I have a question for you guys. I noticed that my kana was pretty ugly, but since starting on kanji it's much more pronounced. I noticed that when I write the characters normally (the way I write in English) they're most ugly. But when I don't write like English, but more stroke (just noticed the significance of this word) as if with a paintbrush they look much better. I've never seen anyone write in Japanese before, so is it more of a flicking/stroking thing or is writing "normally" the way it's done in Japan?
Well, everyday handwriting is pretty much the same nowadays with both languages, so I guess that answer to your questions is yes, writing "normally" is fine in Japan. However, it is true that in primary school students are taught calligraphy, and this has actually has a profound effect on one's writing, distinguishing it from the much more awkward strokes of someone picking up the language for the first time. Foreign learners tend to over-exagerrate their strokes and their handwriting can sometimes be criticized as being too "blocky" due to the nature of the letters in the English alphabet. However, this can easily be corrected through practice, and in the end just remind yourself to follow stroke order and write so that your strokes feel natural.
You say that using stroking motions makes your Japanese handwriting better than if you write "normally" like you do in English. In Japan you could say that the way they are used to writing may feel like strokes to you, but "normal" to them. Of course, writing with a pen/pencil is obviously not the same as a brush pen (not paintbrush!).