Tonda Gossa!

… Yeah, sorry, I’ve been playing too much Mother 3, and the only reason I’m not playing it now is that I’m scared of Tanetane Island. Games count for the tadoku contest but not for my weekly word count, meaning that I’m only up to 284,926 words this Friday. That’s just 14,900 words more than last week, meaning I fell well short of my mark. (I also wrote up that blog post about 心の絵本, and I’ve been writing another post about extensive reading and vocabulary acquisition that hasn’t yet reached manifesto length but is threatening to. So I haven’t been slacking too much.) Well, that’s OK, I’m on hiatus next week, and you can probably guess what that means…

I do have one mildly interesting tadoku-related experience to relate. One of the books I read was an adaptation of 若草物語, or Little Women. It was level 4 by my system, 141 pages and about 6,000 words. And I decided, after I read it, that a book like that sort of falls into the Uncanny Valley of literature. Halfway through, I remembered that I had a short, level 3, 900-word picture book adaptation of 若草物語 that I had never read, and I pulled it out and read it halfway through my progress with the longer one. I enjoyed that shorter one so much more, because it didn’t pretend to be anything but a very basic introduction to what the book might be like in Japanese. The longer one, however, felt like it was trying to be a proper book, and because I know what that proper book actually feels like, it was so tedious. (All the more so because nothing interesting actually happens in Little Women — all of the fun stuff is in “Good Wives.”) So yeah, beware of adaptations, if you’re at the point where just being able to finish a book isn’t a huge motivator in and of itself anymore!

By the way, one of my notes is titled “Kanji that look like Space Invaders” and I don’t think I’m ever going to make a proper post out of it, so…

龠 龠 龠 龠 龠 龠 龠 龠 龠 龠 龠
鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎
鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎 鼎
黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌
黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌 黌

  鬥      鬥      鬥      鬥

Other possible invaders: 黹, 鬻, 鬧… any more? And any suggestions for the UFO?


8 Responses to Weekly update #13: A so-so week for reading

  1. kanjiguy says:

    I always thought that 帯 or 滞 looked like an alien or something heh. The kanji invaders thing at the bottom is pretty cool though. Could be an idea for a kanji learning game or something ;)

  2. Liana says:

    Haha, the only reason I am at all familiar with any of these is because I have a weakness for playing around with

    I can totally see 帯 as an alien though. Even more so because it’s part of 帝国… invading alien empire, oh no!

  3. What would you say the reading level is for Mother 3? Is there furigana?

    I’ve been looking for some Japanese language games that have hiragana, and relatively simple vocabulary, so that I don’t have to keep looking up kanji as I play.

  4. Liana says:

    I’ve only personally seen furigana used in one game (はじまりのもり for the Super Famicom) and even then only for a few compounds, I think. (It may be part of other games, but none I’ve played.) Mother 3 (and Mother 2 / Earthbound) were both written all in hiragana and katakana, which I’ve read was done to encourage players to read the dialogue aloud. I think there are parts of Mother 3 that are easy to understand and parts that are rather complex, or jokes of some sort, so it’s not a simple game just because it has no kanji. But it’s not too hard overall, either — my guess is that if you’re at, say, a third or fourth grade reading level, it should be no problem to understand and enjoy most of it. However, I’ve also played it in English, and that can’t help but color my understanding of it in Japanese; it’s hard to say how difficult it would be if I had never played it before. It’s a strange game sometimes, and I think I might have doubted my own understanding if I didn’t have memories of the English version to back it up.

    I don’t know how much of my site you’ve read, but I spent way too long playing video games above my level and really don’t recommend it as a vocabulary building method ^^;; But there were some that were more helpful than others. I liked really repetitive games — I blush to admit this, but dating sims were fairly useful, because they’re so extremely repetitive and because they bring an emotional context that made it easier for me to remember words. I played a lot of Tokimeki Memorial and Angelique on the SNES and Seirei Gakuen on the GBA. Also, it seems to me like a lot of GBA games were at a fairly low level and repetitive — I liked こいぬちゃんのはじめてのおさんぽ (a cute dog care sim) and グルメキッチン〜すてきなお弁当 (dunno how to describe this game, but I sure enjoyed it — you talk with people and get recipes, do little mini-games then put together a lunchbox). For the SFC, I loved はじまりのもり, which was a sort of text-based adventure game pitched to younger players. (Not repetitive, and not even really all that simple, but an amazing game.)

    In any case, even games that don’t have a lot of kanji still rely on a huge base of fundamental words, and because I lacked that base even the easy ones were too hard for me. That is to say, I can’t think of any that consistently had simple vocabulary. I’d peg even the easy ones I played at a third or fourth grade reading level; around level 4 by the book evaluation system I use, although it’s kind of hard to apply it to games. I will say, having learned what it’s like to read fluently, I’m not satisfied anymore with trying to decode a game, and I’d rather wait until I can enjoy it.

    So I’m an advocate of tadoku even over easy games, but it’s all pretty much just my opinion and I have no idea how far along you are, so YMMV. Of the games I’ve played, the ones that stick out as being easyish but fun were 星鈴学園, こいぬちゃんのはじめてのおさんぽ, グルメキッチン〜すてきなお弁当 and はじまりのもり; Mother 3 is also probably worth a look. See how they stack up to your idea of “easy,” and let me know what you think, or if you find any particularly good ones!

  5. Thanks for all the suggested games. I’ve downloaded Mother 2, and am giving that a shot. はじまりのもり looks interesting as well.

    I was doing the SRS/flashcard thing for a while with Kanji and sentences. Now I’m kind of bored of that, and am looking for Japanese activities that don’t feel like a chore so much.

    Tadoku sounds like an cool idea. I think I kind of did that by accident before when I read through Yotsuba, but after I finished that, I didn’t have any other reading materials targeted towards kids.

    It sounds like the SPL has a bunch of good books though? I’ll check that out.

    Thanks for putting all these lists up, they are pretty useful.

  6. Liana says:

    Oh, wow! If you’re in Seattle, by all means check out the SPL (both the central library and international branch have a good amount of Japanese children’s books, haven’t been to any other branches) but go to Nikkei Bunko the first chance you get:
    They have shelves and shelves of children’s books (many more than there are at the SPL) as well as manga and audiobooks, and the volunteers Nara and Bruce are very welcoming and sweet. $5 for a library card; officially you can take out five books at a time, but the first time I was there they said “oh, you can take out more than that” and I have been rather pushing the limits of their hospitality ever since ^^;;
    If you’re at all interested in tadoku (which I do understand maybe might not be to everyone’s taste, but for me at least it’s never been a chore), Nikkei Bunko would ensure that you never run out of material. At least I haven’t yet ^^ If the SPL has an advantage, I think it’s that they have more newer books, but there’s no harm in checking out both places.

    That reminds me that I have to post the reviews of the books from there that I’ve been reading this month… and add ratings, I never did get around to doing that for any of them.

    I’ve actually never played Mother 2 in Japanese, though I’ve played Earthbound a couple of times — I was thinking I’d play that one next, actually, I’m about 45 minutes in but may or may not pick it back up.

  7. Awesome, I had no idea there was something like nikkei bunko in Seattle. Really, I feel lucky to live here, as we’ve also got the Kinokuniya and a fair amount of native speakers.

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