My first step before the trip- learning the language

My experience with Language

In The United States during our high school years, students are given choices of language classes. Spanish, French, and German are the typical choices going from most selected to least. Having never cared to follow the path everyone took, that being Spanish, I chose German since it was a fun language. I gave up learning after one year because I said "When will i ever need it?" I still hold some knowledge of the language and never really cared to get back into it. I live in the Chicago area so Spanish would be the only real option for a useful language. But I had no need to learn since it did not effect my daily life. Spanish is well known in the United States as the chart below shows. Around by me in Chicago it spikes, so the influence to learn was even higher. Yet I had no passion for the language. By friend and I have always loved Anime's such as Dragonball, Pokemon, Cowboy Bebop, and Fullmetal Alchemist. A trip to Tokyo Japan is exactly what we were going to do!
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Steps I took to help my progression
Seeing as how I only knew Domo Origato Mr.Roboto from a song, I had, and still have a long way to go. Once I knew we were going I set out to teach myself how to speak some Japanese. Having only about 3 months to learn i knew it was impossible to become fluent, but i wanted to at least try just for myself and so I can get by.

A big help was a YouTuber who is known on here Chris Abroad from the Abroad in Japan Channel. He lived my dream of moving to Japan to teach English. His videos shows the weird side and beautiful side of Japan. One video showed me some programs he uses to get to where he is now with the language. One application is called Memrise, a free system to use and easy to use. I don't mind it too much but it didn't help me learn Katakana and Hirigana. A program that i found while browsing on Youtube was called Dr. Moku. Basically it associates each character with a story. is a and to remember it you can see an a in the middle of the symbol or ス for Su in Katakana you can remember because it looks like a person running who we will call Su. I spent around US $8 for the full version because the trial was so helpful i wanted to see what the whole script was like. This app was the biggest help and I learned Hirigana and Katakana in about 2 weeks which is a huge part of the spoken and written language so it is important to master these two scripts before tackling the beast script.

After that was over it was on to Kanji, the worst one to try to learn because there are so many thousands of characters. Now I will not be able to say much on Kanji as I do not know more than about 20 characters and ten of them being the number 1-10, so i will skip learning to read them but having some knowledge of them is a must. Using the app Duolingo which also has a website to use, which i prefer to use helped me more than any other app. It was engaging and brings back old words and phrases that I forget about until it brings it back. 

I do not have much time and probably won't be be able to have a conversation when i do arrive but i will at least feel comfortable asking a question when in need. Google and this website shall be my crutch. My best to all of you. I struggle with learning this but if you plan ahead you will do great. Follow as much advise as you can get and stick to trying to learn. Thank you so much for reading as this is my first article on here and hope to help if i am able.

Colin Hopperton