I only speak English at the moment. Well, I can read music, if you count that. I’ve taken lessons or done self-study in (get ready for it): Spanish, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Norwegian and French, but never got above a 1st year level in any of them. I’d be all right for a while and then lose interest. Or, in the case of Chinese and Portuguese, I’d be in the country where the language was spoken and be really into it, then move away and stop caring.
So I think what I’ve got going on now is really special. I’ve never been to Japan. I’ve only ever met a handful of Japanese people. I have no plans to go to Japan (I mean, someday, obviously, but at the moment all airfare gets spent going home to America). And yet, I’m super motivated to learn the language. Because unlike those other language, I’m totally sucked into Japanese media and I’m desperate to understand it without translation. When I lived in China, my (American) friends and I would get together in the evenings and watch American films. Or go out and see American films. Or I would stay home and listen to American songs on my Sony Discman (I’m dating myself with that statement, I know). So I wanted to learn the language for survival reasons, but not emotional ones.
Now I have no legitimate reasons to learn Japanese. My husband is not Japanese, my family is not Japanese, I’m not in a Japanese class or taking business trips to Japan. I just bloody love it. For no sane reason at all.
And when I listen to certain songs in Japanese I want to understand them without having to look up the translation so badly it’s almost like a physical ache. The song I’m currently obsessed with is ぐるぐる by Eufonius (video below). Right now I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard, and it’s spurring me on to keep studying Japanese, and to keep listening to things I don’t understand, in the hopes that I will eventually.
It’s pretty magical, and helps get me out of bed in the morning. So I won’t question it.