I started learning Japanese on my own in middle school, and have loved it ever since. That love for learning eventually made me a good teacher, which helped when I actually went to Japan when I was 18. I was better able to help the people around me because I worked so hard years before. I learned how to read very well, because I studied by myself, but speaking and listening skills did not come for me until I actually immersed myself into Japan. And it was difficult at first. The only way to overcome that difficulty is just to dive right in, and not be afraid to make mistakes. I now have great proficiency in the language, and a love for the people and their culture (and the food, of course). I promise to help those struggling to move forward in the language, because I once received that help when I was struggling. And you will be glad you made the effort.