Simply, are you in Japan? (or have you been in Japan?)
Or for more of a complex breakdown:
I'm sure anime has inspired many folks to set their sights on the country of Japan, and for many varied reasons. Sometimes, Japan came first. Whatever and however, there's a story (or tutorial, perhaps?) there. Those of us on the road, and those standing where it begins, want to hear those stories.
It's hard to take the road less travelled by, but I have it on good authority that it makes all the difference. So, what was your road like?
Was Japan your goal, or did you just find yourself there? When did you realize it, and what inspired you? Did it just happen to happen?
To be fair, I'll start. Sort of. I haven't actually been successful.
The origin point was most likely years ago during a 10-40 window study in school. Japan took my interest and, unknowingly, I started down my road.
Then came poke'mon. Not that there is much ice to break in your first decade, but that series acclimated me to the style and I soon sought out more. Bleach, Naruto, Trigun... ultimately a list much, much longer than I realized. To put an end to my nostalgia trip before it begins, my favorite genre was slice of life, and soon I was more interested in the life behind the slice. At that point, Japan became my hobby. The food, the language, the clothes, the culture. In my own small way.
After the tsunami I wasn't sure if visiting Japan for pleasure was... proper. But a year after the disaster, I joined a small team headed for Yamamoto-cho in Miyagi prefecture to help the small community with the on-going recovery efforts. Genuinely helping someone out and getting to visit my fairyland... hard to get better, right? Despite traveling halfway across Japan by every kind of train to visit Enoshima, the picturesque island featured in various anime including Tsuritama and Tari-Tari (find 'em, watch 'em, love 'em), I left Japan after 4 weeks feeling... well, like I'd missed something I was supposed to find. Needless to say the office job I returned to had lost whatever shreds of charm it may have had left.
A year later, an opportunity to tag along as an extra had me back in Japan again, this time travelling to places like Gunma, Okinawa, Akihabara, other Tokyo spots, and going solo to return to Yamamoto-cho for a short stint. Again I returned feeling that I'd missed that thing, worsened by the haunting thought that I was farther from it than on the first trip. I can't delve deeper into the nature of this thing without adding too much more to this already lengthy wall of text. It's less nebulous than I make it sound though.
Two trips isn't successful? No. Not for me. At the very least I want to become a welcomed acquaintance, not the bumbling visitor. At the most? A live-in contributor to society. There's still many a mountain and valley between me and the humblest of my goals.
So, what's your story? And even if you (like me) haven't had your "success", what's your road look like?
I, at least, am looking forward to hearing about it.