Japanese more difficult than Chinese?
The author of the article studied both Chinese and Japanese at the Defense Language Institute (DLI), and lived in Japan for over seven years. He feels confident about communicating in Chinese (Mandarin) and found it much easier than Japanese, or Spanish and German, which he studied in high school. He didn’t find learning Japanese at the DLI too hard, but had difficulty communicating with Japanese people in Japan. He believes the main difficulties are the sheer amount of Japanese syntax, only a small proportion of which is covered in most Japanese courses, and Japanese culture, in which people tend to avoid saying things in a straightforward way.
My own experiences are somewhat similar – I found Chinese easier to learn than Japanese, though I’ve only been to Japan once and was there for four months, whereas I spent over five years in Taiwan, plus a couple of months in China. Had I spent longer in Japan, I’m sure my Japanese would be a lot better now. Would it be as good as my Chinese? I don’t know.