Languages, thought, Programming Languages, and the Lean Movement

Written on May 9, 2012

I heard a long time ago that to learn a new language was to think in that language.  And somewhere this year, I heard that this was not true at all.  I dunno.

In pursuit of finding what it is that the Toyota Total Production System (TPS) is all about, I read that you can't just read about it; you have to be immersed in it.  The book, The Lean Startup was probably the best book in determining just what you have to do to find a way of increasing your chances of having a startup that scales up slowly and has measurable success along the way.  However, I'm now reading The Toyota Way.  It is in the latter book that I read about being immersed in it.  The claim is that many American companies are trying "Lean" but failing, because they are not applying all of the precepts of the TPS in an integrated way.

It was for this reason that I thought I should learn a little about Japan or Japanese, at least.  I hopped over to and am now learning how to write Japanese in the Hiragana style.  I can actually recognize about 15 of their characters, which really are syllables.  For example, I can read the Japanese at the end of this article. 

So why am I doing this?  Part of it is insanity, lol, but part of it is a challenge.  I've sworn this year that I was going to learn two new programming languages, Scala, and JavaScript.  Well, if a little is good, a lot must be better.  So I generalized it to, hey, why can't I learn a language, and while I'm at it, why not take the one that's one of the hardest to read!!!

So Japanese it is.  If my sister managed to learn both Japanese and Swedish in her adult life, surely I can at least learn how to read one of them. 

Yes I can actually read those!:

   is 'a'  is 'i'      
   is 'ka'  is 'ki'