In Fall 2015, after a summer working at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, I became interested in learning Japanese. Unfortunately, unlike linguistics, learning to speak Japanese is not something that I could by myself (reading and writing are another matter, but it is probably still best to do it in a classroom). I had originally planned to follow the structure of the Genki textbooks, but I have since gotten side-tracked due to outside factors. The Genki textbooks are renowned for being beginner-friendly and presenting information in a logical fashion that builds up knowledge. However, I’ve realized that having a good foundation in linguistics would really help making languages easier, so I’ve put Japanese on the back-burner for now. This is not necessarily a bad thing.
Anyway, as a result, despite all this detailed planning, I was never able to fully realize this goal during my time at Cornell due to demanding schedules (though Cornell houses a top-10 Asian languages department, I’m told). I hope to eventually be able to take a few semesters of Japanese classes while at Princeton (which also has an excellent Asian languages department). However, I was able to make some progress during Winter 2015. I was able to teach myself two of the writing systems and get a grasp of exactly what learning Japanese entailed during that time. The following notes are the result of my efforts during that two-month recess.