I've been playing imports for about 15 years or so now.
(looks at above sentence) Eek. I'm getting old.
To put it in perspective, my first gaming experience was the MSX system, as it was wildly popular in the Netherlands (thanks to Philips, which I think you know as Magnavox or something in the US, who produced a large number of MSX systems), and since official support dried out rather quickly and the scene in those days was pretty solid, a lot of people started importing games (mostly RPGS, funnily enough) from Japan and due to easy copying, everybody got their hands on it. My first real RPG experience was Ys, closely followed by Xak, and I've never been able to let go of those series up until now, especially Ys.
As the scene started to dwindle, people begun to take their imported Super Famicoms and Mega Drives to meetings and fairs, and when I saw a Japanese copy of Gradius III on sale there, I was sold and bought it. Ever since then, I've been modding and/or importing my consoles and games (if not from Japan then from the US if only for the ability to play games at 60Hz), and it's gotten seriously out of hand after I went to Japan and picked up a Dreamcast, Saturn and Duo.
I now stand before you with too many modded and imported consoles, cobbled-together hookups and power converters, and many games I still cannot fully comprehend despite my learning the language for 5 years.
Damn those imports. Damn them to hell.