There are lots of good reasons to learn Japanese. A few have hit me over the years. I wish I could see the original versions of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, for instance. It’d come in handy at the sushi bar. And it just sounds pretty cool.
But the main reason is the literature. Some of my favorite authors are Japanese: Haruki Murakami, Banana Yoshimoto, and Yoko Ogawa. The images are so crisp, so unique. They stun me with their prose.
And the food – the food! How can you read KITCHEN and not immediately call your favorite Japanese restaurant to order up some pork katsudon? And who doesn’t crave grapefruit marmalade after reading PREGNANCY DIARY? I made it – it is good.
But of course I might be deluding myself. I don’t speak Japanese – except “the girls are eating” and similar variants. It might just be spectacular translation. But somehow I don’t think so.