Why learn Japanese? Because it will make you sexier, richer and happier?  Japanese may be one of the hardest languages to learn, but here are some facts on why it's definitely worth it.
1. It's Not as Hard as You Think!
a) Japanese grammar is simpler than many European languages. It is very sensible and logically connected. Nouns have no plural or gender forms and verbs don't change depending on person, gender or number.
b) Japanese vowels are extremely consistent in terms of pronunciation and spelling. Recall in English the short "o" sound in "book" and a long "o" in "boot". Imagine learning it as a beginner.
Fear not. Unlike crazy English, Japanese has five simple vowels which always sound the same:
- a - pronounced "ah"
- i - pronounced "ee"
- u - pronounced "oo"
- e - pronounced "eh"
- o - pronounced "oh"
c) Japanese language has only two verb tenses: past and present. How cool is that?!
d) Comparatively, Japanese is a non-tonal language and easy to pronounce. A beginner might be able to get away with awful pronunciation, which you cannot do with Chinese or Korean because the meaning of the sentence might change.
To illustrate the above, "I want to read a book" in Japanese would read: watashi wa hon ga yomitai. Just say it straight, no problems. However, in Mandarin, the same would be wo yao kan shu which can mean either 'I want to read a book' or 'I want to cut down trees', depending on which tones are assigned to the third and fourth words (underlined). You see?
2. Learning Japanese Will Bring Business Opportunities
Japan has the third largest economy in the world as of 2011 and as of 2012, is showing signs of growing even more.
An efficiency superpower, some of the most well-known firms in the world are Japanese. Household names such as Sony, Toshiba, Canon, Sanyo, Casio, Minolta, Honda, Mitsubishi and Toyota have penetrated the global market.
Be it in engineering, politics, beauty, fashion, business, research, energy, oil and gas, the Japanese have made a name for themselves.
And I haven't even mentioned Japanese technology. This is the country that invented the Walkman and has since flooded the world with life-changing gadgets and gizmos. Japan's drive for innovation has made them leaders in fields such as optical media, semiconductor manufacturing and industrial robotics.
The Japanese spends billions of dollars every year on imports, especially in the field of energy. Learning the language could give you a better understanding of the Asian market.
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3. Because Japanese is Special
There's no denying it. From the edgy and modern feel of Japanese pop culture, fashion and technology to the quiet beauty of Japanese art and tradition, both the loud and quiet exist professionally in 21st century Japan. The language is also one of the most extensive in its use of politeness and honor.
According to Forbes, most American college students choose European languages as a foreign language. Spanish is by far the most popular, and French, German or Italian are other hot languages. Choosing a less commonly learned language will pop out on your resume and set you apart from the rest.
It's a no-brainer. Anything with a 'Made-in-Japan' tag on it is cool but expensive. You will be too, if you learn the language. Kidding, but you get the idea.
4. Free Quality Resources Online to Learn Japanese
Due to the immense popularity of the language, many a kind enthusiast have put up FREE resources on the Internet. Newbies can learn Japanese without having to commit to physical lessons with fixed time slots nor school fees. Imagine that.
One pretty decent site is Learn Japanese Adventure. The owner responds personally to queries related to grammar, vocab etc. He's somewhat like an online tutor who responds to Japanese language queries in a matter of days.
Another site is Tim Sensei's Corner, an American professor fluent in Japanese. Yet another site is Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese, whose blog expositions on the differences in the Korean, Japanese and Chinese languages makes this guy the Asian language ninja.
Personally, I'd recommend actual lessons for serious learners and taking the JLPT to gauge your competency after a time. However, online is an excellent place to start, if you're not sure if you'd like to go it the long haul.
5. Who Wants to Go to Japan?
Want to go off the beaten track when you're skiing in Hokkaido or wandering around in Tokyo?
Train signs and the like in Tokyo are available in English aside from Japanese, Chinese, and even Korean. Out into the countryside, there is poorer access to English signs, so the chances of having to ask for directions, etc. is higher.
Imagine needing to go to the toilet and not knowing which is the gents or the ladies?Knowing a little Japanese will give you the confidence to get around, even if just for a holiday. This principle works for other countries as well.
Besides, there's nothing like immersing into a culture of a country as cool and chic as Japan, by dabbling with the language.
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Like I said, it's not hard.
But if you're feeling lazy for hardcore grammar, try this nice and super affordable Instant Japanese Phrasebook. Remember the five Japanese vowels: a i u e o? You start with these and the entire hiragana chart. Their list of vocabulary is more than decent as well.
6. Being Able to Watch Jap Dramas Without Subtitles
ara? (slang for "Oh?" in Japanese)
I'm not the only one who gets a kick out of this. Studying a foreign language and being less reliant on TV or drama subtitles gives you that 'Look Ma, no hands!' experience. In short, it's addictive.
It's still virtually impossible for me to understand everything while watching Japanese dramas and movies 'raw'. However, you can definitely troubleshoot a few translation errors and understanding beyond the literal translations to the actual nuance of the Japanese culture. Yatta! (I did it!)
Right. Hopefully , you're convinced that Japanese is easy to learn, economically beneficial, a crowd differentiator, fun and also FREE to learn online - Start now!