I've been lurking on the forum for a couple of months and decided to write my first post.
I was inspired to learn a second language by my grandma who grew up speaking 4 or 5 languages. It was a fortunate happenstance of her growing up on a bordering region between China and Russia in the pre-WW2 era where school kids from different countries would meet up and somehow communicate with each other. She never really thought about it but she could naturally speak with the other children in their respective languages.
The problem is I don't feel I'm inherently very good at languages myself. For example, even in my native language (English), I struggle to remember words and my mind gets stuck a lot when trying to construct a sentence. However, this apparent disadvantage motivated me even more to learn a language. I thought that if I tried studying a foreign language, it might improve my brain's general ability with languages.
Anyway, fast forward to today and I'm currently learning Japanese. I'm trying to learn using audio only, just listening to stories and conversations with transcripts. I can't read Japanese yet, but I use the transcripts just so I can look up new words in the dictionary. For output, I'm trying out that approach some people advocate of avoiding early output, but I am at least trying to get some output practice by trying to pause after hearing each sentence and repeat it verbally just to get my mouth muscles used to the language, and to also help my ears pay more attention to the details of the language.