Japanese Studies

  • Learning to read and write Japanese: Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji.
    (Reading Japanese menu cards as exercise and then starting to feel hungry.)
  • Learning to speak Japanese and developing listening comprehension.
  • Regional and cultural history from the prehistory until the present; learning how Japan became what it is today; learning to understand the influences of different countries and cultures on the Japanese history and culture; learning to understand the current political situation.
  • History of religion: Shintô, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Christianity, new religions; gender roles.
  • History of literature: annals, legends, fairytales, myths, tales, narratives, poem anthologies, diaries, novels, short stories, theatre scripts, Manga.
  • History of language: learning classical Japanese, reading and translating texts in classical Japanese.
  • Popular culture.
  • Economy and politics.
  • Polite speech, forms of behaviour and etiquette.
  • Intercultural communication.
  • Having feelings of success: When the own Kanji skills have become quite good and you have no problems at all in getting along in Japan in daily life.
  • Experiencing moments of frustration: When you realize that you start to forget the Kanji you have learnt because you no longer practice them regularly.
  • Travelling to Japan. Feeling there like a toddler that walks about clumsily, stops everywhere, stumbles and straightens up again, that marvels about banalities and still has to learn so much.
  • Encountering racism as well as a lack of understanding and having to learn to deal with it.
  • Experiencing a culture shock. Possibly also experiencing a reversed culture shock when returning home from Japan.
  • Discovering the influences of your own culture on your personality and learning to understand them. Finding and learning to cherish one’s own cultural roots.
  • Developing a sense of home and belonging in two countries and two cultures.
  • Building up patience, calmness, serenity and tolerance.
  • Developing discipline.
  • Discovering and enhancing one’s own fields of interest.
  • Standing up for oneself.
  • Developing the own personality.
  • Getting a clue about what and how “Japan” actually is and then, later, admitting to oneself how little you know and how much there is still to learn.
  • Finding the motivation and the courage to continue even if it is difficult.
  • Preparing an answer on a question that comes without fail whenever you meet someone and have to explain what you do: “What is Japanese Studies actually?”
  • Likewise, finding an answer to the question: “And what are you going to do with Japanese Studies later?”