I've always really loved Japanese culture. It may not be that hard to tell; I watched anime most of my life, used to subscribe to Shonen Jump, and have genuinely enjoyed all that I do know of the fashion and characters that make up Japanese culture. Sure, it's a completely different place than what I'm used to, and I'm sure it'd be a crazy experience being there for the first time, but I love what I do know.
Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I'm actually more exposed to the culture than I've ever been - actually, I'm exposed to all of Asia. We have Asian-Pacific themed stores, restaurants and entire districts devoted to the transplants who come here for work, education or just to live in America. I am surrounded by more Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese people than I ever have been. (Not counting the summers with my Korean aunt who would invite all of her Korean friends from church over for a large BBQ. Shout out to Aunt Anne.) I am also surrounded by more people who appreciate Asian cultures than I ever have been.
Stores like Daiso Japan are super popular here. When you walk in one, you see Japanese families with little kids getting groceries and toys, and then tons of other folk getting some tasty, affordable Pocky and roaming around the decor sections.
Daiso is seriously one of my favorite things and places about living here. Down the street from one of our better Daiso Japan branches is a boba milk tea shop that has a wide variety of anything from plain milk tea, boba, to even tapioca balls. It's one of our favorite places we just recently found. And in that shop there are a bunch of slightly worn (but in the best sense for a library lover here) manga lining the shelves. It's like its own little library. And they're all in the original Japanese - likely donated by the shopkeepers and friends.
I live in the state of Nintendo and international cuisine. If there was ever a place to learn Japanese, it would be here and now.
So that's what I'm going to do!
We've talked about it for a while, but Tripp and I are going to finally settle down and learn Japanese. I've downloaded some great apps to start with - that had some awesome recommendations from users on YouTube who are presently learning Japanese, themselves.
I tried to finish out my fluency in French earlier this year, but I just don't have the drive for the language. I hope no possible French readers get offended by that. In a lot of ways, I think it can be a very fun language, but I had a rough start with it in that I was kind of forced to choose one or the other, and so I never really felt like it was something that I wanted. I do intend to finish it out eventually, and pick up a few others, but right now I know that I really want to learn Japanese. I always have. My best friend, Melody, and I have talked about visiting Japan together for a decade now, and I would love to be able to do that with her and Tripp, and be able to speak the language while I'm there.