Lately, I've been thinking back to when I learned the English language. Textbooks didn't teach me English, they taught me words and good grammer. Being immersed in the culture taught me English. The same must hold true for Japanese, but how do I get that exposure from the other side of the world? If you are using this service, you have probably not yet achieved your goal of fluency in Japanese, but would anyone be able to share any resources for becoming familiar with the colloquial expressions, shorthand, and various dialects of the langauge? Don't necessarily need a reference manual. Any exposure at all would be a tremendous step in the right direction. All I have to go on right now are Anime and video games. If all I knew about the English language was what I heard/read on cartoons and video games, I would sound very strange to other English speakers. If you have any suggestions, please share them liberally. If you are a native speaker of English who has become fluent in Japanese, I would like to learn how.
PS: Yes, I would love to spend a year in Japan, but that option is simply not viable at this time.