Why I’m learning Japanese

I have mentioned several times on this blog that Ihave no idea why I’m studying Japanese. Well, dear reader, I’ve figured it out. And I may quit.

My mother tells me that from a very early age I loved learning. And Iguess that’s true. But there’s something else I’ve also loved, and that’s collecting. I don’t know why, but from a very early age, I’ve liked collecting things. I never had anything good to collect, so I just ended up collecting random, stupid things. Things that a child with little money might collect.

But as I grew older, I began to collect knowledge. Not knowledge I could use, but knowledge for the sake of knowledge. I learned the periodic table at age 9, but for no real reason, just to say I knew it. I learned about electronics, whatever. If there was something that I could know, then I learned it. Because I could.

This got me through school, actually, but it blew apart in college, because my choice of major was stupid. I tried to study music. And the simple fact is, you cannot collect knowledge in music and succeed. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there’s much to learn about music, and much knowledge to collect, but you can’t really do much with it. It is an experiential thing, and all the knowledge that one can collect means little in the face of even a little experience. Or lack thereof.

So here are the facts: I started learning Japanese for no reason I could figure out. I have little interest in conversing with Japanese people. I have little interest in Japanese media or culture. I have little interest in travelling to Japan. I would say that I was learning Japanese because I could.

But that’s not quite right. I found some knowledge I didn’t have to collect, and I started collecting it. And that is the sole reason I have been learning Japanese.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. There have been a few minor benefits. I can understand some Japanese things I couldn’t before. I’ve grown to like some Japanese food I didn’t think I would like. I can consume the small amount of Japanese language media I like without needing a translation. All of these things are good.

But they’re not why I started learning. They’re not why I continue learning. And quite frankly, they’re not a good reason to continue. It is no more healthy to be a knowledge hoarder than it is to hoard more material things, for it’s pretty much the same compulsion, after all.

I haven’t decided what to do. But I very well may end up making this blog “Gaijin Who Tried to Learn Japanese – and Failed.”

But. I will say so if I do. Not giving up quite yet.