any other East Asian language influenced by Chinese like this
There are no more.
Manchu has some Chinese influence but it was never written with sinographs & it's practically extinct now anyway.
If you consider Ryukyuan languages to be separate from Japanese they could be one. Though I mainly just said that in case I was missing anything.
Maybe I'd feel differently about Japanese if I knew some Chinese characters first, hmm.
Well, I would advise anyone attempting to learn Japanese to learn at least the 1,945 jōyō kanji
(jp:常用漢字; "habitual use sinographs") first, before even learning kana
. Knowing those kanji
gives you a solid foundation for learning the actual language itself.
Nah, I think learning kana first would be better, because a lot of dictionaries etc only show the reading in kana anyways, and if they romanize it you don't know which romanization system they used, which might be a little confusing.
The Japanese class I went to didn't even teach kanji for first year students. I think that was a big mistake, but I don't think you should go and teach kanji before kana.
Well, I would advise anyone attempting to learn Japanese to learn at least the 1,945 jōyō kanji (jp:常用漢字; "habitual use sinographs") first, before even learning kana. Knowing those kanji gives you a solid foundation for learning the actual language itself.
I would study those but learn kana first, because it's simpler and might give me a) some idea of how to read Japanese and b) practice with the stroke rules and so on of kanji.
Also, take a good note of the stroke order. Especially when you are new to kanji, make sure you find a resource that tells you the exact stroke order for the characters you are learning and to stick with that stroke order. Most of the time they go from top to bottom left to right, but there are exceptions, and these will get you. I found out months later that I had been writing some characters with the wrong strokes; I switched, and after a while it was much more comfortable.
Though some characters have multiple acceptable stroke orders. You can do whatever you want for those I guess. But not many in Japanese. At least I can't think of one off the top of my head.