You may have discussed this before, but what's the deal with Japan? As a Japanophile myself, I'm just wondering: what fuels your fascination?
Well, it is all my parents fault. My Father was stationed at the Embassyin Seoul, Korea when I was born. After 2 years, He was transferred and we moved to Tokyo, Japan for 2 years. These are the formative years, I guess. Now that I look back on my life I have absolutely no recollection, not one memory, of any of my life before moving to the United States. Sometime when I was in Grade school, in some conversation with my Mom, she said in a matter-of-fact way, "You used to understand Japanese..." This little bit of information set me on course for the rest of my life. My Mom told me about living in Tokyo and about our maid, Yoko-san, who spoke very little English and how she would speak to me in Japanese. Mom showed me pictures of myself in Japan with friends. All of which fueled my fascination even more. I dove head first into all things Japanese. My Father pulled out an old Japanese Conversation text book, that he had used while in Japan, and it became my constant companion. For my 10th birthday, my parents took me to see the Grand Kabuki in Chicago. By 12 I was reading and writing the basics of Japanese, which seemed to be rather easy. Growing up I would consume anything and everything Japanese; food, clothing, language, culture. I was in heaven when we moved to California because there was actually a Japanese community in LA and there was a Japanese TV station that we could pick up in San Bernardino. I was so enthralled with everything Japanese, that my Mom once joked that she thought maybe I was Japanese in one of my previous lives. I Majored in Japanese Language in college and was very lucky to be admitted to the exchange program with Kansai University of Foreign Study in Osaka, Japan. That is one the best years of my whole life! I miss Japan very much. After graduating college with a BA in Japanese Lang, I went to work for a Japanese tour agency in Las Vegas. The agency, Yahiro Tours, was owned and run by and for Japanese. There were periods at which I spoke Japanese all day and most days of the week. After 2 years of being a tour guide, I became a salaried office employee. I was the only non-Japanese who actually became part of the office staff. Even thought I have spent most of my life living and learning about the Japanese there is still so much I don't know. I am still awed and fascinated with Japan and the Japanese. It has been many years (about 10) since I was last in Japan. And I don't use Japanese as much as I should, but I know that it is part of me.