You've been in Japan too long when you get a nihongo ga jozu ("you speak Japanese very well") and feel mildly insulted. This happened to me the other day: I was at one of the onsen hot springs around my house -- amazingly, there are three of them within a 5 km radius of J-List -- talking with the lady at the counter, when one of the other employees came up and praised my Japanese skills. It's an odd fact of life in Japan, but foreigners who are learning the language strive for that magic moment when Japanese people will finally stop telling them how good their Japanese is and just talk to them normally. After four years of study at SDSU and almost eighteen years living here, I am hopefully as bilingual as I'll ever need to be. Unless I venture outside my core areas of experience, like visiting a history museum or trying to engage my son in detailed discussions of Chiinese history and Romance of the Three Kingdoms, I can get by pretty well.
My goal was to study enough that people stopped praising my Japanese abilities. Right, Patty?