Regarding letter writer Patricia M. Griffin's Mailbag letter, "Adding Chinese makes no sense," July 12: As someone who took an Asian language in high school, I wanted to share my experience.
In the '60s, I took Japanese in my junior and senior years through a program funded by the Ford Foundation. After graduation, I continued studying Japanese at the University of Washington to fulfill my undergraduate language requirement. In my early 20s, I got a job teaching English in Kobe, Japan, which I did for three years.
I can't vouch anyone for anyone else's experience, but I can say, without hesitation, that the program had a lasting impact on my life. Even though I seldom use the scant Japanese that I remember, I deal with language acquisition issues daily as I teach elementary school in Glendale. In hindsight, the long-term benefit of all this has been my immense appreciation for the complexity of learning a language.