There’s an odd paradox in learning a foreign language, in that often the phrases most satisfying to use in real life are the least exciting to study. For example, take the phrase, “Nama wo ippai kudasai.”
It means “One draft beer, please.” Utter the sentence at a restaurant in Tokyo on a hot afternoon, where it actually produces a cold glass of beer, and for that one moment, you feel like you’re the linguistic king of the world. In a classroom or self-study setting, though there’s nothing particularly colorful or fun about it, making it less likely to leave an impression in your mind and pretty easy to forget.
Trying to combat this is a Japanese text-book, which we found on a recent trip to China, that spices things up by teaching phrases taken not from everyday life, but from Japan’s biggest cultural ambassador, anime.