Go! Go! Nippon!

Go! Go! Nippon!

Difficulty:  ☠

Rating:  ✫ ✫ ✫ ✫

Yes, I have a dating sim on here… Go write your own review if you’re gonna judge!

This one was suggested to me a number of times but I could never take it seriously. Then I finally gave in and bought it on sale, and I am definitely thankful I did.

Go! Go! Nippon! is a tourist information brochure for Japan disguised as an average trope filled anime show. You play as a foreign guy who gets to experience his first trip to Japan and is doing a homestay at the house of two guys he met in a chat room while learning Japanese. Only it turns out it is not two guys, but in fact two girls, who do their best to show him the best sights in his 6 days visit as they can.

Storywise, it’s okay. You do have some shoehorned tropes, but it is pretty clean and cute. The ending will change based on which types of locations you visit the most (I am not sure what happens if you tie them between the two sisters…) and the endings do have a bit of an “aww” factor.

BUT ON TO THE EDUCATIONAL STUFF!

*ahem*

One of the coolest parts of this game that I hadn’t learned until recently, is that they keep re-releasing it every year, adding in new and updated information based on the current state of Japan. I jumped from the original 2014 version to the 2016 version and found it really interesting just how much more info they have managed to cram in.

If you are about to go to Japan yourself, this game has all the info you will ever need. From how to buy train tickets, to cell phone usage, to cultural traits, to historical sights, to best foods, to local tricks, and more! It even has the option to set the current exchange rate between your country’s dollar and the yen at the beginning of the game so it can track your in game purchases and show you the price of meals, travel, etc.

If you’ve made it this far in studying Japanese and somehow still manage to hate anime for all that it is… maybe just buy a lonely planet book…. but if you like anime and love Japan, give it a try! It’s pretty fun and you learn so much!

Tofugu

Tofugu

Difficulty:  ☠ ☠

Rating:  ✫ ✫ ✫ ✫

Tofugu is a (relatively tongue in cheek) blog which covers a variety of topics for people interested in Japanese or Japan. Run by some enjoyably geeky people, you can enjoy reading posts, resources, or my personal favourite, get a weekly message from them with a list of their top Japanese-y things they’ve enjoyed this week.

They’re enjoyable, informational, and well written. Not much else to say other than look them up!

Erin’s Challenge: Japan Foundation

Erin’s Challenge: Japan Foundation

Difficulty:  ☠ ☠

Rating:  ✫ ✫ ✫

Erin’s Challenge is a short video series describing the adventures of a high school transfer student who comes to Japan. The acting is okay. Ironically I find the side characters to be my favourites. It is also interesting how while the basic lessons follow Erin, the advanced lesson’s follow Erin’s Japanese friends during the same time line. (AKA Lesson 1 basic happens at the same time as Lesson 1 Advanced though with different people)

There is also a pretty advanced subtitle version so you follow along with subtitles in Romaji, English, Kana, or Kanji. Reading while listening does help a lot so I highly suggest it!

Finally there is a cute feature added on where for the basic lessons there is an animated manga version of each episode that I had to admit was pretty enjoyable to read. I kind of wish they had it for the Advanced version as well!

There is not really much else to say about the site. It has flashcards, and a few other standard features. But at the same time I found it pretty enjoyable! Give it a shot if you have an afternoon!

Japanese the Manga Way (Wayne P Lammers)

Japanese the Manga Way (Wayne P Lammers)

Difficulty:  ☠ ☠

Rating:  ✫ ✫ ✫ ✫ ✫

This is one of my most recent textbooks I have gotten my hands on and it… is… brilliant! Let’s admit it, a good 80-90% of people who will be reading a post like this probably have SOME ties at least to manga and anime. IT IS TIME TO CHANNEL YOUR INNER NERDOM…. TO HELP YOUR BIGGER INNER NERDOM!!!

As for what I like about this book. The concept is actually incredibly simple… It simply will explain one example, then show a scene from some famous manga using said example. It will write out the scene in kanji, kana, romaji, direct translation, and complete translation, then it will explain what was said and why. It then takes the things you’ve learned from that lesson and build on that for the next lesson.

Ultimately it is simple. Each chapter has multiple examples which are each about half a page long, yet because it is so broken up and instantly tied to an example, it is by far one of the easiest textbooks to follow.

The book starts you from zero and works it’s way up, however I would suggest at least getting the basics of Japanese sentences down before taking this book on. A) it will make the textbook more enjoyable to you and B) this book focuses a lot more on casual sentences than polite sentences. It does explain this fact and does a very good job tracking with what politeness level is being used in what sentences, but I do still feel you would get a lot more out of it once you have some basics of Japanese culture and sentence structure down. Plus it will be more fun!