Learning Japanese pt. 1 [My Story]

There’s one question that’s bound to come up over and over again on any forum or website dedicated to learning Japanese:

“How did you learn Japanese?”

or perhaps just:

“How should I learn Japanese?”

…Or a variation of the above.

It’s not surprising – after all, learning a new language is a huge task and many people have no idea how or where to even begin, especially if they have never learned a foreign language before. That’s why, I figured I’d give answering this question a shot. This is going to be a multi-part post, and the first one is a summary of how I’ve learned Japanese up to this point.

Note that this is 100% my experience. What it means is that you might try some of the stuff that worked for me and find out that it doesn’t work for you. You might try stuff that didn’t work for me and realize it’s a great fit for you. My way is not the only true way of learning the language – there’s no such thing as one, “right” way of learning a new language. There’s only what works for you and what doesn’t, which you’re going to have to find out through trial and error.

So, with all of this out of the way, let’s get started.


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The Import Report -Ace Attorney and more otome games!

I liiiiiive!

The end of December was the perfect storm of Christmas preparations and health issues, which made it hard to sit down and focus enough to write a blog post. That said, we’re over two weeks into 2017 now and I decided that it was time to finally get my butt in gear… And by that I mean that I’ve recently discovered the joys of ordering stuff from Amazon JP and figured I might as well make a post about it.

I have a feeling that at this rate, soon, the delivery guy will know me better than my family.

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LocJam – Let’s Translate a Japanese Game!

Here we have something I found on complete accident while browsing the internet.

LocJam is an international game localization contest. The objective is to translate a short, simple game (entitled Ikinari no Maou) from Japanese into English. It’s around 4000 characters, translateable in a day.

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The game text isn’t terribly complicated. The grammar is easy and it’s written almost entirely in kana. The objective here isn’t really in simply understanding the Japanese text, though, but rather in rendering it in clean, understandable English.

The competition runs until December 25th. I’m, sadly, I a bit slow on the uptake, as I’ve only found out about it today. Still, I figured I might as well give it a shot, though I don’t think I have a great chance at winning. I’m not even a native English speaker after all!

The participants will be judged by a jury of professional translators. Among them sits Clyde Mandelin (of Legends of Localization fame) whom I’m a big fan of, so needless to say, I’m pretty pumped about this!

As for the prizes, you can win a Famicom Mini. It’s a pretty small prize, but clearly, the prize is not the important thing here. I had no idea such a contest even existed, and I’m so happy I found out about it, I think it’s an amazing idea!


If any of you have decided to participate upon reading this: feel free to let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear about your experiences.

How I Play Video Games in Japanese

With Pokemon Sun and Moon already out in Japan and the US (at the time of writing this post, my fellow Europeans still have to wait a few days, sorry;;) I’m sure some of you will want to make use of one of the game’s best features – the ability to play it in multiple languages – to brush up on your Japanese skills.

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Or one of the other languages for that matter, but this is a blog dedicated to Japanese games, after all…

Anyway, if you’re not proficient with the language yet chances are you’re gonna run into quite a few new words during your Pokemon adventure. I know, I had to look up so much stuff back when I tried playing Pokemon Y in Japanese two years ago. Pokemon games, despite being quite beginner-friendly, are still written with native speakers in mind, after all.

Of course, stopping to look up unknown words can get quite annoying, especially in Japanese, where just inputting the word into an electronic dictionary can be tricky, if it’s written in kanji you haven’t learned yet. Over time, I’ve developed a way to make this as unobtrusive as possible for myself.

Of course it also gets easier as you understand more and have to look up less and less, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Naturally, all of the stuff here is applicable not only to Pokemon, but any game, or reading just about anything that doesn’t come in a form you can copy-and-paste.

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Playing Japanese games on EU/US 3DS – a guide

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Nintendo’s latest handheld system is region-locked. Say you’re learning Japanese and you want to play some 3DS games to practice the language – unfortunately, importing a 3DS from Japan isn’t exactly cheap and chances are you already have an EU or USA-region console that you don’t want to part with.

Fortunately, not all hope is lost! There are still ways to play some games in Japanese on your system.

(I mean legitimately – if you want to learn more about hacking your device, you’ll have to look elsewhere.)


Pokemon games

As many of you might already be aware, in the 3DS Pokemon games (that is Pokemon X/Y as well as Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire), you can pick the language you want to use before you start the game and yes, Japanese is one of these choices. Note that you can’t change your language afterwards, unless you wipe your save and start fresh, so no switching back into English mid-way. That might actually prove to be helpful, though, as it ensures you won’t wimp out, because reading Japanese is haaard.

You can also switch between hiragana-only and kanji modes in-game, so you can play even if you’re not feeling too confident in your kanji-reading abilities yet.

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Import Report – Soma Bringer and Tales of Hearts DS

…AKA “Take the internet away from me, or else I’ll end up impulse-buying games at 3AM.”

Anyway. Are you ready to hear another story about me and my gaming history?


The time when I first got my Nintendo DS was a quite magical. It was my first gaming system period. It was a new dimension of gaming for me. I set off for a search of games I wanted to play. Everything was fresh, new and exciting. While nowadays I usually turn towards well known, critically-acclaimed titles, I didn’t have similar reservations back then.

…Partially because I buy my games now, while back then I mostly acquired them by… less legal means.

Also, I didn’t know Japanese back then. So in my search, I ran into quite a few titles that basically made the Western fanbase go: “Why didn’t they bring these over here?” I also remember looking at these games wistfully, wishing I could play them. That was six or seven years ago…

And today I’ve got two of these games right here.

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The Otome Corner – Code:Realize ~Blessed Future~

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Seems like it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these…

So, I don’t think there’s a single English-speaking otome fan out there that hasn’t heard of Code:Realize. It’s generally considered one of the best if not the best out of otome games currently available in English, and out of all the games I’ve played this year, it’s also been one of my favorites.

Now, the fandisk for Code:Realize (with the subtitle Shukufuku no Mirai, AKA “Blessed Future”) is coming out next month, so I thought I’d translate the info from the official website, to celebrate this.

By the way, if you don’t read Japanese, don’t worry about never getting to play this – from what I’ve heard, Aksys Games have announced that they’re going to localize this fandisk. There’s no Western release date yet, though.

As usual, all of the info comes from the official website. If you’d like to find out more about the first game, you can do so here (website is in English).

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The Import Report – Collar x Malice and some talk about otome games in general

If you’ve taken a look at my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I made a lot of posts about a game called Collar x Malice. Yeah, I was really hyped about it. Part of why I created this blog in the first place was because I needed somewhere I could put up my translations for it.

Anyway, the game came out well over a month ago, I got it, I’ve completed it, I’m going to talk about it now. But first, I’d like to tell you a story about how the hell I got so obsessed with otome games in the first place.

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