Another year is over, Christmas has come and gone, and no doubt you are starting to think about your New Year’s resolution. Or wait, you have already thought about them?
Instead of the usual “lose weight”, “get a better job” or “go to the gym every Tuesday” scenario, why not base a realistic (and, let’s face it – fun) Japan or Japanese-based resolution that you can try alone or with friends? That way, you can work on something you really love, and maybe even have something to boast about by this time next year.
Photo: Jonathan Leung on Flickr
Here are some ideas to get you started. Whether you live in Japan or not, all ten of them are possible to achieve. Which ones sound good to you?
Resolution #1: Watch a Japanese TV Show
Whether you’re learning Japanese or you just enjoy Japanese TV, there is a constant flow of brilliant Japanese dramas, comedies and more to sink your teeth into. Some new 2017 shows include Gekokujo Juken, Nigeru Wa Hajidaga Yakunitatsu and Gin To Kin, although it can’t hurt to check out some older classics such as Koizora or Hana Yori Dango.
Resolution #2: Start writing a Japanese diary
If you’re learning Japanese, try bumping up your language skills by starting a Japanese diary. No matter what your level, you can write simple sentences, vocabulary lists or full-length paragraphs in Japanese to brush up your learning.
Photo: Fredrik Rubensson on Flickr
If you aren’t studying Japanese at the moment, write a diary on all the new great things you’ve discovered about Japan, its culture and its people. For example, how high is Mt. Fuji? What’s a Japanese delicacy in Kyoto? Who invented sushi?
Resolution #3: Make friends with a Japanese person
There are hundreds of Japanese people out there looking to make friends with English-speaking people like you. Websites such as Japan-Guide.com are a great way to meet people, exchange languages or simply chat about mutual habits.
Resolution #4: Learn a Japanese song
A great target for the new year is to commit yourself to learning an entire Japanese song, including the lyrics and what they mean. This will prepare yourself for real Japanese Karaoke, and you might pick up some new vocabulary along the way! Here are some great bands and musicians to get you started:
- Arashi (Pop)
- BEGIN (country/shamisen)
- Kyari Pamyu Pamyu (J-Pop)
- Nightmare (J-Metal)
- Bump of Chicken (Alternative Rock)
- AKB48 (J-Pop)
- Koda Kumi (Pop)
- Utada Hikaru (Pop)
Photo: Michael Zimmer on Flickr
Resolution #5: Visit Japan if you haven’t already!
Depending on where you live, you can change this resolution to suit you. Never been to Japan? Start saving up money to go! Check flights, hotels (or, if you decide to try resolution #3, you won’t need a hotel!).
If you’ve visited Japan before, why not visit again? Take someone with you who has never been and give them a tour!
Living in Japan? Visit a place you’ve never been! Nagano, Hokkaido, Okinawa, Hiroshima and Fukuoka are great places to visit.
Photo: byeangel on Flickr
Resolution #6: Visit a Japanese museum
Check out your local area and see if there is a Japanese museum or exhibition you haven’t visited before. You might learn something new, and gain a deeper appreciation for Japanese history.
Resolution #7: Go to a video game, cosplay or anime convention
If you like video games and cosplay, see if there is an event near you next year. Even if you’re not sure if it would be your kind of thing, you could visit anyway. Cosplay conventions have plenty of fans dressing up as their favourite anime or game character, rare merchandise, and sometimes even special guests.
Resolution #8: Try a new Japanese food
If you’re not living in Japan, there is likely a Japanese restaurant somewhere near you. If you haven’t visited it yet, why not meet up with your friends or family and give it a try? If you have eaten there before, is there anything on the menu you haven’t eaten yet? If you live in Japan, there is bound to be a type of fish or vegetable dish you haven’t eaten before. Make it your new goal to try it.
Photo: llee_wu on Flickr
Resolution #9: Watch a Japanese anime
Japan lives and breathes anime, and unless you really hate watching TV, it is likely that you have watched one before. The most well-known anime shows include Pokemon, Dragonball, Bleach and Naruto, but they aren’t the only ones out there. Horror, comedy, drama and fantasy are all available in anime, and you might find something that’ll inspire you to visit Japan, help you learn Japanese or even help you get pumped up for resolution #7! Knights of Sidonia, Eden of the East and Kanon aren’t necessarily new, but are all great shows you should check out. They are science-fiction, mystery and drama, respectively.
Resolution #10: Write something
If you enjoy writing, why not make it your mission to write an article, story or poem based around Japan and/or Japanese culture? You could contribute to writing sites such as HubPages or here on Taiken. If you’re creative, you could even try poetry or a short story. Use your favourite aspect of Japan to inspire you, and you might end up creating something great.
Imagine the possibilities if you try one (or more) of these resolution ideas. Don’t give in to self-doubt – have a try, and see where it takes you. Let’s make this year a success!