One of the “secrets” to successfully learning a foreign language like Japanese is to develop a meaningful emotional connection to the culture behind the language, something I learned while studying Japanese at SDSU. One day, our teacher changed her lesson plan slightly, producing sheets of long lyrics which she distributed to each of us. It was a song called 乾杯 kampai (YouTube link), a deep and emotional song by singer Nagabuchi Tsuyoshi which is popular at weddings, and the lesson for that day was for everyone to learn how to sing it. I didn’t know it at the time, but my teacher was planting a seed within her students which did more to bring us closer to Japan than learning how to conjugate a dozen irregular verbs and memorize fifty kanji characters would have. I’m thankful to my teacher for realizing that more was needed than the story of grammar and vocabulary to motivate her students to create connections with Japan.
Music can tie you to a culture in important ways.