Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to learn Japanese without saying a word

If you came here to find the secret sauce for doing what the title suggests, I hate to disappoint by telling you that you'll actually need to say lots of words to learn Japanese. However, you'll also have to learn some things that aren't exactly words as we typically think of them. I'll let Ken Tanaka and Remy February enlighten you on a few of these.





As a bonus, Ken Tanaka and Remy February will also enlighten you about the restaurant chain affectionately known as ファキン Fakin . I'll warn you now that Fakin is not pronounced like "fakin'" in English, and the video plays on the word's similarity to a certain obscenity in English. Proceed at your own risk.



A few quick Google searches showed that Fakin does seem to be actually used, and some Japanese people seem to be in on the joke, but the fact that it's used at all show that plenty are not. I also confirmed this with a few Japanese friends (although my wife had never heard the term before), and pretty much as soon as I asked them they got what I was getting at. One said that the abbreviated form sounds like something a teenage girl would say, so you might want to avoid the word if you don't happen to be one of them.

You can find a few more tips on learning Japanese on Ken's YouTube channel.

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