This was the beginning of everything - the Sega MegaDrive. An incredible 16 bit gaming machine which was released in Japan back in 1988. I got myself an import machine from some store in Tottenham Court Road back in London.
One of my fave games was Revenge of Shinobi. Mamamia nostalgia!
And how about some Stryder?
I loved the games and wanted to know more about what was coming out so I went to the Japan Center to get some Japanese Megadrive mags. Didn't have the luxury of attending Chinese school when I was a wee lad so I couldn't read anything. Decided to learn Japanese on my own starting with matching up the katakana and English names of the games.
Every time I went back to the Japan Center however, I started to discover more of the culture through the magazines- 2D girlies, Idols, music, anime, manga and more. I had to learn more Japanese if I was to understand more of this culture - a culture that I completely fell in love with. Soon, my dream was to live and work in Japan. I had found a destination in life and all I did was to continue running towards it as hard as I could.
Through part time jobs including working at a Japanese restaurant called Benihana in Chelsea, I was able to afford to buy tickets to visit the land of the rising sun.
I lived with mum at the time and this was our kitchen wall covered in photos that I took in Japan - and of my imaginary girlfriend - yes she was 3D but I think I had a few other 2D girlfriends including Minmay.
There is more to this story but thats taking me ages to write up. In the meantime I would love to hear how you started to become interested in Japanese culture.