Yeah, translating Japanese isn't exactly the easiest thing one can undertake
I've actually been interested in the Japanese writing system for a while, and once took the time to learn some of the Chinese characters (kanji, as you might know). Lerned ten a day, just to see what I was getting myself into. I can still recognise about 40 to 50 of the things. Needless to say, I'll have to think long and hard about picking it up seriously.
But how come you couldn't find a teacher?