The Japanese language is spoken by more than 130 million people. This includes, of course, people in Japan itself (where the majority of Japanese speakers live), but also residents of a number of other countries. Some of the larger Japanese speaking communities are found in Australia, Brazil, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, as well as the United States of America (and especially the state of Hawaii).
Obviously people in Japanese-speaking communities usually learn the language from a young age, however there are also many people who learn the language as an adult. For adult learners, the principal reasons for learning the language are usually business related - it's a lot easier to engage in business and trade with Japanese people and companies if you can communicate with them in their own language.
If you want to learn Japanese there are several options available:
1. You can go to Japanese classes. Of course, this is only possible if your work schedule allows it.
2. You can buy books or tapes that teach Japanese. Some people find this to be an approach that suits them, whereas others find they lack the self-discipline to learn in this way.
3. There is now a variety of computer software and Internet web sites that teach Japanese. A big advantage of these over going to classes (and to some extent as compared to working through a book or tape in linear order), is that most packages are designed so that you can learn at your own pace and work through the materials as best suits you. Additionally, since modern computers now have powerful multimedia capabilities, including playing back audio, displaying graphics, showing videos, etc., and computer-based activites can be highly interactive, many people find this to be an enjoyable and engaging way to learn, Some computer-based packages are delivered in a box containing one or more CD-ROMs, but there are also packages that are delivered entirely over the Internet - if you were to choose one of the latter type, you could even sign-up and start learning immediately.
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