John Dinkel is the CEO and founder of Manga Sensei, an online education company that teaches Japanese through fun, effective, modern mediums, including a weekly comic series, a daily 5-minute podcast (the #1 Japanese language podcast on Spotify), and a free 30-day course on the basics of Japanese. John began his Japanese journey as an LDS missionary in Nagoya, Japan, an experience that changed the trajectory of his life, showed him the necessity of making mistakes, and lead him to start his business and share the lessons he learned.
In the interview, we discuss:
- How John went from a rural farm in Nebraska to a Japanese metropolis.
- Why you need to make as many mistakes as possible to learn a language.
- How the LDS approach to language learning is different than traditional courses.
- The critical difference between chikin (チキン) and chikan (痴漢).
- John’s frustration with traditional Japanese language education in universities and how it lead to the creation of Manga Sensei.
- Why John focuses on practical application (and why he didn’t learn the Japanese word for “coffee” until a year into his learning journey).
- What to do if you are struggling with spoken Japanese.
- Why John still uses roumaji despite being able to read kana and kanji.
- John’s favorite Japanese learning resources for beginning, intermediate, and advanced learners.
- How John learns Japanese in the shower each morning.
- Why you have to make 10,000 mistakes to get fluent in a language.
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