When I was younger, I had a friend who would rent the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series tapes whenever I came to spend the night. I didn't know much about anything Japanese at the time, not even anime or manga like kids do more often now, but I fell in love with the sound of the language. I was still learning Spanish then, and didn't think I'd ever bother with Japanese, but the memories stayed in the recesses of my mind.
Years later, when the Pokemon card and then Yugioh card game crazes came, people came to me to get their Japanese language cards translated. I didn't know any Japanese, but they figured that for some reason, since I could read Spanish, that I could do Japanese too. So out of necessity, I began to learn the alphabets, but just to help them use their cards. I didn't intend to learn it.
That was several years ago and I have since looked at and listened to samples of most of the world's languages. For some reason, Japanese still sounds the most beautiful to me. I don't know why... The writing system is interesting to look at too, though I personally think the flowing scripts like Arabic or Farsi look nicer (though totally unintelligible to my eyes...)
For no actual reason. When I was in high school, I read some (well, all, there were so few) novels by Japanese authors in the library. I read in Spanish, of course. They transported me to Japan and I recall some scenes that filled me with real inner peace, and there and then the seed was planted: I said to myself that sometime in the future I would study the Japanese language.
Then, about ten years later (1987) I was in a bookshop in Madrid browsing the languages department and I do not know why but I went straight to the Japanese stand and bought me, without premeditation, a two-book course for Spanish speaking people - Tanoshii Nihongo.
I began to study the language that very evening (I went to bed with a headache after looking at the kana and trying to identify the most particular - such as "no", "su", etc. - in the text). As I was unemployed then, I spent hours on end (sometimes days on end) with my Japanese book. It was so enjoyable.
The bonanza lasted until I started working again and found myself with less time. But I bought tons of books and material on the subject.
It goes without saying that along with the study of the language, I became interested in everything Japanese - I feel such sympathy for Japan!
Recently I decided to resume its study once and for all and luckily and by mere chance I found Japanesepod101 which is excelent (it has drawn my attention so much that my books are a bit unattended now).
My dream now is to be able to visit the country someday - and better still if I could live there (but I am not as fortunate as a musician of the band Primal Scream who, I heard on the radio, had left the band in order to learn Japanese in Japan - THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO DO - but I need to be a millionaire to do that).
I identify myself with the comments of some other users: for me the best way to learn Japanese (and any other language) has always been to treat it like a hobby.
Also, I find that I'm interested in learning the basics of many languages, mainly if they use an alphabet different to the Latin one, for at least I want to be able to break the barrier of pronunciation of the signs - even though I do not know what it means, but it is satisfying to identify letters, sillables or whatever (for instance, Arabic, Greek, etc.).
When I was four years old, my aunt married a Japanese foreign exchange student she met in college. Uncle Kazuo was fascinating to me. Over the course of my life, I was exposed to Japanese language and culture in tantalizing little tidbits which only piqued my curiosity further.
I started college at the age of 29, attending the local community college. I studied French and American Sign language for a year each and they bored me. But my curiosity for Japanese still lurked in the back of my mind. When I transferred to San Francisco State as a microbiology major, I took Japanese 101 to finally satisfy that curiosity, but it failed. Instead, Japanese became an obsession and I changed my major the following semester. I've now been studying Japanese for three years and this September I'm going to Waseda University in Tokyo for a year's study-abroad. うれしい!!
Just curious..any other half Japanese people on this site? I would expect some people started learning Japanese because of this.. My mother is Japanese and my father is Dutch. They always speak Japanese and I was fluent at it too, until they (and I)decided I did not need it anyomore..at the age of 9!!! Soon I couldn't speak the language anymore, just understood passively, so I decided I needed to study it again.
The study was interesting, but for you people who get married and (will) have children, please raise them bilingual..it's such a shame if you don't!!!!
The main reason I came to learn Japanese was almost no reason at all. I do like learning languages so that's one but then sometimes I just listen to the show because it is entertaining. Nothing else. Sometimes I learn. Sometimes I don't. It is just lots of fun. Especially Peter-san and Take-san. And for the female co-hosts -- Natsuko-san and Chigusa-san. The best combination of hosts is Natsuko-san, Take-san, Yoshi-san and Peter-san.
There are several reasons why I wanted to learn japanese. Aside from being fascinated with the culture, I love the musicality of the language. I really enjoy the sound of Japanese. Another reason is my recent discovery of J-pop and J-rock. There's a whole world of entertainment out there that, until recently, I never knew existed!
Also, I once met a Japanese girl in the middle of an annual Halloween festival we have here in Los Angeles. She was a bunny, I was a stripper (please, don't ask). I wanted to tell her how much I liked her costume but I didn't know how. Sadly, I never saw her again. But I promised myself that I would learn Japanese so that would never happen again!
And I have to say that Jpod 101 has been incredible. I can't praise them enough.
It is so interesting to read everyone's reasons for learning this language.
i definitely think i am a little of everyone (aside from marrying a japanese and actually living in japan).
Been interested in japan for a long time..but, got serious about studying the language after bonding with my japanese intern. She introduced me to her friends. And, now, through hangin out with my j-friends, I want to be a part of the conversation! not to mention ...go to japan! ^___^
I started watching J-doramas to help with my understanding and retention (which is more my strength, than writing, reading or speaking. But, i am working on those weaknesses..thanks to Jpod101! )
i would LOVE to be able to live/work there. .even for a wee while. it'd be soo fun.
I wanted to learn Japanese because I started watching a lot of anime (Naruto, Bleach and Ghost in the Shell for example) and I started to like the language. I actually tried to pick up words... as many as I could... but that wasn't going fast enough, so I decided to look for online lessons.
Then I came across Jpod101 and it was even better than what I expected. I now try to catch up.... I just put the MP3s on my phone and listen to them when I'm in the train or bus (to school/work/parents, well... every chance that I get actually). Most lessons I even heard a few times... just to drill them into my mind. I always smile when ppl start looking funny at me when I'm trying to speak along with the lessons hehe
And now... because of all the extra info that I get from listening to the lessons... I want to visit Japan as fast as I can... but I guess I have to wait till I'm done with school.
I stared studing japanese becaus I already watched anime and lissent japanese radio. I like the langwith. It is more just for fun then for a realy reason like work or some thing els. And it is realy funny to tell me teatcher to say "watashi wa bagga desu" I don't know if i spelled it right. I'm realy new to this langwith. Some people find me crazy that I studdy japanese on my 16th. Yeah I just am!
Three reasons, the first being that I want to be able to read japanese manga and watch japanese animes. The second reason is that I am a software developer and I want to be able to translate my apps to japanese (they usually have just very small amounts of text because I am a Mac software developer and Mac apps usually are quite intuitive, so it shouldn't be that hard). And the third and last reason is that I want to go to japane for a year (we've got a program here in germany to do exactly that because of our german - japanese relationship), they are technologically so advanced that even the U.S. seems to be far behind ^^ All those gadgets and gizmos, that's just the thing for me And yeah, I just like the language, it sounds really nice.
I've been trying to learn japanese for about 2 years now, I tried dozens of things like books, interactive cd-roms and yeah just the usual stuff, but I gave up every time. I hope japanesepod101 will finally be the right thing for me, though I do have my concerns because they center too much on Kanji learning. As a beginner, Hiragana and Katakana is much more important, isn't it? I'll never learn the basic 1900+ Kanjis and really, I don't want to ^^ I didn't even know about Kanji at all before I came to japanesepod101.
But I guess the next question will be why? I've always been fascinated by Japan since I read Shogun 25 years ago. When I went to university I took up Jiu Jitsu and did that for 10 years before my body gave up on me and then 6 years ago I was offered a ex-pat assignment in Tokyo for 2 years. I am still here- but no longer on an ex-pat package
I guess you all think that gives me an advantage - living here and immersion and all that... WRONG You can pretty much get by in Tokyo without Japanese - sad but true! I know someone who has been here for 7 years and only just started learning...
Also as I work for an international company most office communication is in English - but I think they have twigged I understand more than I speak.
And when I go out of Tokyo - well that is why I am still here! I let my Japanese wife take care of the arrangements... Lazy I know...
I cannot remember a time when I wasn't interested in anything Japanese, whether it be the art, the country itself, anime, music, and the language (both written and spoken). I always had a fascination with the culture, but it wasn't until recently that I have really begun to immerse myself in it (well, as much as you can without actually going there).
I remember back in '96 or so, I was in the 7th grade. We had Japanese exchange students come to visit, and I hosted one girl at my house. Her name was Yoshiko. I remember struggling with the language barrier, and having so much difficulty communicating properly (even with all the little survival Japanese books I bought). But it was a neat experience to have a piece of Japan brought to me, and to witness the fascination that they had with our culture. I have since lost her address, but I still have the gifts she left me, and the paper with her name written in kanji on it.
Anyway, a few years ago I decided that this was a language that I really wanted to learn. I love languages in general, though I speak only English fluently. I had many years of Spanish and my family is Greek, but Japanese was the only language that had any real appeal to me. I love how the language sounds to the ear, and I love the writing (as do many people, I'm sure). It is a challenging language, and learning it is something that I can be proud of. I also plan to visit Japan someday (and hopefully many times), and to be able to speak the language would greatly enhance the experience.
I found out recently that my company is just starting communications with investors in Japan. How wonderful would that be if I could offer my language skills to help in communicating? Or better yet, if my knowledge would allow me to go to Japan on business? Though I'm not sure how possible this scenario is, who knows?
In short, learning Japanese for me is more of a personal goal. I'm motivated purely by my great interest in the language and culture, which subsequently has made the learning very enjoyable!