Yeah, it’s a really cool feeling for things you see every day to suddenly have a meaning!
It’s not too interesting of a story, but to summarize it,
I decided to learn Japanese and move to Japan when I was six. Some exchange students showed me stuff from Japan that I thought was cool, and they also informed me that Sailor Moon was Japanese. Blew my mind. I taught myself hiragana and katakana, got tapes to learn Japanese, and was N5 level by the time I finished elementary school. Also decided at that time to become a linguist.
There was no Japanese class in school, so in high school I studied French and German. I became fluent in German after three years and a short study trip in Germany, so I decided to go to Uni in Germany and become a translator. Doing so required two years of study in America though, but my university studies there were so easy they were boring, and I realized I didn’t want to become a linguist. I had wanted to be an astronaut since I was a kid, and I decided that was never going to go away, so I might as well do that.
In order to consolidate the two interests, space and languages, I decided to just study aerospace engineering in a foreign country, in a foreign language. My best friend had moved to Japan a year prior at that point, so I just followed her. I signed up for a two year Japanese language school in Japan, worked my brains out to save up the money, and moved out of my parent’s house for the first time. To the other side of the world. I spoke like, N5 level when I got there. Really couldn’t read any kanji. I learned really quickly out of necessity though so a month later when I entered my school I was about N4 level (minus kanji.)
The point of this school was to learn Japanese so I could apply to Japanese universities. Aerospace engineering is not a widely offered course in Japan, and it’s pretty much just the top universities that offer it. My teachers told me to just pick something else like business or hospitality or something, which like. Uh, hell no.
Because I had such lofty goals, I was placed in an N2 level class to start. It was hell at first because I was waaayyyyy behind that, but actually in a year and a half of insane study and being immersed in Japan, the N1 class I was in at the end was too easy.
A year after getting to Japan I also quit my job at a ramen shop and opened an English school for kids. I ran that full time while attending school.
I have to score insanely high on the EJU, a test for foreigners who want to study at Japanese universities. I’ve taken it and not gotten the score I need three times, but this summer I’m confident I will. I need Japanese (Like N1 level), math, physics and chemistry, all in Japanese. And because those subjects are just done differently in Japan, I’ve had to learn all of them from elementary school level up. I’m currently back in America chilling and studying.
So to put it simply, in the span of three years I’ll have gone from barely understanding Japanese to entering a top university. It’s been three years of internal screaming and literally no rest.
Sorry that’s long, but it was a long road and it’s not even over!
I’m gonna go back to my internal screaming now. And to think this all happened because I was bored and thought, “Meh, might as well.”