The Man who made me what I am today
(besides that Byelorussian choir director who sent me to Soviet Union Language Village in the 1980s)
Sometime after I received my first Ninja "shuriken" throwing star in Catholic junior high through some East Coast martial arts catalog, I went out and purchased Advanced Dungeons and Dragons' Oriental_Adventures.
I was a bit disappointed that they never really fully developed any other player-characters besides Japanese ones (a yakuza gangster in Tang Dynasty China??), but the book (along with the badly-dubbed Saturday morning kung fu flicks) did get me into East Asian culture- albeit a culture dominated by samurai, bushi, "wu-jen" magicians, shugenja priests, sohei warrior monks, and of course ninja.
Eventually (like more than 10 years ago, OK?), I outgrew the gaming part of it and just began to read up on Japan/Korea/China history and culture.
I learned a bit of Korean in high school while taking Tae Kwon Do, went to Chinese language camp, went to Japan for 3 weeks, and became somewhat of a normal individual.
A brief cut-and-paste from Ace_of_Spades_HQ:
He will be remembered by many geeks of a certain age for helping making
long-lasting painful celibacy seem almost hip and cool (almost) . .
Hey, at least we didn't become fathers at age 16, alright?! So I got that going for me . . .