People studying Japanese could benefit from Jose Rizal’s method in learning a new language. According to historians, Rizal memorized five new root words every night. For those who do not know Rizal, he is the National Hero of the Philippines and he was a polymath and a polyglot. Rizal knew 22 languages including the Japanese Language. He stayed in Japan for about 6 weeks from February 28 to April 13, 1888. Just how good was Rizal in speaking Japanese? Was his six weeks of stay in Japan enough for him to acquire proficiency in Japanese?
It is clear that Rizal couldn’t speak Japanese well when he first came to Japan. This is evident from the fact that he needed an interpreter to introduce himself to Osei-san (Ms. Seiko Usui), a Japanese lady who eventually became his girlfriend. "They first met one pleasant afternoon when Rizal beheld a charming girl walk past the Legation gate. With a Japanese gardener as his interpreter, our champion introduced himself to the amused lady. Rizal spoke poor Nippongo, but Seiko knew English, and thus they shared a tongue. Since then, they got together almost daily, revealing the city's sights."
Like some Filipinos, Rizal looked like a Japanese. His Japanese appearance made it difficult for natives to detect that he was a gaikokujin or foreigner. This and the fact that he couldn’t speak Japanese bothered Rizal as can be seen from his letter to his friend Blumentritt: "Here you have your friend Rizal, wonder of the Japanese, since he has a Japanese appearance, and yet does not understand Japanese. "When I go out in the streets shopping and want to buy something,people stare at me and ill-bred boys laugh at me because I speak so strange a language. There are very few people in Tokyo who speak English, but in Yokohama many speak it. Some think I am a Europeanized Japanese who does not want to be taken as such. That often happens with the half-bred Japanese in the Philippines."  Joutatsu
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