Honestly, when I first came to Sac State and decided to take Japanese it was because I wanted to be able to watch anime, movies, read manga, and understand what they were saying. I'd be lying if I said that anime and manga had NO influence on me.
Meeting a lot of Japanese people, J-Club people, and wanting to travel to Japan became a huge motivator for me. I didn't really care about my original reasons as much as wanting to make new friends and just enjoy the ones I had. My language ability was at a really low level, so I was motivated to get better. It helped that all my classmates and J-club people were really motivated and it was a lot of fun speaking with people like Yuko, Yuriko, and Sachiko. The two years I did study helped me to get around Tokyo (very international friendly, but still), so I was able to see some benefits from my language learning. Naturally, learning more Japanese would enable me to do more things, and so I still try to study.
Nowadays, after having applied for numerous jobs and having worked at a Japanese company, I realize that having Japanese language ability is a very sought after skill. A lot of companies, especially in popular media and business, want Japanese speakers. It's hard to get a job in general, but having Japanese language ability gives you a huge advantage against others who are applying for the same position. It's just a good skill to have and it shows that you are international-minded.
I think learning languages in general is fun and learning Japanese is worth it for me.
Brian is up next!