Learning a language… whilst chronically ill – JAPANESE 日本語 PT. 1

Hey my Lovelies,

In this post I’m going to speak about my self-teach Japanese language learning, which started in 2016/2017

This is just simply a way to show everyone why and how I began to ‘study’ Japanese language whilst battling chronic illness, hence the title – ‘Learning a language… whilst chronically ill’. This is also going to be a series where I occasionally post updates of my progression as a chronic illness warrior learning a language. Hope you enjoy!


Why I Started learning Japanese?

Ever since I was little I was actually very adamant on learning Mandarin. I’ve always had an appreciation for Chinese culture, art, food, traditional clothing. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I thought about learning Japanese and more about Japanese culture.

My main reason for learning a language is to help me stay positive, I needed something to occupy myself with whilst I’m chronically ill. I also believe that you should never stop learning no matter what age you are, the day you stop learning is the day you stop growing as an individual. Regardless of any circumstance, the thought of not learning and growing is pretty disheartening to me.

My first Anime Movie

Anime - Your Name - Laura Spoonie
Anime – Your Name (my first anime movie) November 26th 2016

I saw my first anime movie (the first anime I watched all the way through) in 2016. I was able to get tickets to see, ‘Your Name’ at the ODEON in the West End, the week after it was released in the UK. I loved this movie sooo much and fell in love with the characters, story line, appreciated the art, and language. Yes, I had heard Japanese plenty of times prior to watching this movie but it was sort of like a ‘light bulb’ moment’, I guess.

After seeing this movie I then decided that Japanese would be the language for me to start self-teaching.

I haven’t given up on the idea of learning Mandarin but I know how intense the language is, and I had to be realistic in the fact that although I do like a challenge, being chronically ill makes it extremely hard to concentrate and focus on even the simplest of tasks never mind learning one of the most hardest languages in the world… although I know Japanese is still technically one of the hardest languages in the world too.

Singing & Speaking Japanese


After seeing, ‘Your Name’ in the cinema I went straight to the internet and looked up the soundtrack for the movie.

On my phone I searched for the Japanese lyrics (kanji and hiragana), Japanese (romaji) and also the English translation of this song, so I could start to learn the meanings and compare language structure.

Best believe for the following months to come all the neighbours heard some rather off key versions of Japanese songs from an anime movie – “What on Earth are you singing about?” 😂

Japanese Ministry - Laura Spoonie
Japanese Ministry

It wasn’t until October 2017 when I actually started motivating myself to go out there and actually connect with Japanese people, attempt conversations and really challenge myself. I started learning phrases, greetings and simple sentences that I guess we would use in almost everyday life. I was able to join this ministry a few times during the latter part of 2017 and then one time during this year, but I haven’t been back since my long episode of sickness.

Kanji painting

As I wanted to do more Bible Studying and strengthen my own faith I decided it would be a great challenge to learn Japanese and to also study Bible topics and Bible scriptures in Japanese…I’m all for that ‘two birds, one stone’ theory.

I actually painted this kanji above in 2016, this particular kanji means – LOVE. I wanted to start off painting the Kanji symbol for love because all good things start when love is in the mix right?, and so I begun with the scripture at John 13:34&35 – (click to read scripture on JW.ORG)

Painting - Fruitage of the Spirit - Laura Spoonie
Painting – Fruitage of the Spirit

I then challenged myself to learn the rest of the Fruitage of God’s Spirit in Japanese, completed painting all of the Kanji for all 9 of them by the end of 2017 and also learned to pronounce them correctly. Pretty chuffed with this achievement!

Fruitage of the Spirit - Galatians 5:22&23- Laura Spoonie
Fruitage of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22&23

The extended homework I set for myself was:

Think of Bible characters that embody each one of these Fruitage of the Spirit and then learn to say and write their names in Japanese (Katakana).

Language learning & Fibro Fog

Fibro Fog… what an enemy of progress! For those of you who also live with fibromyalgia know how so annoying it is to battle with the FOG. Between Dyslexia and Fibro fog they both make it as challenging as possible for me whilst trying to learn new things and process information. As I’m a naturally creative and visual person I use this as a way to learn and actually get through everyday life, which is why I decide to paint so not only am I learning to say the kanji but i’m imprinting the symbol in my head whilst actively learning.

Where I am with Japanese – UPDATE

As it stands, I haven’t been doing any self-study for a few months now. I’ve fallen out of the routine, something I find difficult is to keep a routine especially as chronic illness and mental illness is so unpredictable. I will get back into it, as I do enjoy language learning and it actually gives me something positive to do, when I have enough energy to do it.


Are you learning a language?



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12 thoughts on “Learning a language… whilst chronically ill – JAPANESE 日本語 PT. 1

  1. I love the quote, “the day you stop learning is the day you stop growing as an individual.” Also, combining the learning of a new language with studying the Bible is a genius idea! Take care

    Liked by 1 person

      • I did French at GCSE but apart from that, no other languages – not got the time but maybe in the future. I adore painting and crafts, again haven’t got the time (which is a shame because it helps my mental health), not usually got the space either, hopefully when the kids are a bit older I will get into it again!

        Liked by 1 person

      • French is cool!
        Understandable, learning a language is very time consuming and also takes a lot of concentration. It’s such a gift when people are multi-lingual because of upbringing. Maybe the children can join in with you one day when they’re older, like a family language class Lol – team work 🙂x

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t actually remember a lot of French now – because I never had cause to use it. I have only been to France once (Paris) and no one understood my French and insisted on replying to me in English 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I just found your post via a search! I’m also learning Japanese, and I have CFS (with ‘fibromyalgia-like symptoms’ – but I haven’t requested a formal assessment for it. Likewise with dyslexia, I’ve been recommended to get tested but haven’t).

    I’ve been learning for 10+ years, but I am not good. I’ve been out of practice for half of those years! Recently picking it up again after a four year break, but it’s been tough to motivate myself.

    I’ll get there… Good luck with your studies too! I understand how bad things like brain fog can make things. But I hope you will be able to appreciate the progress you are able to make nonetheless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jazz,

      This reply is so awfully late it’s embarrassing Lol

      How are you doing?! Health wise, language learning etc.

      I’ve been really awful with blogging & balancing life, but it’s been an overall joy.

      Do you have Instagram or twitter would defo. Connect

      Laura xx


      • Hello! This is also a very late reply 😂

        Sadly life took a toll. I left my job as a result, which was difficult. Thankfully, I’m not alone because now many people are in the same unemployed position as me due to what’s going on right now. That somehow makes me feel better!

        I am thinking of applying for disability support, as I don’t think I can push myself any longer.

        Language learning, I’m actually on Discord lately. I’m trying to practice with people on there, and I feel like I’m getting there.. slowly but surely. Not impressive or anything, but it something! How about you?

        & Yes, I do have Instagram! It’s jazzniii 🥰


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