This section has recently been updated to be more accurate and thorough in who I am.
I began learning Japanese intensely truly at the age of 14, though my initial studying was before then. I turn 21 soon, so it's been a long time. The majority of my studies has been solo, but I've done good for a Texan. Anything I say about my prowess will sound gullible to 4chan trash, so I'll skip to the important things such as education, level, and what not.
I graduated high school in 2012 from Weatherford High School in the top 3%. I have been at the University of Texas at Austin ever since, and I will be graduating early in 2015 with a GPA of approximately 3.85 if I keep things up.
When I first went to UT for freshman orientation, I met with the East Asian Department counselor who knew not a single Asian language. In the interview I had with her to decide what I was to do at UT, the first thing that came up was my proficiency in Japanese. At that point, I had a high reading proficiency close to that of the native. It needed reinforcement, but I had a strong hold of vocabulary and sufficient knowledge of 3,000 漢字. My listening skills needed improvement, but they didn't impair conversation or comprehension. Out of honesty, I told her my weakest skill was conversation. My two Japanese speaking friends in high school in addition with my others skills already put me at the same advantage as someone who had stayed in Japan for study abroad. Due to school policy, I had to take a placement test for Japanese as it is understandable that they would not take me for my word alone especially with no Asian heritage.
My correspondence with the department head 水藤先生 has been misconstrued on places like 4chan--the most vulgar Japanese learning community online. There is a mentality that Caucasians just have an inability at knowing Japanese. Despite the fact that I maxed out on the placement test and having knowledge of my website which even had Classical Japaneses stuff then, she would define in English random words such as いっぱい. To this day, online one faculty member has ever looked through my site and only up to Lesson 9 at the time.
My first day, I explained to the teacher in Japanese of course that I was already a proficient, fluent speaker and had been studying since I was a child. This, though, is not a lie. The beginning of my Japanese studies was at the age of 12. The teacher, 相田先生, believed I was fluent. After class, she in broken English asked questions like how many Kanji I knew. I showed her that during her class alone I had compiled a list of over 1000 characters and could read them all. And, I demonstrated that I knew Japanese grammar. She then changed her attitude and angrily told me that the department was only for people who come here knowing zero Japanese, not for people like you who already know Japanese.
So, when it became clear to her that my Japanese was that of a ハーフ, I was told that pursuing a degree in Japanese was not for me. I was then put into Advanced Conversation as I said conversation was my worst skill. I thought that I would be forced to speak with natives, not horrible students who frequently puzzle the teacher. The teacher realized I was fluent and was initially intrigued. However, it is against school policy that fluent and native speakers take the class. With my lack of Asian heritage and need for hours, she reluctantly let me stay in her class.
I worked very hard to try to learn Japanese in a linguistically correct fashion, so being known as the Japanese 天才 is only natural. Students learned of my website called me 今日さん if they didn't know my name. I began tutoring close friends and intensively worked on my site with lots of native collaboration. I became a double major in linguistics and excelled in those classes as well. Though I am not a certified linguist yet, I have gone through the necessary amount of classes to think like one, and studying does not end outside of the classroom. Every week, I read up on Japanese linguistics as I am truly passionate for the field I have chosen.
The reaction of all of this has not been positive. Twice I have almost been charged of helping two friends cheat due to tutoring them. Two professors have told friends of mine not to use my site because of errors. Of course there are errors in my English and Japanese, but there is native and non-native feedback. One of my native friends has gone through over 70% of the site alone. Essentially all of the site has been proofread at least once by a native. If there is a mistake, it has more than likely missed the eyes of more than one person. If a mistake is found, it gets fixed that day. If people want an explanation improved, it's fixed that day. If someone doesn't like my analysis, I do more research and update it to make it more accurate than it was before.
What I have little tolerance for is misinformation about Japanese and myself. I'm not a non-native otaku who thinks he knows more than the native teachers and wishes to be treated like a king. I am quite aware native teachers are far better at speaking Japanese than I. The problem is that they don't really care whether I learn more Japanese or not. I'm not their target student.
Allow me to introduce you to two individuals in a similar predicament at UT. One lived in Japan in high school and is by all means proficient. He has been treated in a vile manner for being fluent and was almost prosecuted plagiarism for having "too good Japanese". This was despite the fact that it was not native Japanese. Another who is half Japanese and a native at a conversation level wanted to be more literate. So, she took the final advanced class the same time I did. The professor would not tolerate our existence. One day, she told my friend to visit her office only to be scolded concerning her background and not having to translate before she speaks. The problem surfaced: they're jealous of bilinguals.
We also have a faculty member who vehemently hates Chinese people. She can't even comprehend why Chinese people take her class. Chinese people out of all other people shouldn't learn Japanese, you know. They already know how to read Hanzi. Who cares if they don't know anything about them for Japanese.
If you do not believe all of this, come to UT and see for yourself. I am not an isolated case. I was even blamed for students not speaking Japanese at our conversation despite actively encouraging members with a native friend. The same professor even went so far as to tell me (in Japanese) with my Japanese friends by me not to forget Japanese during the summer.
Luckily, I have friends to support me through times like this. But, you know, I can be working on a thesis on the phonetic nature of 万葉仮名 and still nothing about Japanese linguistics. So, I'll be damned no matter what. My translation job is also meaningless, I guess. In reality, I am a near native speaker. It's your freedom to believe me or not. When it comes to my site, though, I will continue to work hard to further expand this site to the best it can be. Regardless of what is said about me, this site will continue to be an open book.