I love Japanese, and I want to know why you all love it too

I taught myself hiragana/katakana in October/November 2014 and had hoped to continue learning before my planned trip in March 2015. Didn’t really get beyond your super-basic これはペンです stuff before I went, and then kind of put things on hold for a year and a half during residency because it was (quite frankly) kicking my butt and I barely had the will power to do anything besides go to work, sleep, and rewatch The Office 50 times in a row. In January 2017, I felt like I had more time and energy, so I picked up WaniKani and haven’t stopped since.

I’ve always thought it would be cool to know another language, and I’ve always kind of liked Japanese stuff (I did karate and origami when I was a kid, and I loved Pokemon), but I’d never considered learning Japanese until my best friend in pharmacy school started giving me anime recommendations and talking about wanting to go there. This probably sounds weird, but something just kind of clicked then, and I decided I wanted to learn Japanese so I could go there and see stuff. Even though I didn’t get much Japanese study in before my first trip, I had an awesome time there. I wanted to learn more Japanese so I could go back and do things outside of the big cities where getting by without Japanese would be much more difficult. Since then, my reasons have shifted a little more toward wanting to be able to read (because let’s be real, I don’t have the money or the time to go to Japan all that often, and I’m awkward so speaking to other people is kind of…hard and not the greatest of motivators for me). I love the idea of someday being able to pick up a book in Japanese and read through it like it’s no big deal (because in my fantasy, people will be super impressed).

It gives me something to do on my commute. xD Just kidding. Sort of.
Certain words and kanji are just so pleasantly logical. A tree is 木. What are two trees (林)? A forest. What are three trees (森)? More forest. A super simple example, but sometimes, kanji just make such perfect sense. I love it. I love those words that make you go “oh, well of course that’s what it means!”

Can I say the aesthetic? xD I feel like there is a lot of appreciation for and attention paid to the details. Traditional Japanese architecture, landscapes, and calligraphy are just :star_struck: to me. I find temples and shrines to be so peaceful and nice, and I love the contrast between these peaceful little places and the busy cities that are often sitting just outside their gates. It’s like two completely different worlds, existing side by side. It feels magical.

Oh! Also this: the last time I was in Japan, I went to Yamadera, which has a literal thousand steps to climb to get to the top. The people coming back down the steps would greet the people going up with a こんにちは or a がんばってください! Complete strangers were encouraging me to make it up to the top. I just thought that was so neat. I’m sure it was pure politeness, but it really made my experience that much more pleasant, and that, in a nutshell, is something I appreciate about Japanese culture. I love that sense of “we’re all in this together, so everyone, do your best.” There’s something so encouraging about a がんばって.

I enjoy trying to decipher sentences (which, with my level of grammar, is the more accurate way to say “I like to read.”) xD But it’s always rewarding when I can actually understand something.


I started learning Japanese in 2010, got discouraged and immediately gave up. Then went to college and truly started learning Japanese in 2013.

Originally bc of animu, but when I started learning Japanese in college it was bc somebody I knew said that there could be a job for me if I learned it. So I started taking classes, and I fell in love with learning the language.

I love the fact that I can communicate with people in a language other than my native one. It just feels great to share moments with people who I might not have been able to if I hadnt studied Japanese.

Im honestly not sure, but I do love Kyoto and all the beauty and history that is around every corner.

I honestly love seeing new words in kanji out in the wild and deciphering what the word means based on the kanji. Its always satisfying when I check the correct meaning and Im on the right track!


This! Love it.


From my point of view (as a noob), it’s as alien as it is demanding which has its attraction.


I began studying Japanese seriously about a year ago and honestly my main motivation was to read a visual novel called White Album 2.

I mean, I still wanna read it real bad, but now I’m way more motivated just from the sheer achievement of being able understand another language. I want to know more things about the culture, their literature, etc.

Plus being a trilinugal sounds like a nice icebreaker.


June of 2017.

2017 was the year I started to watch anime. After a few months (specifically after watching Steins;Gate) I somehow decided to learn hiragana and katakana just for the heck of it. I didn’t mean to actually learn Japanese at the time, but somehow that changed pretty early.

People usually complain about the writing system, but that’s actually what I find the most attractive. Learning to read Japanese is nothing like anything I’ve ever tried before, since you have to actually learn it from the most basic stuff. With English and a bunch of other languages I have the advantage of not having to learn a different alphabet, which is a huge head start that is usually taken for granted. Japanese teaches us to value that.

I don’t know all that much, since I’m still fairly new in this regard. I enjoy anime as much as the next guy, I guess.

At the moment, reading visual novels and light novels. Though I’m still reading my first LN (konosuba). Maybe planning to read others afterward.


I started learning in the beginning of 2016. My favorite things about the langue are the kanji and it’s grammar. When I was little I always thought it would be cool to have a pictorial representation of words for our writing system, not really knowing about Chinese and Japanese. And kanji is just so helpful for reading and learning words as they give a visual representation. I have no idea how I’d internalize all these words if we only had kana. Lastly kanji just looks very aesthetically pleasing, some are cool, some are cute, it’s a work of art really, love them.

Of grammar, I absolutely adore how flexible the grammatical structure is. I find it nice when you put your thoughts together you’re free to say what comes to mind and piece the sentence together and it will most of the time be an acceptable order as long as the main verb is at the end. That way you don’t have to plan out your sentence before you say it as much, is much easier to recover in the middle of speaking/writing. It kind of feels like piecing together a puzzle. I also love that the sounds in Japanese are so limited. It makes the langue feel more rhythmic . And then I also have this fascination for verb conjugations and I don’t know why.

My favorite part of the culture is, by a long shot, the food of course.


Oooh I love this sort of thing!

When you started learning Japanese?: I finally had the opportunity to start seriously studying September 2009, when I transferred to my Alma Mater.

Why you wanted to study Japanese?: I’d been really interested in Japanese culture based on glimpses I saw watching anime (like I think most non-Japanese learners would say) most of my life. I fell in love with the language as a teenager, and my combined love for the culture and language has pushed me on through present day.

What is your favorite thing about studying Japanese?: The personal satisfaction I get from realizing one of my life goals. A close second is how amazed people are when they find out you’re learning it lol.

What’s your favorite part about Japanese Culture?: I absolutely adore Heian culture, and learning things related to that make me super happy. If I have to pick something more modern, I think it’s the way Japanese culture has supernatural/religious elements built into secular traditions and everyday life so easily alongside the mundane, while also not being dogmatic or even necessarily religious anymore! Its super fascinating to me.

What do you have the most fun doing in Japanese?: Reading things that otherwise wouldn’t be available to me in the west, or just simply reading in the original language to get more nuance than a translation (or a dub in the case of an anime or movie) would otherwise give me.


I started taking Japanese classes when I was in seventh grade. My middle school was able to send a small amount of kids via bus to the highschool to take classes, we also had this for advanced math classes.

I always wanted to learn other languages. When I was in 6th grade for the first time I had the option to study French or Spanish as an extra curricular class. I choose French. I didn’t do well in the class and I was only interested in it because it was a foreign language and for me it was just barely more interesting than learning Spanish.

In 7th grade I had the opportunity to get into Japanese classes at one of the local high schools. I didn’t think I’d get in because I struggled a lot in 6th grade, but by default (not enough interest) I got in. I’d always been interested in Japan, along with China, Korea, India, Ireland, and Scotland since I can remember. I don’t really know why and neither does my family. The event called the “Asian Celebration” in my hometown probably helped though.

When something just clicks that didn’t click before. I also enjoy writing.

I don’t know if I have anything specific about culture. But when I was in university my favorite classes were either focused on Japanese film, youth studies, and reading works like the Tales of the Heike. My Japanese youth studies class was right after the earth quake and tsunami in 2011 so it had a focus on how disaster/difficulty is presented to kids and how they deal with it.

Playing games in Japanese is probably the most fun. But anything that has to do with film, literature, or art is enjoyable.


That’s one of the main things that I think made me excel in my Japanese classes over how poorly I did in French the year before. Learning different Japanese alphabets was similar to drawing for me and I always enjoyed art. The fact that it’s so different than English is one of it’s most attractive aspects.


October 2015

I wanted a challenge and it was considered a difficult language, I was already exposed to it through anime, and I thought Japan was really cool anyway.

I don’t know if this really counts, but the feeling I get when I realize I can understand something I didn’t think I would be able to understand.

This is really tough, but probably the way tradition is mixed with everyday life. I really feel like tradition is upheld in Japan like no other country.

Probably either reading, writing, or learning kanji.


Incidentally, I take French classes, and my progress in Japanese is way faster too. I guess French is too similar to Portuguese for me to be very interested in it.

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Casually in September 2015, a lot more seriously in Feb 2017

My interest built over time. I always had an interest in Japanese history, then I gradually started getting into Japanese “pop” culture like anime, manga and visual novels more recently. Since I was free to take whatever language class I wanted in university, I just decided to pick Japanese. On top of which, I specialize in my field in East-Asian (mainly China-Japan) relations and I love languages anyway, so that helped lol

Nowadays, I’m studying it to become fluent (at least in comprehension) and do translation projects.

Getting closer and closer to my initial goal, which is fluency. It’s kinda like the thrill you get when solving a math problem or understanding a complex theory and all the pieces just start clicking in your head.

Cultural heritage, history, the food and how different Japanese society is from mine. I guess I’m fascinated by the exotic, which is probably why I love studying Japan in general.

Applying what I learn in my day-to-day life activities, or at least trying to.


Around fall of 2010. I had discovered around that time the existence of Light Novels (with my thoughts prior being that all anime was all from manga or games if not original), and online translations were either too poor in quality for my tolerance or non-existent. In particular, at the time, I wanted desperately to continue Shakugan no Shana from the cliffhanger ending of the second season.

Armed with Rikai-chan and a blank excel document, I brute-force translated the novels. I didn’t manage to finish them by the time the third season had ended due to the close release date of the final novel to the end of the anime, but it was thrilling being able to verify my translations in near-real time.

In translating, however, I did not actually teach myself any of the aural aspects of Japanese, only learning the grammar and which kanji combination meant what. I learned vocabulary through listening to dialogue of anime and analyzing lyrics of songs. By 2016, I was watching most anime (exceptions being heavy or specialized dialogue) without subtitles. It was then that I started studying the radicals and beginning kanji. I considered WK for a while before I actually joined, questioning if it was worthwhile since my 訓読み knowledge is pretty good, but ultimately I lacked the personal motivation to study 音読み specifically, so I gave WK a shot since the SRS system had enough of a game-like mechanic to keep me going.

Grammar & Meaning: 2010
Vocabulary: 2010-2016 Casually, 2016-onward hardcore
Kanji & Readings: 2017.

Many reasons, actually. As mentioned above, the most urgent reason that made me truly start putting in effort was translating light novels. I love reading, and I’ve always felt that books generally beat out other media in storytelling (at the sacrifice of visual and aural elements, of course). Being able to read some of my favorite anime series (most of which came from novels, at the time) was a strong desire.

My “childhood dream” was actually to be a translator. I wanted to learn as many languages as I could and use them in my future. Unfortunately, my school system was very unhelpful in this regard, so, but the end of my schooling, I had only deep Latin knowledge, with some weak Spanish, French, and ASL skills.

Finally, I love the language aesthetically. I think that Japanese is a beautiful sounding language. My first real exposure to the language was the first opening to Naruto by FLOW. I can remember to this day how I and my friends were obsessed over it, memorizing the whole lyrics within the course of the first few episodes’ airing in the US. I greatly enjoy Japanese poetry as well.

I have a two between two things. First, communicating with natives. I found numerous Japanese friends online from gaming who could speak usable levels of English years ago, and being unable to comfortably communicate by voice (as their written English skills were highly superior) was always a downer. I am very happy that I can now communicate with them in Japanese to pay them back for the years they struggled with English for me! In addition, being able to meet new people(since I live in Japan) and converse with them fluidly is very rewarding.

Secondly, I love how Japanese works structurally. Both the grammar and the image-based design of kanji have me constantly thinking, “Why don’t we do this in English too?” It’s so fun to look at a new word, recognize all of the kanji in it, and determine the meaning on your own. It’s also fun in cases of “synonyms” in English, such as 限度, 限定, and 限界 which all mean “limit” but the difference in the circumstances in which they can be used is illustrated by the difference in kanji.

Easily how well the Japanese manage to absorb and mix elements of so many cultures yet still have such a well-defined cultural identity themselves. Japanese funerals show how Shintoism and Buddhism have intertwined over the centuries, and Japanese weddings show an interest in Western culture. While organ-playing is dying out in the United States, the building of organs is quite common in Japan for wedding chapels that offer alternatives to the traditional Japanese wedding. It’s more difficult to avoid Disney in Japan than it is in America. And yet, the Japanese still maintain a distinct identity despite how much they embrace the customs, aspects, and items of other cultures.

It always been, and will always be, without a doubt, translating light novels. The act itself always comes with the reward of being able to read a story in which I’m interested, but I’ve always been rewarded in other ways no matter how difficult or easy it was. When I first started, just completing a paragraph was a moment of celebration. Then it become pages, then chapters, then entire books. Now, when I’m comfortable with the act, I can enjoy sharing my translations with my friends and discussing how I came to some translation points.

The key element of translating light novels (as opposed to any other text-based Japanese) is the nonsensical linguistic tendencies of them. As silly as many characters’ speech patterns are, it’s super fun to interpret them and think about how to keep those characteristics even in an English interpretation. I always think back to specific characters such as Marisa from Touhou, Wilhelmina from Shakugan no Shana, or Yuuki from Saki with their “special” endings that remain even when translated. When I myself am translating and manage to capture that spirit, it makes me feel like I really understand the character and how the author wanted to portray them, which in turn makes me feel like I’m really starting to understand the language.

Edit: While not technically “in Japanese,” another masochistic hobby I enjoy is watching anime or playing games with English subtitles and picking apart the translations. :upside_down_face:


oh, wow. let me think. I started learning Japanese spring of 2014. I grew up a gamer (still am), and the best games were always Japanese (still are :stuck_out_tongue:), so i always wanted to learn the language, and i told myself that one way, i would do it.

then in the spring of 2014, i just figured there was no real reason for me not to start learning the language. So I did.

my favorite part of learning the language is being able to understand what they really mean to say in tv shows and games, and to understand some of the intricacies that we miss in subtitles.

I love pretty much everything about the culture. and the love watching Jdramas and once i get good enough, i’m sure i’ll like reading books as well.


:eyes: You’ve read it too? It’s been a while for me but I loooove Tale of the Heike and everything spawned from it, especially what’s essentially a bunch of kabuki theater fanfiction of it like Yoshitsune Senbonzakura :rofl:


That’s very heart touching!

What’s your second language that you speak?

I started studying about half a year ago. I was actually supposed to be learning German for talking to my wife’s family. But I’ve always hated learning languages. I always saw it as a habit you need to form. But looking at it like that made me not want to do it. Then I realized it’s not a habit, it’s a project. That was a huge motivation for me! I even picked up Japanese at the same time! That turned out to be too much though, so naturally I quit German to focus on Japanese.

But you see there’s a good reason for that…

Whenever someone asks me why I’m learning Japanese, I make up some socially acceptable reason real quick. But the truth is, I just wanna read them VN’s, man… Why is there no English version for Robotics;Note?


hallelujah to that brotha