Hitting The Wall of Nihongo

It’s not that my brain is full. I’m still doing OK with picking up the grammar and vocabulary in the Pimsleur lessons, and the JPod101 Survival Phrases. Thing is, I’m not sure if they’ll be helpful, and if I’d be better served to spend all my Nihongo brainpower on the katakana studies that Erin suggested. Although that would be harder to study during my lunchtime walk.

Between what I learned from Josh in Japan (mainly just left/right and numbers) and my two other audio sources of Nihongo goodness, I can introduce myself, ask directions, ask if you understand English, be humble about my own knowledge of Japanese, ask you to repeat yourself slowly, be generally polite, make sure I get on and off the train at the right place, ask if you’d like something to eat or drink, ask how to say something in English, ask what something says in Japanese, and a few other parlor tricks. Most of the really useful stuff has come from the JPod101 Survival Phrases, though.

I’ve read that the Pimsleur lessons don’t give an accurate representation of native language speed or rhythm — which is daunting, but expected. I think I can get a better idea of the flow with a half-hour Pimsleur lesson than a 15-minute JPod101 lesson, though. I guess I’m just wondering if I should even keep bothering. I know I’m going to sound pretty idiotic saying stuff like… oh, I don’t know… OK, for example, I don’t think I’ll ever have occasion to say, “Ee, eigo ga yoku wakarimasu. Watashi wa amerikajin desu.” (“Yes, I understand English well. I am an American.” Well, hello, Captain Obvious! Was my god-awful accent the first giveaway?) I also don’t think I’ll ever have occasion to actually ask someone if they’d like to eat or drink something, and especially not at either my place or their place. (“Watashi no tokoro de?”)

I’ve read online that there’s an upcoming lesson that teaches how to count yen. I need some help with remembering numbers without counting on my fingers, so I’ll stick with it at least until that one. Listening and repeating also helps my recall of the previous lessons. I don’t think I’ll get need to use very much Japanese in Tokyo, but I’d like to at least sound like I’m trying my best when and if I do use it.

(The people at my work think I sound Japanese. I don’t think they’ve ever even watched anime.)