Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Way back in middle school I started French lessons with a wonderful French teacher, but my family moved away in the middle of the semester, and I never resumed teaching myself.
We moved to a small town in northern Wisconsin, and the only language that high school taught was German. The instructor of the class was also the mayor of our town, and he did not speak German. Later I took German introductory courses in community college, two years of them, but even we six students who'd stuck through it to the end never learned to speak or translate much.
On my own I tried to learn Japanese through Pimsleur tapes. Yes, cassette tapes: I was living in Minneapolis and driving to work in St. Paul, which necessitated over an hour of commuting time one way (outside of rush hours it's a 15-minute commute). I decided to use that time to learn Japanese, and my car had a tape deck, so I paid something like six bucks for the introductory lessons and became pretty skilled with it, for a beginner. Eventually I invested in the advanced lessons as well. But I had no one to practice with and I didn't know enough to understand the anime I was into at the time, so I lost interest, and now I'm stuck with a load of like-new cassette tapes.