When I was in highschool I watched a lot of anime with a few friends. While this definitely sparked my interest in Japan it wasn’t until later that I fell in love with their architecture and culture. A little over a year ago I finally got to visit Japan and it was great, but I wish I was able to communicate more. I ran in to quite a few people that wanted to talk. One man who ran a tiny restaurant and another man who was on his commute from work. He told me about how he rode the train 3 hours 6 days a week to go to work in Tokyo. It was a real struggle communicating and I was so grateful he took the time to try and understand and talk to me. Now I want to go back and be able to attempt a conversation back in Japanese. My sister is applying for the Jet program and if she gets in I will have another reason to visit more often.
TBH, I’ve always wanted to learn japanese, but I just started seriously studying becuase my boyfriend finally sat down to learn and I refuse to lose to him!!
I first became interested in Japanese culture in middle school through, what else, anime and manga. I remember starting to go to anime conventions with my cousins when I was in high school and I tried to self-study Japanese when I was about 15. I remember using up a whole notebook pages writing out hiragana, until one day I was working on it in class and this guy (who I assume was also studying japanese) told me my hiragana looked awful. That totally deflated me and so I stopped. Looking back now Id like to give a nice middle finger to that dude and tell myself to not give up.
Fast forward to the beginning of college. I need to take a language, so with encouragement from my cousin, I decided to take Japanese. I fell in love. I loved learning the language. I decided that it was going to be my major and that I wanted to study abroad. I studied in Kyoto for about a year my third year of college. I also told myself from my first year of college that I wanted to do the JET program. And here I am! Currently working in Tokyo!
All in all, my current goals are to pass the N3. Ive been studying for about 4 years now and Ive taken (and failed) the N2 twice, so Im going to go for the N3 to see if I can pass it. Another goal is I want to rekindle the spark of studying. The joy that I felt when I first started learning Japanese.
As for my why, my current why is because I am living in Japan currently. Im not currently sure how long I will be here, but for the time being, I want to be able to communicate with the people around me.
(sorry for the long mind dump haha)
I just started watching this anime the other day and I love it so far
This is so inspiring!! Way to follow your dreams! I hope you get to stay for many years to come.
I think that Natsume Yuujinchou is the first anime that I really, really got into. Have you seen the short film, Hotaru no Mori e?
And wow, how lucky are you to be in Tokyo with JET? Good luck with your N3 studies! I hope I can take a JLPT exam this year, too!
about 8 years ago, I was fresh out of High school and working at my first real job. My boss had been in Kendo years ago and introduced me to it. I joined a local Kendo club and loved it! This sparked my interest in learning the Japanese language. Then 6 years later I had fallen out of practice, lost motivation, etc. Then I started working as an engineer for a Japanese automotive company. This got me back into studying the language. Then a year ago my boss asked if I’d be willing to train in Japan at the headquarter’s for a year! “Hell Yeah!” So that was a big boost to my motivation. I’ve now been in Japan for about 6 months with my family and we’re still loving it. Having made friends with locals and colleagues, my family and I plan to keep the language as a part of our life as we raise our little ones.
So as a tip for those that have kinda missed the study abroad opportunities from college (like I did), working for a Japanese company within your own country may provide the overseas opportunity you want!
Great story! I missed an opportunity for go during my first 2 years but I’m looking to try to go during my bacclaurate program!
I was one of them obnoxious middle school weeaboos, thinking she was hot stuff just because she knew about all the gateway animus. Eventually I grew out of it, though I can still enjoy a good anime (or a bad one) now and again.
What really happened over time was I lost interest in the animus, but gained an interest in the history and culture of Japan after taking an Asian Art elective in college. Things spiraled out of control and I am now at the point of frequenting Japanese markets to buy a lot of Japanese products (food and skincare lol), but don’t know what the labels say.
I guess you could say I am mainly learning Japanese for utility purposes at this point.
Just wanted to say i really love this, you achieving all your goals. keep going and you’ll pass n3 and n2 no problems
I guess I’m an outlier here in that I very much disliked anime and manga aside from a few here and there, but I did really like the art of it. Additionally, the sound of the Japanese language just isn’t my taste, especially for music vocals. But then I met my SO who is a Japanese native and I never had any ambition to learn his native tongue. Just for fun I decided to look into the language on a more informative basis because it’s just so foreign to me, such as how it developed, why it’s like a spaghetti plate of several different alphabets thrown at a wall and put together again. I quickly learned hiragana for funs and giggles and was surprised it took only a couple hours. After walking through an asian market, I was able to pronounce some of the products on the shelves with amazement. After that I just started easing into it and taking it more seriously with “in the wild” point outs of understanding being my motivator.
You’d think dating a Japanese speaker would help a lot, but everytime I ask a question or get corrected when I say something in Japanese, I end up forgetting it anyway… hahaha. Wanikani has been very helpful for vocab and kanji, and the Mirai Japanese app has been my love for grammar. I stopped using my Genki book after I downloaded Mirai. It’s very repetitious and fully audio with pictures and has helped a lot with my progress. I’m now using “meeting the parents” as a big motivator to focus and progress.
Originally it was a game my brother got from somewhere that was in Japanese and I just wanted to understand it. That was a long time ago and my reason to learn it now is pretty much my めんこい子, who does not speak a single word in any language but Japanese ._.
Long time lurker, first time contributor.
My older step-brother introduced me to Akira and Ninja Scroll when I was about 7 or 8 and immediately developed an obsession with Anime and Manga. In the good old days BBC 2 showed anime on Friday nights (I think) so I taped loads, Devilman, Doomed Megalopolis and so on. I also got into buying Manga brand videos.
I definitely abused my mothers’ ignorance as she wouldn’t let me watch anything that was 15 or 18 rated, however as it was cartoons she didn’t see what the problem could possibly be. I also used to frequently buy Manga Mania magazine, which was in pre-internet times the greatest thing ever.
Now I barely watch anime, have a collection of Japanese language manga I’m slowly ploughing through, and watch some shows and films. I like a lot of Japanese music, spent most of my teens playing JRPGs… fairly standard course.
Right now I’m fascinated with just how diffeent the language is. I love the brevity, I love the reliance on context, I love the ‘stories’ you can extrude from Kanji, I have grown up with Japanese culture and now it’s literature, food and linguistics, leaving my former self behind in a way.
This April though I’m going with friends to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka and will spend hundreds in arcades, bookstores and bars, because, at the end of the day, I love nothing more than just the weird, weird, weird style only found in Japan.
Kanji is tough though.
Tl;dr: made a fool of myself in cosplay; read comments on Twitter afterwards.
Long version, with background:
Some 17 years ago when I and a couple of friends got into anime and manga, we took a basics class that covered the simplest grammar and hiragana&katakana, maybe eight kanji at the end. Over the years, my interest shifted away and got forgotten.
A few years ago I got back into some Japanese-originated fandoms (first Saint Seiya, then FF14) and started picking up the basics again when looking for fanart on pixiv. Picked up a few words here and there, but eh, nothing major, no real effort put into learning.
So then about a year ago I went on Twitter. The first event I recorded on my account was FFXIV Fanfest in Europe, including my cosplay. My first cosplay, coloring pretty far off the source, complete with a shabby and falling-apart prop made of masking tape two days prior.
Which I also showed in the costume competition.
Which I conveniently forgot was streamed live to all regions, and particularly the Japanese could be watching it with interest.
I got off the plane home, turned my phone on, and suddenly my Twitter notifications feed was full of Japanese usernames. Once the shock passed, I took a curious peek at the profiles newly following me; the first one of them had cosplayed the same character at the same event when held in Tokyo. Many comments had been written live during the cosplay stream, and one in particular caught my attention.
I didn’t think my interest in learning Japanese could be re-ignited so fast.
No, I can’t speak enough to really say we’d become friends; mutual followers with similar interests that sometimes, awkwardly, try to interact over the language barrier.
But it was a reason and I think it still is a good reason.
I should print the tweet out and frame it.
29 years ago, I went to Mexico from Canada to study Spanish. That’s where I met a Japanese woman who knocked my socks off. Now in 2018 we’re still together and have a 25 year old son (whose Japanese is way better than mine). I learned basic Japanese from her when we were first together, but I never took learning the language terribly seriously, so I stalled at a basic level.
A year ago in September, I started taking classes again for real this time and have started making real progress. Learning kanji (and I guess new vocabulary in general) has always been hard for me, but around New Years I discovered Wanikani, and after two levels, I like it so far and think I’ll stick with it. Mind you, most of the kanji is a review so far, but I’m optimistic that I’ll learn a lot as the levels get harder.
My goal with Japanese is really to become fluent enough so that I can easily make conversation with my wife to the degree that I don’t miss every other word she says and we don’t end up switching back to English in frustration.
Aw, that’s really sweet.
That’s wonderful!! がんばてね！
I’m going to Japan in a couple years and I want to be able to order food and ask for directions and read menus and signs plus it’s a self-esteem boost to feel like I can comprehend such a challenging language. Also I <3 anime and Japanese music and games and お寿司!
I decided years ago that I’d like to learn another natural language. I already knew a few dozen programming languages, and the things they teach you about each other are valuable and interesting, especially wildly different ones. So I intentionally picked a language that had a wildly different alphabet, had no practical use in my life, but seemed to have enough structure and consistency that it wouldn’t be unbelievably frustrating.
Hobbies that have no direct application to my everyday life are the most fulfilling.
Too long and painful to explain… Really