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In hindsight you can see that it was silly to think your introversion was shyness. I hope that my introversion is a shyness mask because that means it is something that I can change. I see no advantage in being introverted, and only feel like I am being myself when I am extroverted.
Flower arrangement, tea ceremony, and all of that wabisabi crap is all ritual... nothing creative about it. It's aesthetic, but not artistic. But since art is a subjective thing, I won't argue it much further...
I guess just practice. The grammar is much closer to that of English, and I don't feel like I have to memorize as much as I do with Japanese. Our textbook is really good, too: Marita Nummikoski, Troika: A Communicative Approach to Russian Language, Life, and Culture
Of course, I may just be biased against Japanese since I kind of hate it right now for being so difficult.