Ascended Anime Nerd

Got started with Dragonball Z when it first came stateside. Brother was borrowing fansubs of the Cell and Buu sagas back when people were wondering if Goku would ever finish Snake Road.

Around that time I started noticing some serious discrepancies between the broadcast translations and the fansubs, and so I decided to cut out the middleman—after all, how hard can it be to learn Japanese?—and did a search on AltaVista for a “kanji course”, turning up a course hosted by Rice University that taught basic Japanese using Magic Knight Rayearth and YuuYuu Hakusho.

Turns out the answer to the difficulty question is that anything van be simple to learn, if you don’t know it’s supposed to be hard. Especially if you embrace the parts everyone else dreads (falling in love with kanji, in my case).

Over the next nine months I ditched my Spanish class—and all my other classes, for that matter—to study Japanese in the computer lab. I was reviewing the lessons, playing JRPGs on SNES9X (stored on a ZIP disk, since every computer in the lab had a ZIP drive), and transcribing the scripts so I could transliterate and translate them thereafter. In a lab that went so far as to uninstall Minesweeper and Solitaire to discourage playing games on school computers, I had free reign to do so openly because the one time I got confronted for playing a game I had 150+ leaves of handwritten transcriptions to show them.

Long story short, by the time I took Japanese 101 9 months later it was like Hermione in Snape’s potions class, since I had already taught myself about 2 years’ worth of material. I then transferred out to a college that did a one-class-per-month “modular” system that basically allowed me to take 8 more Japanese classes full-time for the following year. By the time my exchange trip came up I was sofar ahead of the curriculum I was taking classes alongside the native Japanese students.

Running out of linguistic topics, I did an independent study on classical Japanese literature in its original, unmodernized grammar and orthography. A topic I’m still fairly active with 15 years later.

  • 3
    Oh, and on the side I also play anime and video game covers on bass at DC-area conventions.
  • 2
    Pretty awesome!
    This inspires me to learn mandarin again, which I had given up on a while ago.
  • 1
    I highly respect dedication and a thirst for learning.
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