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When I first came to Japan, I could not speak the language. I came to the country in a job straight out of college, teaching conversational English in a juku, or cram school, in a town outside of Osaka, and my high school French and college German were of no use to me.
The first weeks were hard, trying to learn everything. I began copying the written kana daily in both forms, hiragana and katakana, so that I could be able to read signs, menus, and labels. I hired a teacher and attended lessons weekly. I talked with new friends most nights in a local bar and picked up Osaka-ben, or slang.