Some years (ahem, many) years ago I met the quite interesting fellow, Dave Malinowski, while a student at the University of Kanazawa, Japan. (For those in the know, we call it 金大. Tokyo cannot have all the fun.)
At the time I recall Dave being an amazingly adaptable and capable linguist who was comfortable in every setting, every culture, every language. Needless to say, we both admired and envied his near savant levels with language; the rest of us laggards struggling far behind.
Flash forward to today. Dave is now in Berkeley doing what he does best: bridging cultures with a wonderfully titled site, Found in Translation. Dave has a number of articles in English and Japanese that you can read more at here. And for those who are learning Japanese, take some heart, or solace, in reading Dave’s post on the horrors of kanji.
As an aspiring student of Japanese who believes that language acquisition is more just the bricks and mortar (words and grammar), I find Dave and his colleagues work inspiring. They are doing a wonderful job of providing a meaningful forum for persons yearning for that singular, shared dream: understanding.