I would actually urge any westerner to go study a semester or two of Japanese language (not culture), purely for the calm insight it can provide into the alternatives to our way of seeing, understanding, and acting upon the world.
I have to agree with this. The first foreign language I studied was French, and it taught me almost nothing - everything was so similar to English that most things were just a matter of memorization and one-to-one conversion. I quickly lost interest.
But Japanese has been entirely different. When you speak in Japanese, the way you think is different from when you speak in a Western language, such as English. The culture is inextricably tied to the language, and if you learn the language and then get a chance to actually visit the country and use it in real-life situations, it all clicks - why the language is structured how it is, and how it shapes all of Japanese society into its unique form.