I suppose it started when I was about 10 years old (I'm 56 now). I read an article in Popular Electronics magazine about Akihabara. I was an electronics and gadget nut then and still am.

From that point I was always interested in going to Japan "someday."

In 1996 I saw someone wearing geta in a magazine and a couple things happened: My interest in Japan woke from hibernation, I started wondering if Akihabara still existed [Yes!], and I wanted a pair of geta

Well, it turns out you can't just drive over to Payless Shoes and pick up a pair in the sandal department, so I went and posted a message on alt.soc.japan.

I got a couple helpful replies and now 6 years later:
- speak Japanese well enough to be understood (too bad I can't understand the answers...)
- own enough geta to hold a small festival
- have been to Japan, including Akihabara, twice

Not bad for a 1 year subscription to a magazine

Now if I could just find a good bowl of ramen on Cape Cod