Meet A.J. Hoge , AJ’s Story
He’s 44 years old, one of the older students of Learn Real Japanese. He’s an English teacher. In fact, he’s the husband of one of our Japanese teachers.
He is definitely not one of our most successful students… not even close.
So why use him as the subject of a case study or success story? Why not use someone who has totally mastered Japanese and speaks like a native?
We don’t want to show you the best possible story.
That’s like only talking about all the successes and never about the challenges. There are many challenges.
We know it’s normal for programs never to talk about the challenges, but that’s not our style.
Because AJ represents what Learn Real Japanese is all about. He has a focus for consistent improvement and on real-life communication.
Starting to Learn Japanese
In September 2012 AJ started his first Real Japanese lesson. His initial results were a mixture of good and bad:
Good because :
He enjoyed the first few lessons.
He quickly felt comfortable with Japanese.
He realized that Japanese was not impossibly difficult.
He quickly learned and internalized basic Japanese sentence structure, grammar, and pronunciation.
There are other success too, but for the sake of this case study we’ll focus on the points above, as they’re the most important.
The most obvious bad part was that he felt the lessons were very slow.
He worried that he was going too slowly. He asked if he should speed up and try to go through the lessons faster. We told him, “No”.
In fact, while AJ worried about the slow pace, we were pleased. Instead of being overwhelmed by Japanese, he was eager for more.
AJ continued listening to the lessons, going at the slow pace suggested.
Steady Japanese Improvement
Week by week he felt more comfortable with Japanese. He repeated each lesson set daily, for at least a full week, just as recommended.
At times he continued to complain about the slow pace. “Shouldn’t I be learning more vocabulary?” he asked.
We told him, “No. You first need to fully master basic Japanese sentence structure and grammar– naturally, without rules or memorization. The only way to do this is to go slowly and learn deeply.”
AJ continued to follow the plan… week by week.
He found the lessons easy– extremely easy… sometimes complaining that they were “too easy”. But still he continued with the Real Japanese lesson schedule.
After two months, something changed. AJ began to speak Japanese phrases.
Nothing great there– except the way he spoke the phrases. These Japanese phrases just popped out of his mouth without thinking.
No thinking. No translating.
He seemed almost surprised when this happened.
From that point, more Japanese words and phrases began to “pop out” of his mouth.
As we write this, AJ has completed 3/4 of the program. It’s too soon to know the final result for AJ.
He is understanding real spoken Japanese quickly. He’s responding quickly to questions in Japanese.
No, he’s not speaking perfect flawless Japanese.
But one thing is sure,.. AJ is well on his way to real Japanese speaking.
His understanding is growing. His comfort with Japanese is growing. He’s using more and more phrases and sentences naturally.
Most of all, he is communicating with real people in Japan.
When he finished the Real Japanese course, he’ll have a strong foundation in spoken Japanese.
Then he can focus on building more vocabulary and practicing more….
Eventually he will speak Japanese fluently.
2000 Japanese Words — The Magic Number
We’ve read a lot of studies about Japanese speaking.
It seems that about 2000 words is all that’s necessary for fluency in Japanese.
The magic number is 2000– the core vocabulary of the language. Of course, you have to know the right 2000 words, the most common ones.
That means learning about 7 new words a day, for a year.
With that said, everyone’s needs are different.
You can function in Japan, in train stations, taxis, and restaurants, with about 200 words.
The 7 Rules System of Learn Real Japanese
At Learn Real Japanese, we have developed a system called “The 7 Rules for Japanese Speaking Mastery”.
It’s a video course that teaches you exactly how to study Japanese so that you actually learn to speak Japanese.
It’s a simple and powerful system that leads, step by step, to speaking real Japanese with real Japanese people.