Hi, first off let me say that this is a great site and a great community. Iv'e been interested in Japanese culture for a while now and now my interest has spread to wanting to know the language. I was born in the U.S and have been raised speaking English and Spanish. Spanish is a fairly easy language to learn everything is spoken how it looks(at least for westerners) even though English is my native language I can recognize it's difficulty. So.. My first question are there many Japanese dialects and do they differ greatly? Which one is the most widely used and for people whom Japanese is not their native language how long was it before you had a decent grasp of the langauge (were able to hold a real conversation with another Japanese speaking person). One more... for people that have learned when was the first time you were able to use it. I eventually want to travel to Japan(I am only 16 years old) so that's part of the reason I want to learn besides my own personal satisfaction. Thanks for your time and help.