Is it fun?

When my Japanese friends found out that I’m taking Japanese lesson, most of them asked if learning Japanese is fun. I didn’t answer most of them because I wasn’t sure of how they would feel about my answer: I don’t enjoy my lessons.

Actually, I don’t think that learning any language (including English), the way that most students study languages at school, is fun.

When I was an elementary school student, I don’t think I liked English a lot. When our English teacher, who was also the teacher in charge of the English school newspaper, asked me to write articles for the paper, I complained to my friends.

I didn’t understand why she was giving me more work to do so I didn’t do it, and she stopped asking me.

But then I entered high school (we didn’t have a middle school in the Philippines back then) and our English teacher was amazing. I don’t know what she did exactly that made me like her and English, but something made me realize that English is something I can use outside of the classroom, even if I had only met and spoken to only one foreigner my entire life (we don’t have foreign English teachers in the Philippines).

I still didn’t enjoy studying for English exams and remembering the grammar rules, but I started to read English novels a lot more than before, write my essays for English class again and again until I thought they were good enough, ask my friends if we could speak English sometimes so we can practice speaking it, and learn new words and practice pronunciation on my own.

I don’t enjoy reading my Japanese language book every week either, and I don’t enjoy writing Kanji characters again and again and again so I can remember them.

Sometimes I don’t want to go to my lessons, but I do. Even though the lesson aren’t fun, I believe that when I learn enough to read many Japanese books and speak to Japanese in their own language, I will learn so much about this country, it’s people, and it’s people’s culture, and that will be really, really fun.