About me.

It took me years to be able to say “I learn this language only to read books, I am not interested in communicating with natives”.

I once heard a professor say that the main purpose of a language was to communicate and that learning only to read was nonsense, that a language was, first of all, a spoken act. Since then, I started feeling unqualified or even unauthorised to say “learning languages is my favourite hobby” because I am not a social person and I usually prefer spending my time alone than with other people, except for close relationships.

As a consequence, I ended up being ashamed of my speaking level and of the gap that created itself between my reading/test level and my communication skills. What is strange is that I even started feeling guilty and sometimes hid the fact that I could read in a language (but could not speak). I prefered to deny any competence than to admit they were not equal.

One day, I saw a friend reading a book in German. I asked him if he could speak German and he answered that he could not speak German or communicate in it, that he could just read. I remember that I was impressed and repeated with admiration “you can read books in German?!” (it was before I learnt German myself, at a time when I thought anyone capable of reading words like Schwarzwälderkirchtorte was some kind of genius).

I don’t know why, but it took me a long time to realise that, what I  was despising in myself and admiring in this friend was exactly the same thing. And of course, being able to read a language without speaking it is a thousand time more glorious than not knowing the language at all.

So yes, I am learning Japanese mainly to read novels in Japanese. I have always been interested in Japanese literature, but I have been frustrated with the translations I read until now. My goal is to be able to read challenging novels in Japanese.

This blog helps me to stay motivated and to give a structure to my language journey.

About the blog.

This blog changed a lot since I first created it. As it stands now, I update it three times a week:

  • On Mondays, I write some general reflexions about my learning Japanese, the strategies and material I use, the exercises I practice…
  • On Wednesdays, I write about the novels or other books I read in Japanese.
  • On Fridays, I write about the things I did during the week to stay in contact with the Japanese language. While my main goal is to read novels, I still want to improve my listening skills, to be able to read the news in Japanese, understand films without subtitles and get to know Japanese culture, society and history better.

side image