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Old 09-13-2012, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,782 posts, read 13,372,272 times
Reputation: 11310

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Okay, I just found out that a couple blocks from me, in an office building, there's a fairly highly-rated language school that offers courses in Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese (among many other international languages). It's only $275 per semester, which isn't bad at all really, so I think that I'll go ahead and sign up.

Here's the thing, though: I got to Japanese 2 previously, and could carry on fairly simple conversations as well as sing original songs or covers (I'm a musician), and could also read and write enough that I could read Japanese news or media websites with reasonable comprehension.

Then, I broke up with my ex (Japanese-American and totally fluent), and felt like I had no reason to carry on with it... so now, I'm back down to a very, very basic level. So,

- I could take Japanese again and would most likely regain what I'd lost in short form, and then could focus on trying to gain fluency. I also have a friend and a relative who live in Japan whom I could go visit, and possibly find work through either of them.

- Alternately, I could just start new with Chinese - I've always wanted to visit, and it could potentially be a more valuable language to learn in terms of business opportunities. I have another friend who moved over there to teach English in Shanghai and is enjoying it there; they set him up with his own "foreigner" apartment. He's told me that he could get me a six-month or year-long gig doing the same, if I felt so inclined.

- Another one of my friends, a bandmate actually, owns (or more accurately, has a stake in) property (as part of owning a "corporation") in Thailand. He goes there three or four times a year and has encouraged me to go over there for a six-month stay to get a bunch of recording done without any work-related interference; he also said that he got invited to play music at tons of venues in Bangkok and was approached by local talent scouts because he was a "farang" who was playing rock versions of Thai standards. It all sounds really cool, but, I wonder how valuable/usable/marketable a working knowledge of Thai would be outside of Thailand.

Any thoughts?
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:39 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,918 posts, read 70,745,369 times
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Personally, I'd vote for Mandarin. Seems like Japanese has a more narrow application. And Thai? I'm guessing it's more difficult, it has more tones than Mandarin. Chinese is fun, except for the writing system But if you've studied some Japanese, you have a little bit of a running jump on it.

Chinese you might be able to use with overseas Chinese around the world, as long as they're Taiwanese or Mandarin speakers.
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,951 posts, read 36,201,625 times
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If you had a strong interest in one particular country, than by all means, choose that respective language. Without that, Mandarin is the most logical.

China is also the place of the present and future economically. Plus people can do business or teach english just the same.

Japan is a lot more difficult (and much more expensive) to try to start or run a business. There is a demand for learning English here in Japan, but it's competitive, and not much of a demand here for English, not as much as China or Korea.

Thailand is kind of the money pit place. It's a country where people go and spend their money, or start a business and watch it go bust, etc. They try to teach english there, and can't survive on the income, etc. That kind of stuff, in my opinion. Some make it work, but easier to make it work in China. Thailand is the most of the three, but that is what also makes it a money pit.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,782 posts, read 13,372,272 times
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Thanks for the info.

In terms of interest, Japan or China, definitely. Thailand is certainly fascinating to me, but... Japan and China moreso

Is there any truth left to the anecdotal stories of white people being able to find side incomes doing things like acting or as musicians or what have you with relative ease? It seems like there are enough foreigners there now that it wouldn't be the case... as noted above, I'm a musician, I've DJ'ed and made beats before in LA, SF, NYC, and Boston. I'm also 6'2, blonde haired and blue eyed, muscled and fit the "American" stereotypical look to a T (OH YEAH!! ). Anything I could do to earn a few extra bucks in my time there, right?

Also, I had no idea that Thailand is that expensive! Is it only like that in Bangkok, or do you find that throughout the country?
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:04 PM
 
16,437 posts, read 19,155,288 times
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Hindi or Mandarin, but Hindi will be much easier to attain fluency in.
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:06 PM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
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Not really interested in India...
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:21 PM
 
5,096 posts, read 8,076,823 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
- Another one of my friends, a bandmate actually, owns (or more accurately, has a stake in) property (as part of owning a "corporation") in Thailand. He goes there three or four times a year and has encouraged me to go over there for a six-month stay to get a bunch of recording done without any work-related interference; he also said that he got invited to play music at tons of venues in Bangkok and was approached by local talent scouts because he was a "farang" who was playing rock versions of Thai standards. It all sounds really cool, but, I wonder how valuable/usable/marketable a working knowledge of Thai would be outside of Thailand.

Any thoughts?
To play gigs, whether for money or just for free, as a foreigner you'd want to be sure you have a work permit. I'm assuming your friend has a permit. If you haven't already, I'd suggest talking with your friend as to what's involved in getting one.

As for how valuable, etc., a working knowledge of Thai would be outside of Thailand, in general, not very valuable unless you plan to frequently meet with and have long-term friendships with a number of Thais (usually students) or are fairly close to a Thai community (so to speak) located outside of Thailand. If they're in the US, then many, but not necessarily all, are able to speak English as well. The value of lesrning Thai would be of most value within Thailand itself, not so much elsewhere.
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:30 PM
 
5,096 posts, read 8,076,823 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
Also, I had no idea that Thailand is that expensive! Is it only like that in Bangkok, or do you find that throughout the country?
There's Bangkok... and then there's the rest of Thailand. Bangkok can be spendy depending on where you decide to live and how you want to live. It's cheaper in the outskirts of the metropolitan area, but still higher than most other areas around the country.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:58 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,951 posts, read 36,201,625 times
Reputation: 9489
Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
Thanks for the info.

In terms of interest, Japan or China, definitely. Thailand is certainly fascinating to me, but... Japan and China moreso

Is there any truth left to the anecdotal stories of white people being able to find side incomes doing things like acting or as musicians or what have you with relative ease? It seems like there are enough foreigners there now that it wouldn't be the case... as noted above, I'm a musician, I've DJ'ed and made beats before in LA, SF, NYC, and Boston. I'm also 6'2, blonde haired and blue eyed, muscled and fit the "American" stereotypical look to a T (OH YEAH!! ). Anything I could do to earn a few extra bucks in my time there, right?

Also, I had no idea that Thailand is that expensive! Is it only like that in Bangkok, or do you find that throughout the country?
I wouldn't count on making much income doing that...but it exists.

I've been an extra in China, Korea, and India...no one ever paid for that though. If you have a ton of acting experience and speak the language fluently, you'd certainly have a shot in Korea or China and such.

Most of the people on TV in Japan and Korea, who are foreigners, are very very very fluent in Japanese or Korean respectively.

Regarding SOLELY on looks...that use to be the case in Japan about 30-40 years ago...back in the 70s and 80s and such. Now days, you have to know the local language very well too. A little easier in Korea/China without language, but not really 'acting, acting'. More like extra work.

I played a priest in China, they simply dubbed what I said. Actually I think I made $5 or $10 to be available the entire day and evening. You certainly wouldn't want to count on that as stable income, by any means at all.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:02 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,447,074 times
Reputation: 11862
I would say Mandarin too. China is not only larger, but they're far more welcoming of foreigners wanting to do business there, and it's a huge country with so much to explore/so much diversity. It probably is easier to learn than Thai or Vietnamese too, and even if stay in the States you could make use of it.
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