I Can Remember When It Started

It was the 90's, Japanese animation was booming in France but I wasn't truly aware of that until I borrowed a fan magazine from a friend and dove into that graphic universe blessed with mind-blowing storylines, edgy esthetics and fast-paced action. Later I discovered that almost any aspect of life, society and culture was represented in manga and anime so it was easy to transition to more substantial subjects even with the language barrier.

Learning Japanese was never a goal for me but since I picked up my first language book it became gradually natural for me to understand it. Nowadays I am far from fluent but I have enough skill to express myself, to read and to write without having taken a single course but compared to my German, my Vietnamese or my native French, I did pretty good for not having any formal learning in Japanese. I think newscasters are waaaay too fast for me to understand but I do well on movies and TV dramas. Still, even after making many Japanese friends online, some of them inviting me to stay over, I still wasn't interested in matching my theorical knowledge of Japan with an empirical one and of course I regret not taking the plunge back then.

Fast-forward to the last 10 years. I get married to someone who shares my passion for languages, I introduce her to Japanese anime then to dramas. Nowadays she has a pretty good understanding of and an interest for Japanese culture and we both make plans to visit there within 5 years.

My main obsession is to be as confident and independent as possible during the stay, to be accepted, not just as a guest but as someone who truly respect Japanese culture as I think it will open many more doors that it would if I were a casual tourist. My main concern is of course the cost but there are many ways to live on the cheap (binbou living) on the island nation. Also, my wife would rather spend time in the countryside with its relatively traditional lifestyle than in the big cities. Any which way, it will be an adventure and I will have the opportunity to be my usual shutterbug!

How about you, what is it that you expect the most out of your future Japanese experience, or what experience touched you the most?

KnottyG KnottyG
41-45, M
Feb 20, 2010