Bridge: What more can I say? It's probably one of the most complex and dynamic card games I know of with a standard deck. The rules are surprisingly simple, but there's so much flexibility that everyone uses their own conventions, and most hands are unique enough to be interesting to play no matter how many times you've seen similar hands before. While I encourage everyone to learn the conventions and try to stick to them, the fact that nobody ever does is yet another thing that keeps the game interesting. It's something to do over the lunch break, a neat social opportunity, and just one area where people tend to defer to me as an expert. I like that.
Manga: I really only started reading manga because I was interested in anime and had a pretty good understanding that most anime series were based on manga. My first one was Sorcerer Hunters, which is interesting, because I hadn't watched the Sorcerer Hunters anime at the time. It was the first manga I saw at the local Waldenbooks, and I recognized the art style immediately. I didn't really follow what was going on, but I liked the humor, and the characters were interesting. After that, I got all of the Ranma 1/2 manga that had been published, mainly because one of the biggest topics on the Fanfiction Mailing List at the time was how different the two versions were, and once I was on my own supply of money, I started collecting series like Cardcaptor Sakura and Dragonball that I'd enjoyed in anime form. (Dragonball was one I'd gotten Curt as a birthday present... he told me about how different it was from the edited anime I'd seen, so I got a copy for myself.) Since then, my aim has been as much to collect as many books as I can as to read a wide variety - there are probably books I've had for years and not bothered to read yet, although I'm trying to catch up as best I can. I mostly use them as bathroom reading, since there's not much else to do in there and not much time I bother to devote to reading otherwise.
Anime: I got into this early in college. One of the girls in the chess club invited me to a meeting of the anime society, and I believe we watched the conclusion of Gunsmith Cats and a midpoint episode of Orguss 02. It was unlike anything I'd seen before - cartoons where people actually got injured, bled, swore, and did all sorts of things that Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and Disney never did. It was exotic because it was Japanese, the animation was a very different style from what American artists were doing at the time, and the stories were intricate - I'd never seen a cartoon with an ongoing story before, unless you counted The Mysterious Cities of Gold, which I found out many years later actually WAS anime, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I'd been watching mostly out of order, piecing things together as I went, and it never really had an ending. The idea of multiple episodes coming together to tell a complete story wasn't exactly groundbreaking, but I wasn't used to seeing it, and the stories they told seemed much more interesting than what I usually saw on TV. Combining that with the people who came to watch, it was an experience that became my Friday night tradition... no matter what was happening in my life or how many activities I couldn't stand to keep up with, I never missed a meeting if I could attend. I think Tenchi Muyou was the first series that interested me so much, I talked my mom into buying it, and she collected my favorite series for me until I could buy them for myself. I don't watch much anymore - usually, it'll be one episode before bed on any evening when I can spare the time - but there's always plenty to watch, and I almost always enjoy it, even the series that aren't very good.
She also wanted to know what my favorite anime ever is. That's a very difficult question. At times, I've held Cardcaptor Sakura and Brigadoon in very high regard for their emotional impact, Louie the Rune Soldier and Those Who Hunt Elves are probably my favorite funny series, and Death Note and The Law of Ueki are both pretty good adaptations of some of my favorite manga series. It's hard to choose one top favorite, especially since I've seen parts of so many series that I haven't finished yet. I usually pick Brigadoon as my favorite, but that's mainly because it's the least well-known of the series I like the most.
Gaming: Most of my gaming is of the video kind. Playing video games is another experience that's as varied as my game library itself. There are some games I've beaten so many times that I don't really need to pay attention, some I'm still trying to beat, and some I haven't even bothered to play at all yet. Depending on my mood, I can play a demanding action game that requires all of my concentration, an RPG that I can safely ignore while watching something on TV, a game with a story that I want to experience over and over, a game where I just defeat the same enemies over and over, a game that challenges me, a game that I can beat in my sleep... and I affect how the game proceeds through my actions. It's interactive storytelling at its finest.
Japan: To be honest, I'm interested in Japan mainly because I'm interested in Japanese, which is mainly because I'm interested in anime. But Japan has its own culture that I find intriguing. It seems to be a very polite society, with emphasis on propriety in most adult situations and very rigidly defined patterns of speech to give the proper deference to superiors. Their religions are different from most of the ones I encounter in my daily life - while I find them equally unbelievable, it's a pleasant change in many respects. And some of the foods that we consider delicacies are just average meals there, and vice versa. I'm not sure how well I'd be able to get by long-term in Japan, but it would be neat to spend some time there and experience a bit of the culture firsthand.
I really need to get back to studying Japanese properly, rather than just watching lots of anime.