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Four Writing Systems
Japanese has four different writing systems; kanji, hiragana, katakana, and romanji. Kanji was imported from China in the 6th Century AD. It has over 2,000 signs. Hiragana is used in children’s books and for simple words, conjugations, and participles. It’s usually the first one people learn. Katakana is the type of writing reserved for foreign words. Romanji is the romantic version of Japanese in written form, often simplifying original words.
Unlike other languages which are written from right to left horizontally, Japanese is also written vertically in columns from right to left.
Unlike Any Other Language
Some languages are derived from others like Latin, Spanish, or French for example. Japanese is not. Until recent studies by linguists, it was classified as a language isolate. But shares common features with Ryukyuan languages, indigenous to Southern Japan.
Talk Fast
Japanese is spoken at a rate of 7.84 syllables-per second, making it one of the fastest spoken languages among native speakers. English is only spoken at 6.19 syllables-per second by comparison which is nearly 2 syllables slower!