I thought it might be a good idea to explain to you in a bit more detail why I fell in love with the Japanese language and take such a great interest in it.
First of all, I came into contact with Japanese at a young age. I must have been around 8 or 9 when I stumbled unto Animes (thankfully just subbed) and was immediately hooked. It was around the time when I began reading books about Buddhism and especially Zen practices. Now, given my young age, I obviously did not understand most of it, and was soon drawn to the martial arts side of Shaolin monks, samurais and especially ninjas (to a young boy, all these looked like super heroes anyways). And so, over the years, the Japanese culture (and the Shaolin) had me. It was always an up and down, at times I had lesser interest and other times it was all I read about.
Fast forward a couple of years, I started watching movies and documentaries about Japan. Whether it was about the Yakuza, Japanese Tattoo artists, Shintō, the Rockabilly Subculture in Tokyo or just about the History of Japan in general, I watched it all with great delight and interests. If you asked me back then why exactly I was so interested in this country, I would not have been able to tell you. It just spoke to me for some reason.
Furthermore, some of the philosophy really spoke to me. For example, I have read Miyamoto Musashi’s Go Rin No Sho many times already and love its content. Also, I got into books about Shintō and found that this too, spoke to me. The History of the shinobi, samurai, ronin and feudal Japan in general, has led me to buy or borrow many books about the matter. It wasn’t just a youngs boys interest in superpowers anymore, but rather the philosophical and often mystical side of it, that I wanted to explore.
Music too became a point of interest for me. While I am mostly in rock and metal (and soundtracks) I found to my great delight that Japan had enough to satisfy me. I mentioned in previous post already, that one of my goals is to actually understand the lyrics of my favorite bands, and not just looking for translations.
The essential point, however, was and still is, that the language somehow speaks to me on a deeper level. I know this sound all esoteric, but somehow Japanese manages to “touch” me at a level that, even though I understand barely anything as of now, has often left my stunned. This is all the more reason for me to make the effort of learning Japanese. I know that there are many reasons to learn all language – career, chic factor, family and friends, travel, work, study and research – the list goes on and on. For me however, the main reasons is that Japanese speaks to a part of me. It is as if one part of my whole “makeup” can only be expressed by Japanese. The more I learn the language, and the more this in turn helps me connect to the culture, the clearer this becomes.
Feel free to tell me your own reasons for learning Japanese, as I am eager to hear them :)