One needs to learn the language in order to get a better understanding of the culture. Ever since we dreamed of retiring in Kyoto, we started learning Japanese using an app called Memrise. By setting a goal to take a 5 to 10-minute lesson a day, we are slowly building our vocabulary.
I also recommend Tae Kim’s guide to learning Japanese. Tae Kim is an engineer so his class is very systematic.
If you read Chinese, I recommend 音速語言學習日語. The instructor passed the N1 exam after 2 years of self study!
And if you like to hear how the words are pronounced by native Japanese, check out Forvo.
Recently we discovered free Japanese lessons at Zensuji. We love it since we get a chance to practice conversational Japanese and got to meet people with the same passion!
It is quite a wonderful feeling if you start to recognize a few phrases when watching Japanese drama. We were ecstatic when we were able to order food with our broken Japanese on our last trip to Tokyo 🙂
If you are also learning Japanese, please share your experience with us! どうぞよろしくお願いします。