Have you ever wandered the streets of Tokyo, or perhaps Narita International Airport…and been totally lost, confused, and frustrated by the language situation?
Well, by the end of this Rocket Japanese you’ll hopefully never have to go through that again! But first, let me tell a story about my own father a few years ago…
He had a business trip to Tokyo. He brought only $35 in cash with him. This was obviously a huge mistake on his part period but the real problem was the ATM pin numbers.
The Japanese ATMs use a seven digit code, not a 4 or 6 digit PIN like American ATMs. He had no way to get cash out of an ATM. On top of that his credit card wasn’t working. And to really put the icing on the cake, his level of Japanese was amateur, at best (he’d been to one or two in-person language classes). Needless to say, he was in major trouble. It took nearly two days before my mom was able to get his PIN changed so he could actually pull cash out of an ATM.
Yes, you can bet my father wishes he had a copy of Rocket Japanese at that point. He couldn’t communicate with anyone (money or not), and it was simply a real struggle for him.
But, with a little bit of practice, and the right program, you can master Japanese to the point where you can at least navigate around the Tokyo airport or city center. So, let’s dive into this Rocket Japanese review and see if this (relative) newcomer to the market lives up to the great hype!
Rocket Japanese Review
Let’s Talk Letters
The biggest issue that many English speakers find intimidating about learning a new language is when the letters are (gasp!) different! Whether it’s Cyrillic or Japanese, the thought of a new alphabet is indeed intimidating. That’s why it’s worth mentioning that you have to get over this hurdle.
If you think about it—you learned the English alphabet when you were what, five years old?
There’s no reason you can’t learn a second one whether you’re 25 or 85! It’s just symbols that will become photographic in your mind. So get over this hurdle.
By laying it out in a clear, logical fashion and including plenty of graphics to help you get the hang of it. Here, take a look for yourself:
Rocket Languages is known for having applicable, real-world phrases for you to learn rather than random words that make no sense together. You know how many language programs teach you how to say, “Do you know where the green dog is?”
Yeah, none of that in this program.
My father, in his case, would have been very well served by knowing knowledge more like…
- Module 2.1 – Getting Around Kyoto (well, Tokyo in his case!)
- Module 1.7 – How to Ask For Something
- Module 2.6 – How Do I Get There? Where Is It?
The modules in Rocket Japanese are based around real-world use. Situations that you would encounter while traveling, or hell—living, in Japan. Stuff that would actually help you survive and live a somewhat normal day-to-day life.
And that’s the great thing about traveling abroad—if you make the effort, people will notice.
Even if you speak really terrible and broken Japanese, people are likely going to go out of their way to help you more if you’ve simply made the effort. Of course, you need to be in the same relative zip code. Asking where the green dog is won’t get you to the metro! Which is why Rocket Japanese is great.
Man, do you know how much my dad was paying for his in-person Japanese classes—with a handful of other students in the class?
Something like $35 a lesson!
Learning a language takes time and persistence. If you go to class and are then sent on your way with a textbook—that’s not very effective learning. It helps to have someone speaking to you, otherwise you have no practice—just theoretical knowledge.
At the same time, $35 a lesson adds up. If you want to truly master a language, you have to be putting in at least an hour a day. Are you really going to pay someone north of $200 a week?
Unless you’ve got significant coin…probably not.
And plus—that’s money that could be used on a trip to Japan!
In any case, Rocket Japanese is quite affordable and dare I say—a complete bargain compared to traditional learning methods. A Japanese tutor is certainly not as cheap as a Spanish tutor in a place like California (where my dad lives).
Your Time Is Valuable
That’s the other thing about learning a language—who has time these days?!
That’s the great thing about learning a language online—it’s 100% self-paced. While I would say you shouldn’t take too many days off—it’s no big if you miss a day here and there. Unlike that college professor that will mark you down for attendance—you’re the boss.
That’s the great thing about Rocket Japanese—when life happens, you just pick it up again the next day. No need to beat yourself up because you can’t spend an hour on Japanese.
And, there’s no homework 😉
Is Japanese Rocket Better Than The “Real Thing”?
I won’t go that far.
Classroom instruction, or better yet, a tutor, is still going to trump an online language learning program in most cases. But, I can live with that when you’ve got the other benefits of it.
- Mobility with apps and the internet
- Lower price (by a lot)
- Flexibility with schedule (by far)
- Great layout of curriculum (plus you can go back and review whenever you want)
With that being said, it’s an excellent program that will help you get the lay of the land in Japan.
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