Why is learning Japanese so hard?

The Japanese language is extremely difficult. It routinely makes the list of "Top 5 Most Difficult Languages to Learn". Sometimes people ask us why it's so challenging. 

Usually it's helpful to illustrate the difference between Japanese and other languages using a statistic I came across once upon a time.

If you want to learn a foreign language, and be relatively fluent, you should be able to understand at least 80% of everyday conversation. The number of words required to get to 80% varies,…

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Foot massages and fortunate encounters...

We were walking through a local mall one evening last month when I noticed a new store: a spa. I suddenly had a completely irrational desire to go in and see if they offered reflexology (foot massages). It was completely irrational because we already have someone who does reflexology, who (a) we’re completely satisfied with, (b) is much closer to our home, and (c) is cheaper than anyone else. Still, we went in. 

The shopkeeper was named Dana*. We soon found out that she’d been to Canada once…

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