Living in Japan is the best way to learn how to speak Japanese because you have the bonuses of having first hand experience of Japanese culture, the country and its people. But before you leave, you need to get your brain ready to take on Japanese and Japan. To lessen culture shock and fortify your acquisition of Japanese, it would be wise to learn to speak Japanese online simply because it is convenient and affordable. Plus the faster you can master the hiragana and katakana (two standard syllabaries that are used in the Japanese writing system), the faster you’ll be able to grasp the reading and writing in the textbooks and hence jump start your learning.
Choosing a city depends on whether you’re a city or a country person, or a bit of both. For those of you who enjoy the city and country life, Okazaki is the perfect city for you to learn Japanese fluently and experience Japan.
Okazaki is located in the eastern part of the Aichi Prefecture (district) in central Japan. It is about a 2-hour ride on the Shinkansen (bullet train) between both Tokyo and Osaka, and Kyoto and Mount Fuji. The main part of the city is bicycle friendly, and to the east are the many hills and the forests that cover them. Okazaki has milder overall temperatures compared to most of Japan, the spring and autumn months are the best times to visit. Also, Okazaki is not as populous as most other cities. The city has many outdoor recreation facilities and parks for the outdoor enthusiast. For those of you who are in need of more contemporary and urban stimulation, the city of Nagoya is only a 30-minute train ride away to the usual big city hustle, bustle, and exciting nightlife.
Okazaki is a prefect symbosis of the old and modern world, of the city and country. This enables you to experience traditional as well as contemporary Japan. Furthermore, despite its recent economic growth, Okazaki has being able to preserve its historical traditions and character. This is evident in the many famous shrines and temples such as the Takisan and Daijuji temples, and the renowned Okazaki Castle. The Okazaki castle was the birthplace of the famous Japanese military leader Tokugawa Iyeyasu. He was portrayed in James Clavell’s novel Shogun based on historical figures and events of Japan in the 1600s. However, Okazaki is most famous for their fireworks. The city proudly showcases these fireworks with amazing firework displays during the three-day Summer Festival in August, which is attended by people nationwide.
Because Okazaki is smaller, it is cheaper to live in and accommodations that are close to the school/college are easier to find. In addition, Okazaki language colleges include free cultural workshops such as making arts with Washi (origami paper) and weekend excursions, such as trips to Kyoto, to visit and explore the old Imperial city. Or you could opt to plan your own excursions.
All work and no play make you a burned out student. So you should take advantage of using your free time to interact with the locals by:
· Checking out the Okazaki bars and restaurants that specialize in tempura or in fugu(blowfish) or udon and kishimen noodle dishes or the world famous Okazaki Hatcho miso soup that is known for its medicinal and health benefits.
· Checking out the Okazaki nightlife that offers many Karaoke bars and local Japanese lounges called izakaya where you can eat and drink.
Remember the best way to learn Japanese easily is in Japan. However, before you go you need to educate yourself with regards to its history, culture and etiquette, and at least learn basic Japanese. If you want the best of both worlds, then Okazaki is the ideal city to study Japanese. Okazaki offers you a chance to experience a truly Japanese experience without the often daunting “bigness” and fast-paced pulse of a city like Tokyo.
Author: Paul Brown
Paul W. Brown has a passion for languages and life-long learning.