I’m what I like to call a “closet otaku”. Otaku is defined as “a young person who is obsessed with computers or particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills”, but it is also used generally to refer to someone who likes Japanese anime and/or manga. I don’t tend to talk about it much, particularly because of the social stigma around it in my high school, so I consider myself a secret or “closet” otaku.
This love of anime and manga, as well as having a childhood friend from Japan, led me to try to learn Japanese in high school. Since my school got a Chinese teacher instead of a Japanese teacher, I tried teaching myself. While I used some more formal resources, such as language learning books, I also tried to implement what kanji and kana characters I learned to try to read manga. It usually didn’t go well and I would have to look up the English version, but enjoyed the challenge. What I found easier to use was Japanese children’s books, because they are primarily written in Kana, which is phonetic. While I was using these resources to become literate in Japanese, I used anime to learn how things were pronounced and to learn expressions and vocabulary.
Now, I hardly know any Japanese, since I got too busy to continue studying it, and I am limited to saying greetings and insulting people.