Learning any new language obviously requires a lot of time, patience and memorization. When you're studying a language that has completely different grammar and doesn't even use the same alphabet as what you're used to, it's even more difficult.
Before I came to Japan, I knew about ten words of Japanese. I could say, "I'm hungry," and ask for ice cream. I figured that's all I really needed. ;)
I've come a long way since then. (Now I can specify what ice cream flavor I want, haha.) But seriously...
It didn't take long for me to want to learn more of the language. Tomoki taught me how to read and write hiragana and katakana--two of the three alphabets--within my first month in Kuji. Ever since, I've been learning new words, mainly just by hearing Japanese on a daily basis.
I'm also making an effort to learn. In addition to studying from a book, I carry a journal with me every day for the purpose of jotting down new Japanese words and phrases. Just today I learned the following words:
shrine = じんじゃ (神社） pronounced "jinja"
message = でんごん（伝言） "dengon"
mind = こころ (心) "kokoro"
forever = えいえんに (永遠に) "eienni"
These are English words that I taught my students from their textbook. While they're learning the words in English, I have them teach me the words in Japanese. I learn a lot that way.
A few days ago, I learned how to say, "I can't believe it!!" Every time I say that, I get some laughs. :)
By the way, this last photo also depicts what I looked like last night when I discovered my cell phone at the bottom of my washing mashine! Yipes! Words of wisdom: If you are going to wash your coat, first make sure that the pockets are empty.
That's all for now. Have a nice day. 小夜なら!