During my school years, I have learned English as my first foreign language and Japanese as my second foreign language. I have been learning Japanese since elementary school and as living in Japan, it was hard to communicate with the people around me without having the ability to speak Japanese. When I first started learning Japanese I never thought that I would get to a level where I can speak the language fluently. For me, learning Japanese was much easier compared to learning English because Japanese is similar to my mother tough which is Korean as it has a similar grammar structure. By living in Japan, it has helped me to learn more about the culture through all of the daily experiences that are hard to be learned through books or movies. By having basic Japanese I was able to listen to the Japanese spoken around me and pick up some of the words that I learned in class and even learn new words.
As a Christian in Japan, it was hard for me to find a church as I was not fluent in the language to understand the stories being taught. Therefore, I lost connection with my religion. However, after learning Japanese for a few years I was able to attend a church. At first, it was challenging just to understand the story. Therefore, after each story, I went up to the pastor and asked him to tell me the story with simpler words and slowly. By going up to the pastor I had to push myself to speak Japanese to ask questions about the story. At first, I was shy to ask questions because I was afraid of making a mistake when speaking Japanese. However, in the course of the time I was able to ask questions without being afraid of making a mistake.
After a few years of going to church, I had the courage to gather a few people from my church to go to a park nearby to tell people stories of God. However, at first, it was hard to talk about GOD to people as sometimes they would not understand what I was trying to communicate due to the lack of Japanese skill that I had. So, I started to add in body language to communicate with people. People were understanding my body language but I felt like they were not understanding the deeper meaning of my religion. Therefore, before the second time, I had to study the vocabulary in order to tell people about GOD to Japanese people. By learning the new vocabulary it helped me to develop my polite Japanese. During the second time, I was able to talk with more confidence to the people around me about God and people was understanding what I was trying to say better than the first time.
Through this experience, I was able to learn how important learning a new language to a fluent level is in order to tell people something that is a big and important part of my life. It also made me realize the importance of the language when using it as a tool to communicate because the things I was trying to communicate was able to be communicated through body language. However, body language limited the communication that was happening as it did not let people understand the deeper meaning that I wanted to communicate. Therefore, I learned to appreciate the language that we use every day as I learned how language can help us have a deeper understanding of a subject.