Today (Oct 31, 2023) is a big day.
I did two video calls, both over 30 minutes long, with Japanese people who didn’t speak English.
And not language partners — these were staff of the two rental companies I was considering for my accommodation in Tokyo, so we talked about the apartments, the terms, and other things, purely in Japanese.
The only places where I used some English was to confirm the meanings of certain contract terms that had legal/financial implications. Other than that, zero English was used.
I did struggle often, of course, but at no point did we have a “break” in communication that often happens at the beginner/intermediate level. I didn’t have to pause and refer to a translation software at any time.
The strange thing is that the whole experience felt very… banal. Very ordinary. This never happened for me in French or Chinese, which always feel tiring to my brain after I use them in a conversation. I believe this is because of the WAY I learned these languages, and because my approach to Japanese was radically different.
Here’s why: I never really studied Japanese, I acquired it. I just found authentic content I enjoyed, and then listened and read and listened and read.
Whatever I’ve learned in the language so far, is organically “planted” in my brain. I’m excited to deepen my neural pathways in the language and attain fluid speech!