I study Nihongo because...

I was looking over the members section of the site, and I was kind of shocked at how many people there are using this site to study Kanji. That makes me wonder. Especially since there are so many people here from so many different places, I was just wondering about the different reasons that people here have for studying Japan. Are you one of those awesome polyglots? Are you doing it for business? Do you just like the beauty of the Kanji? Are you addicted to memorizing random things? Are you an otaku? Are you addicted to dramas? A----
Okay, I could go on forever. But you get the idea. I hope there isn't another thread like this already, lol. It's time for a new one anyways for all the new members.
Hmm, I guess I'll go first. I don't want anybody to get offended by this (because I know all of you have all kinds of different beliefs), but I'm hoping to someday teach English and do missionary work in Japan since it's (perhaps the most?) under-evangelized country in the world. Again, I don't wanna start a debate or anything. I'm just throwing that there as my own reason for studying Japanese. I'm sure you all have really interesting stories and reasons yourselves for studying Japanese. Let's hear 'em!
I'm pretty sure there is a topic like this and as expected, most people learned of Japanese from anime and games and took up the hobby of learning it.

I've personally been interested in Japan for as long as I can remember. What kid doesn't like ninjas? When I got older, I got into video games, just like everyone else. I was one of the kids who loved playstation and with it, I learned to love JRPGs and other Japanese games. Eventually I happened to see an anime (Love Hina actually) and liked it a lot, so I became somewhat of an anime fan. Somewhere around that time, I started to think about learning Japanese (i've always liked to study languages). At first I only learned some basic phrases and some kana. In high school, I befriended a guy who also liked some Japanese stuff, mainly samurai movies. We decided to go to Japan and study Japanese together, which we did in 2007. For one year I lived in Tokyo and studied Japanese. During my year in Japan, I lost interest in JRPGs and in most anime as well... instead, I got to know tons of other Japanese things, one could say the year in Japan changed my whole motivation for learning Japanese but it didn't make it weaker at all.

Now, I continue to learn Japanese for various reasons. To be able to talk even better with my girlfriend. For business, I'd love to work in Japan in the future (maybe not live there permanently though). Living in Japan made Japan a part of me, getting even better at Japanese makes it possible for me to keep it that way, preferably with a job in the future which pertains to Japan.
My wife is Japanese, we live in Japan, and I don't want to teach English forever.

I never thought about Japan or Japanese until I met her. But, WOW! This is a great place and being able to function as an adult is even better.
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I took 3 years of undergraduate Japanese as a graduate student (I was doing graduate school in applied mathematics) because I knew I would be far better at it than the undergrads and therefore wouldn't have to study very much to keep up. That worked out fine for the first 2.5 years, but in the last semester pretty much everyone who wasn't seriously committed to learning Japanese had dropped out and it got a lot harder. And I had a life, and then a job, so I kind of let it peter out.

Now I want to learn Chinese for work, but before I do that I figured I might as well do one massive refresher on my Japanese so it doesn't completely get overwritten by Chinese. And step one (which will also help with learning Chinese) is to learn all the Joyo kanji. Probably I'll do RTK3 as well, before moving on to RSH.
I started japanese out of curiosity for languages. At the time I didn't know anything about it. Nothing. I thought from what people told me that it was the hardest language in the world. In my egoism, I though I should do it. Took a course at school and started with average progress at first. I had fun in the class so studied a bit harder and gained some ground. Eventually I was making some, but little, headway and thought to myself that if I stopped I would lose all of it quickly. Unlike other skills language doesn't just stay there kindly waiting for you to use it again.

Basically even up to this point I refuse to stop studying since it would make all the hours I put into it already trash. On that point I will continue until I have fluency that matches my Spanish/English which is native level.

I don't really have any goals or future prospects with the language as in jobs or travel( I want to visit Italy, France, Chile, Argentina before Japan). But I have come to love japanese literature so that is something that could be a life prize with this language.

And I have learned about another culture quite well thanks to the language. Before studying Japanese I didn't know anything about Japan. I thought the "anime" I watched as a kid, mostly in mexico, was MADE in mexico. Saint Seya, Super Campeones, DBZ. I just never thought of Japan. I'm glad I do now since being cultured is important in my eyes. Though to this day many people I know who study Japanese, at lower levels, or don't know any japanese at all still know far more than me about Japan. Places, events, history, fads, music, etc. My interest hasn't really come out yet for Japan, but maybe it will.
I practiced martial arts for most of my life and thus was naturally exposed to various aspects of Asian culture as a result. The history of that region of the world has always been generally pretty interesting for younger kids for pure superficial reasons (who doesn't like Ninja's, samurai, Shaolin monks, etc) but once I started studying the martial arts heavily it became even more interesting and charming.

In addition my grandfather was a World War II Navy vet who fought against Japan. He was part of a fast carrier strike group that bombed Kure, Kobe and Tokyo and industrial sites at Hamamatsu and Kamaishi. He is the greatest man I've ever known and surprisingly even though he helped destroy many parts of Japan he was always extremely respectful of the Japanese. I had him tell me stories of Japan all the time and not once did he ever bad mouth them and he even went as far to state that he liked the Japanese BETTER than some of our own allies lol. He viewed war as simply doing a job that had to done, nothing personnel against the Japanese. Of course the biggest proof of all was the fact that after the war he bought Japanese tractors to use on his small farm. Quite a statement for a WWII Navy Vet from southern Alabama to say the least lol.

Add in my love for modern technology and classic video games and all it took was one trip to Japan to seal the deal. I took that trip earlier this year, fell in love with Tokyo and Japan in general and the rest, as they say, is history. Currently learning the language so I can move there at the end of this upcoming year.
I got into Japanese from Aikido. I practiced it in the 90s for a few years off and on (fun shoulder and knee injuries), hung out with a lot of really neat Japanese people who would come to visit and fling us around the room and then go drinking with us, and I wanted to learn more about them and their culture.

(Before Japanese, I had spent 6 years in grades 4-10 learning French, and 4 semesters in undergrad learning German. Someday I need to polish up my German.)

I tried a few times to learn Japanese on my own and failed, because I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing. I went back to school to go to grad school in journalism, and started taking Japanese on the side because I could. I did two semesters over the summer. Fun stuff. (Yay for extra grant money.) Then I took a few more classes, for 6 semesters total. Then I graduated, and RL got in the way, and I stopped for a couple of years. I started up again last summer and got serious again when I found RTK.

I really got into it when I spent five weeks in Japan last fall. I spent two weeks at Yamasa, brushing up before I spent the next 3 weeks hitting 9 more cities in Japan. It was a blast. My favorite memories were talking to my cabdriver in Kyoto in Japanese, and then listening to him totally open up because of it. Same for an older couple in Hiroshima, who ran a laundromat I was visiting late at night. Really nice folks. Even speaking bad Japanese made a huge difference. I just imagine the difference it would have made if I had kept studying.

I really want to go back, maybe work over there for a while. I had a lot of fun, and there are a ton of story ideas I'd like to pursue if I get a chance to work over there someday. (As a journalist-- no way would you catch me teaching English.)

But before that, my Japanese has to not suck.

So I'll keep studying the language, because quitting means admitting defeat. And it also means I won't get to go back and meet more interesting people on the terms I want to unless I stop writing and go back to studying right now. Tongue

I study Japanese so I can keep the Tibetan language alive. Make sense? Rolleyes

I live in Hawaii where Japanese is a big plus in finding and keeping good employment. The job I have now I got because I am a little conversational in Japanese. When my Japanese becomes closer to being fluent, there are lots of jobs out there that pay twice what I am making now.

My heart's true wish is to move to India (Sikkhim) along the Himalayan border and study full time at the monastary of my teacher. I would die a very happy man if I could do that. But it would be a very selfish life. Here in America I can earn enough money to support 100+ refugees/year who cross the the Himalayan mountains out of China to be a part of the Tibetan culture the Chinese are slowly destroying back home. Real Tibet is now in India. The Tibet you see if you visit Llasa is geared toward tourists.

So I study Japanese to gain an increased income in order to sponsor Tibetan refugees in their wish to keep alive the Tibetan language and traditions. They live extremely simple existences racking up an average of $20/month in living expenses so it is easy to see results.
I study Japanese because... well, hell... I've come this far, and I ain't turning back now! Big Grin

As to why I started, I've no idea. I like languages in general I suppose.
I continue because 1) I live in Japan and need to handle my own business, 2) I have a strong interest in language itself and enjoy the conversations that come from it, and 3) now that I've started, I'm not satisfied until I finish (though recently I'm at a pretty comfortable level).

Didn't really start for any big reason other than a friend and I decided to do it in college. It was fun and eventually led to me coming to Japan.
bodhisamaya Wrote:I study Japanese so I can keep the Tibetan language alive.

So I study Japanese to gain an increased income in order to sponsor Tibetan refugees in their wish to keep alive the Tibetan language and traditions. They live extremely simple existences racking up an average of $20/month in living expenses so it is easy to see results.
Way to go, I might look into supporting that.

I study Japanese because I moved here when my wife got a job here. I'm leaving next week though, it sucks. I love Japanese now.
igo, anime, manga, games, music and dorama are mine japanese interrests
i decided to learn japanese becouse i want to read/watch/play all those in japanese.
even though right now we are in the lucky possition that much get translated, even more doesnt.
I'm another who started off with JRPG's and anime always loved them for as long as I can remember now there is just so much about Japan that i like whether its there culture or the Japanese language itself the list go's on either way its safe to say I don't want to be living in the UK all my life I intend to live and work in Japan before I'm 30 so I'm currently putting in all my effort to be fluent at Japanese.
"you know how people always study french because they think it sounds beautiful? that's why i study japanese"

that's my simple answer. of course i leave out the fact that i probably first heard it on an anime rented at blockbuster when i was in high school. (note: not an anime geek)

i could list a ton of other reasons but that's always been the main one.

one big thing that keeps me going is stubbornness. i'm far enough along now that i know how much i still suck. i wont stop until i'm fluent.
wasurenaide Wrote:"you know how people always study french because they think it sounds beautiful? that's why i study japanese"
That's kinda how I was with Korean. Then I hit a wall.
I don't really know why. The more I learn it, the more beautiful it becomes. Can that be reason enough?
I wanted a challenge. Since I am fluent in Spanish, learning French and Italian was not as difficult as it would have been had I not known Spanish, and English, come to think of it.

Japanese is so different that I can not even fake it. I have no point of referance to draw from. I am truly knowing what it is like to learn a foreign language.

So why not Chinese then? I just thought that I would have many more resources available to learn Japanese than Chinese. Besides, Chinese is either Mandarin or Cantonese, or 100 of the other dialects. If I run into a Chinese person, they may not speak what I have studied. Japanese would be understood by any native Japanese person. Even with the Kansai accent.

Also, the whole Kanji thing is fascinating. Learning Kanji is almost like learning another language.

Maybe someday I will use it all for something practical. For now, its just fun.

It is a charming language and because I want to live in Japan some day I want to gain native like proficency. I'm also very interested in Japanese culture and it would be great to someday even study it in a Japanese university or something.
I also lived in Ootsu for a while in 2007 and it just strenghtened my resolve in this! Tongue

I never was so much into anime or video games or even Jpop although I have tried (and enjoyed) all of those in order to hear and see Japanese.
Because I'm intensely interested in all things typographic, and I think kanji are beautiful and elegant and I've wanted to know how to write them since forever. And I can't see the point of learning the kanji but not knowing what they mean.

(Also, my parents were married in Japan, and as a child I was fascinated by the artifacts they brought back with them. My best friend in elementary school had a Japanese mom, who would sometimes don her kimono and play her samisen for us.)
1.)Grew up with Japanese pop culture as an American kid. Anime, VG, toys, etc..
2.)Visited Japan and fell in LOVE with the culture, and found the language very beautiful.
3.)Found the written language very beautiful.
4.)Already speak Spanish, found my traveler's Japanese sounded very good due to the similar phonemes.
5.)Started learning as a very, very side-hobby back in '01.
6.)Visited Japan again, found I still loved it, could use a little of what I'd learned.
7.)Maintained an almost-afterthought level of learning until about 2 years ago.
8.)Decided that Heisig was doable, discovered this site (after trying Heisig once 3 years ago and giving up) and figured it was time to up my seriousness after years of playing at Japanese study.
Well i started watching Japanese drama and started picking up words and hearing the different words inside all the garble. Through natural exposure i started learning how to say a few things and learnt some basic grammer rules. It's similar to my native Indian language in that sense. Then i figured hey why dont i try learning this? I really enjoy language learning already and after that it sort of took off. The more i learnt the more interesting it has become. I see it as a bit of a puzzle that you never quite solve. It's been about 1.5 years now and i'm going to start studying it as my sec degree major next year =) So i figure a bit of a head start with the kanji would help me in the long run.
Well, the thing that made me click ("That's it, I'm learning Japanese") was Tokimeki Memorial, I always wanted to play a high-school RPG *_*

There are so many reasons though, I guess I just want to live an "alt life account" in Japanese XD
I started because I thought it would be cool to be able to watch anime without subtitles but it developed into a full blown interest in the language and culture. It's more of a hobby now than a subject I study Big Grin