I've just started out myself after many years of not really giving it any thought, but currently I've found plenty of motivation in watching/listening to a lot of Japanese users and videos on youtube, and since I misunderstood the payment method for premium membership, I defiantly have plenty to help push me forward. Not that I'm angry about it or anything, but hey, I might as well make use of it now that I have it, right?
Anyway, I'm not sure how many people here play video games, but this is where a lot of my appreciation and curiosities about Japan stem from, as I follow a lot of gaming icons from Japan, such as Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima, Shinji Mikami, and so many more. Not to mention I had been following Samurai stories, legends, and folklore but it's defiantly gaming where it all started for me. I only bring that up because this is where my story begins....
It was funny, but what got me to take up learning Japanese was Resident Evil Revelations on my 3DS. I noticed that it was one of the few games I had where I was able to choose another language, and luckily the option was for Japanese. At first it started out as a mere curiosity, and I had fun listening to something so alien, even having heard it before, but here I was forcing myself to actually listen and read the Japanese as opposed to relying on dubs or subtitles. All of a sudden these familiar characters became strangers to me, as I no longer felt part of the story...but I knew there was actual conversation going on there, and so I then imagined myself speaking another language in order to place myself back into the story.
Then that's when it hit me, why not try learning something new in my life that could change me in ways nothing else in my life wouldn't be able to?
Why not waste my free time on something more productive. So, only a few weeks in, and I already know a lot more about the language than I would have ever thought possible. It's small bits of knowledge, yeah, but it's knowledge I've never had before, and it's helping me see things differently. Things I never thought that existed or even knew was possible in a language. It's not just trivial information, but full on practical knowledge that I hope helps me learn even more about not just languages, but life itself.
Why just last night, I was watching a Japanese video where friends were playing Resident Evil, and one of the zombie scenes (where he gets up out a bathtub when water is drained), all of a sudden I heard one of the friends say in an amusing way "Ohayo gozaimasu!" Not only did I understand the joke, but I felt so rewarded and confident after that. Now I'm starting to pick up on all the words that I've learned so far left and right when watching something in Japanese, and now I believe I can actually do this. I can defiantly learn a new language!
Anyway, yeah, I typed up so much more than I had planned, but this is my motivation and I just wanted to express that here. This is one of my first two posts on this forum, but I hope to learn so much more, and someday even possibly master the Japanese language.