I feel that I must add one thing to that earlier post about language learning: I didn’t put any effort into it. Sure in the first year I had to study pretty hard to keep up with the curriculum, but in retrospect even that just felt like a nuisance. I wasn’t actively learning vocab and I’d never sit down to memorize kanji if I didn’t absolutely have to. I just went with the flow and did what was necessary to get a pass grade.

On the other hand I know people who really care about Japanese as a language and were as fluent when they first came to Japan as I was after three years or so. The point is rather that even a slacker like me can pick up a language eventually. (It might be that translating loads and loads of stuff during my university years helped a bit.)