In the 1970s my mother and her younger sister married U.S. Marines. Both came to the States when their husbands were transferred back to the US. Unfortunately we lost my uncle in 1979. He died of leukemia which back then was untreatable but now they have a good bit of success with. However, my aunt remained in the states and her and my mother live caddy corner to each other in the same neighborhood. Since we were in the States I heard them speak Japanese to each other and to our family on the rare occasions (New Year's mostly) they phoned long distance back home. They also spoke Japanese when around other Japanese (military town with a lot of US Marines who went to Japan), but we didn't speak Japanese in the home. Only English. Then in 1983 my father got orders to Japan and I spent my formative years, ages 10-12, there. I became fairly fluent in speaking Japanese interacting with my Japanese friends and just spending day-to-day in country and learned Hiragana and Katakana in Japanese culture class on base. However, we came back to the states in 1986, 25 years this month in fact, and my use of the language immediately dropped to nothing as we still spoke English at home (my dad doesn't speak Japanese).
In our homeschooling curriculum, the kiddos are learning Latin as one of their languages. I said one because in discussions with my wife, we want them to learn a modern language as well. We originally considered French, as my wife took it in high school, however we've decided that since their cultural heritage is Japanese and because we would one day soon like to take them to meet and get to know the Japanese side of our family, that Japanese would be a good modern language to start with. We don't expect it to be their only language (one of the great things about homeschooling is the flexibility you have for things like this).
So that leads to the nature of this post. If you're proficient in Japanese and wouldn't mind, I'd love to have a penpal and maybe someone to connect with via LiveMeeting or FaceTime or the like to regain my own fluency in the language. Learning a foreign language is always easier and better when interacting with those who are fluent in the language, especially native speakers, and I'd like the language study with my kiddos not to be just book learning. We'll, of course, interact with my family, too, but I figured it would be a great way for me to get to know some SQL Server Pros that I haven't had the opportunity to interact with much, if at all, to this point. This is a great community and obviously, the more I meeting and connect with folks, the more I can give and the more I can receive from it.