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19 July 2011 @ 09:30 pm
Why Japan?  
Something a friend asked me this weekend made me think a bit. We were playing the Lannister Drinking Game[1], and the statement to me was that my interest in Japan began in my early teens. This was, however, completely wrong.

The first time I saw any anime at all was when I was 19.[2]
The first time I tried sushi was when I was 21.
The first time I tried green tea was when I was 23 (or maybe 22). It was at ashiri_chan's suggestion--I probably wouldn't have done it otherwise.
The first time I actually made a study of Japanese as a language was when I was 23.

So, why the interest?

I'm not sure. The main reason I liked watching anime so much early on wasn't necessarily that it was from Japan, but more because of the plots. Most of the anime I watched was fantasy, and it was easier to do all kinds of fantastical things and have them look good in a drawn medium than it was in a live action one, and much cheaper as well. My favorite fiction has always been fantasy, so it was probably just a logical extension of that--I don't tend to watch non-fantasy/SF anime either, other than slice-of-life high school anime (which are a lot funnier if you've actually worked with Japanese highschoolers).

As I grew more interested in the structure of the language, I started watching it in preference to non-Japanese series for extra exposure, though I can honestly say it didn't really do many any good at the time. I get much more out of it now that I actually have some knowledge of Japanese to go on and can make out whole sentences rather than just the odd individual word here and there.

I actually don't watch that much anime anymore. I think the main reason I watched more of it a while ago was back then, my main exposure to Japanese culture was 1) watching anime and 2) eating at Japanese restaurants. Living in Japan, my main exposure to Japanese culture starts when I wake up in the morning and ends when I fall asleep[3], so I don't really need any additional exposure. Nowadays, also, I have a lot more things to be interested in since I've experienced them firsthand--tea ceremony, onsen, kagura, hatsumōde, etc., etc.

We'll see how my habits change when I go back to America. I'd be great to figure out if I can get an NHK stream so I could have appropriate noise in the background while studying Japanese or just reading the web.

[1]: It probably has another name, but it goes like this--make a guess about someone. If you're right, they drink. If you're wrong, you drink.
[2]: It was Akira. Some days, I'm honestly surprised it wasn't also the last anime I ever saw.
[2]: I'd say "when I go to bed," but I sleep in a futon on a tatami floor so it doesn't end there either. :p
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: E-Rotic - Test My Best
Joshdesh on July 19th, 2011 11:58 pm (UTC)
Akira was the last anime I saw. I had the usual teenage nerd love of Japan, but Akira made sure it didn't last more than a year or so...

Anyway, no comment on the rest, except that it's interesting and also not what I would've guessed.
jdcohen on July 22nd, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
I had no idea you were new to both Anime and Sushi in college... could have fooled me. Wait, you DID fool me. PITT!!!
dorchadas: Enter the Samuraidorchadas on July 24th, 2011 02:44 am (UTC)
Yeah, when you were like "We need to watch Trigun!" (or was it Bebop? I think it was Trigun first...) that was the second anime anything I had ever seen. :)

Edited at 2011-07-24 02:44 am (UTC)