, only if you're at the very beginner level. Once you consider yourself a bit more than a beginner, my book may be a little soft. However, it's also a fun travel book!

Where do I go in the book?

The book is centered around Tokyo - but I also visit Hakone and Chiba. I almost got to go surfing in the frigid March waters of East Japan, but I kind of chickened out. I did do a lot of really fun and cool stuff, and I provide a ton of tips on how to travel cheaply and make the most of your time while traveling in Japan too.

Anyway, get to downloading my book as it's free on the Kindle Unlimited Library.

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