One way of staying motivated when learning a new language is to have physical objects related to the country. It is certainly not the biggest motivation booster than one can find, but it is a little something that does add some fuel to your motivation on a daily basis. At least, it works for me.
For example, I recently got a new phone case:
In fact, I don’t think that I would have bought a phone case with a character on it, if I were not learning Japanese.
Somehow, having this phone case reminds me that I am different today from what I was before I started learning Japanese. By learning a new language, you acquire not only a new knowledge, but a key to a whole world. You have access to a new culture, new hobbies and new passions. It literally broaden the range of your possibilities.
I didn’t learn Japanese because I was fan of Japanese manga but I started to read manga because I was learning Japanese and thought that it might help. In the process, I came to appreciate some manga for themselves, not just because they were supposed to help me study Japanese. That’s how I can now say who is my favourite character in One Piece.
Of course, most people didn’t have to study Japanese to read and love One Piece, but they are certainly people who love manga in the first place. As for me, I have never read manga in translation, I was not interested in it, it was not part of my world. But it is now, thanks to my Japanese studies, and I feel like my world has broadened.
I am sure that I would be surprised if I made a list of all the new things I have learned or have come to love since the beginning of this new learning adventure. Reading One Piece in Japanese is one of those but, as it became a part of my life, I sometimes forget that it is a newly acquired interest, brought to me thanks to hours and hours of study. And at the end, that’s why I love my phone case: 1- it’s beautiful, 2- it’s Roronoa Zoro!!, 3- every time I see it, it reminds me of all the exciting things I got to know thanks to Japanese and it makes me want to keep going.