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Here’s How I Learned Japanese in Just 1 Hour & Survived the Biggest Meeting of My Life

Guest Post by Jon Kreps

Before I tell you about how I learned Japanese in just 1 hour using JapanesePod101, I would like to begin with a little background information. First, I am an American and am fluent in both English and French.

I studied French in middle school, high school, and college for a combined total of 8 years or 16 semesters of study. Unfortunately, I rarely have need for French in my business but I have enjoyed travelling and using the language on several glorious adventures abroad. I consider them “adventures” because despite studying French for roughly ¼ of my life, when I actually conversed with Native-speaking French speakers, I kept running into two problems:

  1. My accent was horrible after 8 years of learning French from teachers whose first language was English.
  2. My vocabulary was outdated and it made me stick out like a sore thumb even worse than my accent.

Don’t get me wrong: I can communicate with native French speakers but it was difficult to understand them at first because my education was terribly outdated and I had never learned an authentic French accent. And just so I’m clear: I love being able to read, speak, and understand French as it has greatly enriched my life. Speaking of which, let me get to the story of how I learned Japanese in just one hour in time for one of the biggest meetings of my life.

I am actually a conversion rate optimization expert which basically means I help make websites more profitable. This also means that I have like zero free time and am constantly communicating with clients from all around the globe. Typically, we deal with US, Western European and Australian clients but last month we were contacted by a very large Japanese website. So how I learned how to speak Japanese began out of a pressing immediate need and it required an immediate solution.

The potential client wanted to conduct a virtual meeting with our company but the owner of the Japanese firm did not speak English. Don’t worry, there was an English-speaking interpreter present for the meeting. However, I wanted to show respect and learn at least a few phrases so I could at least greet the client in their native language.

I wish I could tell you that the story of how I learned Japanese had a more altruistic beginning like a desire to be more well-rounded or for travel, but the truth is I needed it to stand out from the competition and make a good impression on a potential client.

The only problem? I only had a few hours before the meeting and we would be the last company the client would speak with before making their decision.

After conducting a quick but thorough search, I found that JapanesePod101 had:

  • A More Advanced Platform with More Features and Tools than the Competition
  • 1,000’s Satisfied Customers and Reviews
  • Lessons by Native-Speaking Instructors
  • With no time to spare, JapanesePod101 stood out as the clear favorite and my only hope. I signed up for the Premium Plan because it had more learning tools and features for each lesson. Plus, with a money-back guarantee, I felt confident that I could get my investment back if it didn’t help me in the meeting.

    In less than a minute, I created my username and password and had full access to my Premium Plan. As someone who works on websites for a living, I truly loved the layout and how easy it was to access lessons, tools, and even customize my account with no trouble at all. But, time was pressing so let me get on with how I learned Japanese in an hour because that’s truly all the time I had to spare.

    I selected the JapanesePod101 Absolute Beginner Series because it teaches key phrases and “conversational” Japanese. For grammar lessons and help with formal sentence structure, I would have selected the Newbie Series. But since I just needed some basic Japanese phrases and correct pronunciation, I went for the Absolute Beginner Series. Then, I clicked on the “Study Now” button and the first group of lessons popped up: Absolute Beginner Season 1.

    I was in luck: The first 3 lessons were exactly what I needed to know:

    Lesson 1: Say Hello In Japanese

    Lesson 2: Introducing Yourself in Japanese

    Lesson 3: Show Your Appreciation

    I simply clicked on the Play Arrow and the first audio lesson began. Two Native-Speaking Japanese instructors narrated the lesson which included pronunciation lessons plus background information on Japan and its culture. Much like French, the Japanese language includes formal and informal expressions which was good to know! My meeting with the Japanese client would require formal expressions. In fact, as the narrators noted, JapanesePod101 actually emphasized the more formal expressions in the lessons to make sure that students avoid insulting people by using an informal expression in the wrong setting.

    In fact, the story of how I learned Japanese well enough in just one hour to literally use the expressions with a native-speaking business owner includes a lot of help from JapanesePod101 tools and resources, including:

    Japanese Vocabulary Lessons

    Each lesson on JapanesePod101 includes a vocabulary section where you can:

  • Listen to Each Term at Normal Speed or Slow Speed
  • Make Recordings of You Learning Each Word
  • See the English and Japanese Spelling for Each Word
  • Review Each Word As Many Times as You Like
  • Add to Your Word Bank and Flashcard Deck
  • And More

    As someone who studied French for years in a classroom, I cannot believe how easy and simple it is to learn and master words on JapanesePod101. JapanesePod101 even makes sure to use a male and female instructor to say each vocabulary term so you can hear how men and women enunciate differently.

    Now here’s the coolest part:

    The line-by-line audio function allows you to hear each vocab term and then you can record yourself saying the term back. Then, you can compare the pitch and pronunciation using this fancy widget tool seen here:

    You can compare the instructor’s pronunciation of vocabulary term with a recording of your pronunciation to quickly learn and master each term! However, you may need to grant special permission to let JapanesePod101 make recordings due to security issues on your computer or media device.

    And for those with more time, you can also use special retention tools like the Word Bank and Flashcard deck that help you customize tools for quicker learning.

    Review

    The story of how I learned Japanese in about an hour well enough to respectfully greet and introduce myself to a Japanese client would not be complete without telling you about the Review function. After all, it was this tool that gave me the confidence to conclude that I had truly learned each lesson.

    Conclusion

    The story of how I learned Japanese in about an hour is completely true. Each lesson, when everything is taken into account, took about 20 minutes each. After I made it through that initial meeting, I have since had a little more time to use the system. And as someone who spent 8 years studying French in a traditional classroom setting, I can say with certainty that JapanesePod101 is superior for several reasons, including:

  • All Lessons by Native Speaking Instructors Using the Most Recent Vocabulary and Terminology
  • I Can Study Whenever I Want
  • I Can View and Complete Lessons As Fast or Slow As I Want
  • Loads of Tools to Help You Learn Faster and Retain More
  • Very Affordable (less than $10 a month compared to $100’s for just one class in a traditional setting)
  • Very Convenient on My Schedule
  • Learn Lessons on Any Media Device with Internet Access

    Now I know that I work on websites for a living so maybe using an online language system is a little easier for me than someone with less website experience. But as someone who optimizes websites for a living, I can also tell you that JapanesePod101 is an extremely user-friendly website that is simple to navigate and use.

    So, there’s the story of how I learned Japanese in about an hour well enough to greet and introduce myself using fluent Japanese in the biggest meeting of my life.

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