Rob’s desire to learn Japanese has come about through a typical fascination of boys his age: Japanese anime. It actually started about 10 years ago when Pokemon became such a rage in America. Although we weren’t crazy about role-playing games, for Rob it was a god-send: collecting Pokemon cards and playing Pokemon was something he could do that gave him common ground with the other boys at school.  The game structured his interactions with the other boys so that he could play with them successfully, because he knew exactly what was expected. And Pokemon gave him an outlet for the obsessive focus on a single topic so typical for Aspies.  At one point I could have told you the names of all 300 or so Pokemon (Pikachu is still my favorite), and their types, and their attacks, because Rob taked about them incessantly. Pokemon eventually led to Digimon, and then to TV shows and video games. This was what first led him to want to learn Japanese – because he would find Japanese versions of the games to download on his PC, and then have to be able to read and/or understand spoken Japanese in order to play them.  He started a class at community college  but that was too structured. So now he is picking it up by listening to Japanese music, watching Japanese TV, and of course by reading/watching anime and manga. His sister bought him some Japanese flashcards. And, another result of his interest, he has decided he wants to go to community college to learn digital arts.  He is currently enrolled in one class, as a start.  So I am thankful that his obsession may turn into a way for him to make a living.

Advertisements