8. Learn tongue twisters and sound effects.
Not only do tongue twisters force you to look at Japanese in new ways, they are also instant conversation starters. Unlike in English, where sound effects are only found in comic books and cartoons, Japanese sound effects are part of daily speech and your speech sound more natural if you learn them. Peko peko is how the Japanese describe a stomach growling, and adding desu (is/am) on the end turns the phrase into “I’m hungry.” Did you know that there are at least four ways of describing the sound of rain in Japanese? They even have a sound to describe silence.
Fun fact: The Japanese word for “tongue twister” is hayakuchi kotoba which means “fastmouth word(s).”