So I speak 4 languages and currently studying Japanese :p (Easier than people think actually )
Really, it always seemed such a mountain to climb to learn an eastern language, is it actually not that hard? What are the difficulties?
It really isn't that hard.
Well, first off, I was surprised to find out that they actually write from left to right like we do in French or English (No problem eitherway for me since in arabic we write from right to left)
And sometimes, (rarely) they right downwards...
Now the easy part is the pronounciation and the grammar, the hard part is learning the Kanji.
You see, in japanese you have three alphabets (Though it would be wrong to call them alphabets since they are more pronounciations than letters) :
-Hiragana : The basic one, consists of more than 40 pronounciations (Ex : Ta, te , to, ti, tu, ra , re , ro , re ,ru, ka , ke , ko , ke ,ku ...and so on)
PS : They pronounce the "r" between the english L and R.
-Katakana : It's exactly the same as the hiragana but written differently as it is applied to foreign nouns. For instance "Pizza" would be written in Katakana in japanese, but sushi would be written in hiragana. It gives a clue that the noun has a foreign origin. All the foreign names are also written in Katakana.
-Kanji : The hardest of the three, as there are more than 6000 kanjis, and most of them are copied from the chinese ... They are pictograms, wich represent things and are often used to replace hiragana combinations.
The hiragana combination for instance "Su ki" meaning to love or to like, can be replaced by the kanji represent the woman + the kanji representing the child.
Kanjis take different meanings relatively to the context of the phrase, and the words that are before/after them.
One of the hardest things in the japanese language is also to understand the different nuances while adressing someone... They have several degree of Politness integrated to many words.
For instance "Doko" and "Dochiro" meaning "Where" but varying in politness degree...the latter being more polite.