Keys to Language Acquisition

A few weeks back, I did a podcast with Andy Morgan of RippedBody.JP. We’ve done several episodes before. Andy’s been a great mentor when it comes to nutrition and training. But this time,  I wanted to reach out in order to talk more on his life in Japan.

The time that’s passed since I worked through the JET Program continues to fly by. And the more I network with JET Program alums, and others who’ve done stints teaching, I’ve seen so many interesting stories of how Japan has impact their lives. Some for the good, some for the worse, and some who remain undecided.

And that’s where Andy comes into play. Not only has he spent nearly a decade over there, he’s also built his own business. So how did he thrive when others wanted to call it quits? How did he venture towards the long-term? Be sure to check out the full episode when it releases this weekend, but in the meantime, let’s tackle one segment from the show.

When I asked him for a tip for living in Japan long-term, Andy was adamant about learning the kanji. “Don’t take shortcuts. Learn them… It takes some sacrifice, but the way I kept myself accountable was public humiliation and financial devastation.”

I have so much appreciation for this approach because it basically boils down to no nonsense and risk.

How many of us have focused too much on the methodology instead of doing the task? You read tons of articles and books about how you’re supposed to do something, but never put the same amount of time in the practicing the task. That’s what I did. And when it comes to our weak points, we’d rather spend all our effort dancing around them.

You see this happen all the time when it comes to the gym. People often avoid lower body workouts because their lower body isn’t as strong as their upper body. And then what happens? Your weakness stays a weakness.

As for the financial stuff, I’m not much of a better. However, I do think the concept of raising the stakes ties in nicely with the whole public humiliation aspect. We’ve heard the phrase “It’s okay to make mistakes” ad naseum. We’ve heard it so much it pretty much has little to no meaning anymore.

These days more and more people are aware that you have to make mistakes. Not only is it “okay” to do so, it’s a necessity in order to achieve success. In essence, it’s the principle of failing forward. Then, public humiliation takes it all a step further.

Humiliation. Embarrassment. Shame. They can all be killer if you let them be defeat. But if you keep rolling with the punches, they become powerful tools. These moments of humiliation are a powerful way to embed memories. Some of the words and vocabulary I’ll never forget are a result of being unable to know them in situations I should have. It’s a real life application of Slum Dog Millionaire!

If you really want to learn a language, don’t fast forward through the basics. Put in the time to properly build the fundamentals. As you add on to that, consider putting something on the line. Once the stakes are raised, you’ll really see your progress jump.


Andy’s first appearance detailed more of his roots and Intermittent Fasting knowledge. If you enjoyed that, be sure to check out the varying degrees of fitness talk in his second appearance, third appearance, and fourth!  

Published by Jon Dao

Formerly, the Conversation Coach

One thought on “Keys to Language Acquisition

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: