So I just went back and read my first two (of three) entries on this goal. I had forgotten how unsure of it I was at first. I was really trying to find a concrete justification that would not only make it a good idea, but the best possible use of my time. Fortunately, I made it through that phase intact, and eventually settled on the fact that I was at least doing something useful.
Then I started pondering why I was doing it, if not for definite tangible benefits (like, say, a well-paying job). This was largely prompted by family and friends asking me the same question. At first, it made sense that I would want to learn because of all my exposure to martial arts and anime and zen buddhism. But then I realized that probably a larger part of the equation was my desire for a challenge. That’s why I stuck with playing the trumpet for so long, after all.
I still have some hope that I’ll be able to use Japanese in a formal way, like maybe business meetings with Japanese companies (or something less boring, ideally). I’ve had some thoughts about being involved in translation somehow. I think it would be really fun to translate manga or Japanese TV shows or something. I’m sure that market is pretty saturated, but frankly I could do it for free and use it as a means to learn more.
Anyway, it would seem that I’m past the point of no return here. I’ve been learning for about 14.5 months now, and in that time I’ve learned over 2,000 kanji, all the hiragana and katakana, and gotten a good start on learning Japanese proper. I have just about another 14 months until theoretically I’ll be starting pharmacy school, and I figure I can probably get a good deal of learning in in the meantime. While I may have to dial it back a bit during most of pharmacy school, I’m pretty confident I won’t drop it altogether. I did make that decision mentioned in my second entry. And I’ve actually heard of people using an SRS to make med school and law school much easier, so I think I can hope to do the same with pharmacy school. They’re all mostly difficult because of the sheer amount of memorization you have to do, and that’s what SRS is good for.
And now I’ve gotten off topic. Getting back to my first point, about finding a justification for learning Japanese… I’ve been having the same thoughts about going to pharmacy school, and I’ve come to this tentative conclusion: don’t worry about it. Things will make sense when they need to make sense, but for now I really just need to head in /a/ direction. I’ve chosen to learn Japanese, and I’m doing that, so I think I’ll keep doing it. That’s good enough for me (or at least I’m trying my hardest to make it so).
This is where I get to use the very useful yet rather obscure talent of being able to make myself believe something for my own good. I think most people form their beliefs more or less subconsciously, but I like to think that there’s room for some conscious input in that department.
So, long story short:
1. I’m learning Japanese
2. I will keep learning Japanese
3. What will happen will happen, at least I’ll know Japanese.