Why are you learning Japanese?
I am because
I probably differ from a lot of people here in that I don't watch anime regularly and I don't listen to any J-pop or have much interest in Japanese popular culture. I'm interested in Japanese because:
- I like learning languages in general, and Japanese is interesting and different and is a challenge. I find learning Japanese has pushed my brain in ways no other language has.
- I have the opportunity to practice or use Japanese online and occasionally in person; I work part-time at a university that also has an English language school, and sometimes come into contact with native Japanese speakers in person.
- I am founder and editor of RateTea, and Japan is one of the key countries in tea culture and production. I would benefit a lot from knowing even a modest amount of Japanese, in my work on RateTea.
- Japan is a globally important country and I think it is beneficial to learn any globally-important languages.
- I find Japanese culture and society interesting...not so much the popular culture but the traditional culture. I find certain aspects of Japanese culture appealing.
- Certain aspects of Japanese society seem extremely sick or depraved to me, and learning about Japan (things like the long workweeks and the prevalence of worker suicides) makes me feel more grateful for things that I take for granted about the culture here in the U.S.
Basically, learning Japanese and learning about Japan, I think pushes me and helps me to grow as a person. This is true with any language / culture, but Japanese is one of the several languages that has jumped out at me as being worth investing considerable effort into.
I studied Japanese a few decades ago, starting with Linguaphone and then a few courses at college. Never been to Japan, but would like to go sometime, and love the idea of actually being able to function there to make the most of it.
I also checked out a list of the "most useful" languages to learn and saw it included Japanese, so I thought with my head start this would be a good one to pick. Who knows, I might be able to pick up a few copywriting clients from Japan :)
Since then, while I waited for Japanese to appear here on Duo, I also freshened up my Spanish, which I studied more recently, and also French, which I only studied very briefly in high school.
First, it started kinda like a joke, on New Year I thought, that I might do something with my procrastination, playing PC games, etc.
So I installed Duolingo and I thought, that I would just renew my German (I learned a lot of German in school).
But then I saw Japanese in the language selection tab. And my ancient interest in Japan and Japanese culture got renewed. And I also I thought - "why not? It's a challenge, a very hard language to learn for a slavic native speaker, let's see if it is possible at all". I thought that it was impossible.
Duolingo helped me grasp the basics with a very fun form and my interest is not fading after almost 9 months. I learned a lot about Japan, Japanese people, their way of thinking, culture, society, etc. Duolingo is only an addition to my studies, I take a very broad approach.
I recommend George Trombley's videos and books, if you are beginning just now! Also memrise for vocab and lingodeer for a change of pace.
So the main reason why am I learning - I started just for fun and to prove myself, that I can indeed accomplish anything if I persist and set my mind to it.
Because I am going to Japan in three weeks.
Like most of the people on this discussion, I grew up on anime and manga as well, and I have always loved Japanese stories from contemporary to historical lore. I do look forward to being actually able to read manga without translation.
If the aim of this question is to look for reasons to study Japanese, I would think curiosity of the culture would be enough. Japan is the land of ideas, of samurais, of geishas, of technology, of idyllic landscapes... etc... etc.