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“At first I was skeptical. Boy was I wrong.”

Congratulations to Jenni from Southern California on winning the GRAND PRIZE of Mail Bag Contest II!

Jenni is in high school currently and absolutely LOVES Japanese!  Much like many of our other listeners, she became interested in the language and culture first through Japanese media like anime and  manga.  She was a bit discouraged when she first thought of learning Japanese, but toughed it out and is moving along and learning quickly!

Have a look at the mail she sent us:

“My name is Jenni and I’m a junior in high school. I am 16 years old going on to 17 this year. I became interested in Japan through anime and manga. That soon developed into a greater passion for the Japanese language, its people, and its culture. 

I started trying to learn Japanese on my own in the 8th grade.  My local high school offered Japanese classes but, sadly, they were going to be removed the year that I would be entering that high school. 

So, I set off to learn Japanese on my own through the easiest and cheapest way possible, the Internet. For the first year and a half I learned through many websites what I could, but none of them were well structured or explained things very well. I was starting to give up hope on ever learning Japanese. 

My parents just didn’t think I would stick with the language so they didn’t bother getting me a teacher. “What will you ever use Japanese for?” is what they would constantly tell me. “It’s almost impossible to master.” In a way they were right. It was difficult to master. But that wasn’t going to stop me. It only fueled me to try harder and prove them wrong. 

Jenni at school, avid listener of JapanesePod101 and fan of anime and manga!

Then, thank God, I came across Japanesepod101 last year. At first I was skeptical. I thought it would be just like every other ‘learn Japanese’ website out there.
Boy was I wrong. 

I learned SO much within just one month of listening to the pod casts, just with the free content. It was so useful it turned into my own little class on Japanese. I have hosted Japanese students before and they were surprised when I knew how to use words such as ‘zenzen’ or even knew about places like the ‘suicide forest’ at the bottom of Mt. Fuji(thanks to your culture class). I of course told them it was all thanks to Japanesepod101. 

My parents have been really impressed on how much I have learned since I started learning Japanese. They are still very unsure on whether or not it is a good idea but at least they are a bit more accepting of it. They never thought I would learn even the basics. Now, me and some of my friends use Japanesepod101 as a teacher. We meet twice a week for a few hours and go over a lesson each day. We only use the free content since our parents won’t pay for a subscription, but we still learn a GREAT deal from it. That’s how well structured and useful this website is. 

JapanesePod101 has honestly become a life saver to me. I cannot go a day with out listening to a lesson. I just want to tell you how thankful I am and how much I appreciate what you guys are doing. You are great teachers and from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU :]” 

That’s truly inspiring, Jenni!  Despite not getting much support, you really tried your best and searched for the best tools you could afford to aide your studies.  On top of that, having group lessons at school during your breaks?  素晴らしい!  And that’s why we’ve decided to pick your story as the Grand Prize.

Have a great story to share?  Share with us yours in the comment field on any of our current posts or e-mail us.