Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman explains how he taught himself Japanese


Not just him; Paul Gilbert pulled a similar trick (although he doesn’t seem as fluent). Paul of course was initially famous in Japan, and is married to a Japanese lady.

There’s lots of Rock Fujiyama videos of them together on Youtube.

Man those guys can play. IMO, really two of the top rock guitarists of all time.

When I visited Japan the first time, it was after a few years of weekly Japanese evening classes. I was never very good, but I tried, and I think it was worth it in that once I’d broken the ice and asked for directions or whatever in my badly-accented and stumbling Nihongo Japanese folk weren’t embarrassed to talk back to me in their high school English (usually much better than my Japanese).

Mind you, not all Japanese were shy; sometimes I merely had to stand and look puzzledly at a station display or my guidebook for a moment for a random Japanese person to come to my aid, practicing their English.

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This should not be that surprising, Japanese fluency like mastering guitar is down to dedicated practice (even when the practice is a bit of a grind). There are plenty of rock musicians who excel in other surprising areas, like Queen’s Brian May having a PhD in astrophysics or Alice Cooper playing golf at almost pro level.

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