Japan and the struggling brick-and-mortar bookstore

I’ve been a student of the Japanese language since 1988, and I’ve made numerous trips to Japan. I made my first trip there in 1992, in fact. I love Japan.

Whenever I travel to Japan, a bookstore is always first and last on my list of destinations. No sketchy bars and geisha houses for me. Take me to the bookstore…Japanese-language books are like gold to me—a bookworm and an enthusiast of the Japanese language

Printed Japanese-language reading materials aren’t that easy to acquire at reasonable prices in the United States.

What about Amazon, you ask? Oh, that it were only that simple. Continue reading “Japan and the struggling brick-and-mortar bookstore”

Thoughts of Swahili

Longtime readers will know that learning languages is one of my lifetime avocations. I’ve studied and learned—to varying degrees—Japanese, Spanish, Mandarin, German, Portuguese, and several others.

Still, I have never learned an indigenous African language. 

This is partly because I have no immediate plans to visit Africa, and partly because so many African countries use either English or French as lingua francas, alongside multiple tribal languages.

If one does wish to learn an African language (other than English or French), Swahili would seem to be the hands-down choice. In addition to being one of the 10 most commonly spoken languages in the world, Swahili boasts 200 million speakers. That makes Swahili a major world language, on par with Russian or Portuguese. Continue reading “Thoughts of Swahili”