First of a Two-part Series

Japanese is not a difficult language, but I will grant that it is intimidating. So many aspects of it seem to conspire against students from Western countries: the kanji, the grammar structure, the lack of explicit subjects and pronouns.

One of the most intimidating aspects of writing Japanese is 手紙 (tegami, letters). Drafting a letter isn't as simple as shooting off whatever is on the top of your head. The language of letters always feels very 固い (katai, formal/rigid), and there are elements of etiquette that often make students stop writing letters before they even start.