Falling In and Out of Love for Japanese Things
If you talked to me 13 years ago I would rave about how unbelievably amazing anime was. If you talked to me 11 years ago, every J-drama in existence knew my face. 7 years ago I read enough manga and novels through Kindle to help boost Amazon’s quarterly profits. 5 years ago, I could tell you about every new local trend or restaurant in Japan from all the Variety Shows that flooded me daily. 2 years ago, my addiction to audio books on Amazon Audible Japan caused them to send me a bunch of free Audible swag as thanks (true story).
What’s up next? Who knows. But falling in and out of love for Japanese things is something to be fully embraced.
When I hear “I want to learn Japanese solely for X!” I smile, because that was me, and I know how quickly that can change (despite thinking it never would). Your Japanese passions, what got you started with Japanese in the first place, will evolve.
There are a few outside factors. Like your current Japanese ability causing you to feel you like or dislike certain genres. Or you just getting older and your current life situation is different. Most of the time the change just happens on its own. In the same year, with no outside influences, I have completely switched gears. None of this is exclusive (it never will be). It’s not like I was watching only J-dramas for years. But maybe during the J-drama reign, it got 75% of my attention, with everything else at 25%.
When a new season of J-dramas was released, I read up on every single summary, and excitedly gave each show a careful 5-10 minutes to see if I liked it. When I was waiting for a new season, I caught up on all the old J-dramas I could. How do you think I came up with my 85 J-dramas of all time guide. These were just the shows I loved, and these reviews all came out of only a few years.
Challenge me to a 2006-2007 J-drama knowledge showdown; I dare you.
These days, maybe I’ll catch one new J-drama a year. And don’t worry, I don’t think something like “there are no good J-dramas anymore! The golden age was in the early 2000s!” This is a bad way to approach anything, and will only cause you to miss out on everything new. I may eventually find myself back to J-dramas again one day.
I can also see myself in an eventual Japanese movie craze (considering I’ve only probably seen around 40 or so in total over the last 13 years). Or maybe a Japanese YouTube obsession is next (since my friends constantly remind me that I should be watching Tokai On Air every single day). But for now, audio books are too perfect a fit for me, and I can’t get enough.
I’ve also found that this allowed my Japanese ability to expand in all directions.
The Japanese in anime, J-drama, novels, variety shows, and YouTube videos differs greatly. Shifts in what became my go-to item has had a dramatic effect on my Japanese over the years (some good, some bad). For example, when you watch nothing but variety shows for long enough, it takes some time to get adjusted to not always having giant Japanese subtitles in your face explaining everything.
What does your “Falling in and Out of Love with Japanese things” Timeline look like?
What were you obsessed with at one point that has faded away? What is currently taking up all your time?
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.
After reading your experience about Japan and Japanese, mine flashed back. 9 years ago, I started learning Japanese solely for understanding anime which subtitles were not easily available those days. Then, I started listening to Japanese music and fell in love with it. I just sang along the songs without even knowing the meaning of the words! A year later, I became interested and obssessed with everything about Japan, food, culture, famous places,etc. I wanted to visit Japan so much. After several years, I was able to visit Japan. Now, I feel that I want to live and work in Japan for a certain amount of time if I have the chance. But, my major is not Japanese, so I have to choose a different path. Also, I sometimes feel that I want to stay away from Japan and related things for some time, because I got too close to them. But, I always get back to listening to Japanese songs and watching Jdramas. :)
Thanks for sharing your somewhat similar experience.
One thing to add: Just because your major isn’t Japanese, doesn’t mean you can’t live and work in Japan. So don’t let that stop you if that’s what you want!
Honestly, getting a major in a language probably isn’t great – career wise. Learn Japanese through self-study and major in something that’s both in demand and enjoyable for you. You don’t need to pay $40k or more to learn Japanese.
Can’t speak for the future, but there is currently a lack of system engineers in Japan, so there are plenty of places hiring. No need for a degree in Japanese.
I got started with Visual Kei!! I gradually stopped being so obsessive with it, and that caused me to think I didn’t like Japan as much anymore. I also stopped watching so much anime, and I never did read manga much. But I didn’t notice how my “love” was changing in other ways–I watch Japanese YouTube channels all the time, and I love listening to Japanese podcasts. And I hope to read more novels and non-fiction. My interests as a person changed, and I just had to figure out how to move the language along with it.
I´m glad to see this post. I thought I was just a person who can stick to nothing.
I had many different ways to study japanese:
– Watching anime / drama
– Reading many questions in Yahoo Answer Japan (it´s separeted by categories which is useful to get new vocabulary)
– Reading recipes and trying to make it at the kitchen
– Reading news and trying to copy the writing style
– Twitter in japanese
– I signed on a dating site for Japan to see the profiles of the people there and learn how to describe oneself casually
– Magazines / novels
– Listening to podcasts
– Youtube and Japanese TV
– I donpt live in Japan so I had a really hard time learning japanese names so I started to put a japanese name to each of my acquantiances and friends and created a story in my mind so I can use these people as characters with japanese names
I´m really excited looking forward what will come next!