Her then 15-yr-old sister had also decided Japan was awesome, and then thought, "Hey, it would be cool to learn Japanese." (Which she later majored in.)
So Sister taught Charlie all the basics of Japanese.
Charlie then took Community Education classes in Japanese, two years of [very, very bad] Japanese instruction in high school, and four semesters [of very, very intense] Japanese classes in college. And then she graduated in English and forgot all her Japanese.
My desire to rekindle my Japanese would always come when A) I watched the very rare Japanese TV show or drama [with subtitles, of course], or B) Someone else who spoke Japanese tried to strike up a conversation with me, and I failed about 20 seconds in. I've forgotten all my kanji and almost everything beyond basic grammar.
I've been reconsidering my Japanese ever since. I got a CD meant to play in the car to learn Japanese, though it's just a "repeat what I say" type of format, not actually anything conducive to learning. Fortunately, I can still use it as a refresher. I would LOVE to try the Rosetta Stone software, but it's painfully expensive. Painfully.
So, baby steps. I still have my old textbooks (and a great book called "Making Out in Japanese" which teaches you key conversational phrases and then some something-something). Hopefully I'll find some free time to look into them and smarten up.
Do any of you speak a foreign language? How did you learn it?