Looking for some wholesome fun in Japan? See if you can locate a kiddy fishing place in your area — they’re called tsuribori 釣り堀 in Japanese. Not actually fishing koi — they’re goldfish.
This activity is family oriented. You’ll pay a fee to be able to fish for a set amount of time and you’ll be given a simple fishing rod and some bait.
The bait is made out of gluten. You pinch some off, roll it into a ball, and stick it on your hook. You’ll have a bucket with water inside next to you where you put the fish you have caught. At the end of your time staff will come by, count your fish, and likely ask you to select a cheap carnival prize as a gift. The fish are returned to the tank to be fished up again by an eager kiddo or his parents.
The environment is wholesome and fun, as customers will cheer each other on and it’s generally a good time.
The same shops often sell koi as their main business. In Japan you’ll often see beautiful koi in Japanese gardens. These fish can cost anywhere from 1000 yen (about $10) USD to $10,000 USD per fish! Koi can easily live 25-35 years (the oldest lived 226 years!) so raising them is a professional business.
If you’re in Japan with random time to burn, give tsuribori a shot! Might be fun!
Clubhouse can be a great tool for language learners. You can find clubs where people are casually speaking your target language, and you can find rooms that are set up to actively help people learn the language. Here are some Japanese-language clubs that I have found to be entertaining and useful.
Note, Clubhouse is still invite only, but most people have tons of invites. If you want to join and need an invite let me know your Twitter handle and I will hook you up.
This club has talented native Japanese speakers reading traditional Japanese folk tales. As many Japanese Folk Tales are very old, thus in the public domain, if you look you can probably find the text online to read along yourself.
J-E Translator’s Club
The J-E Translator’s Club is just a bunch of people in the J-E translation industry chatting about translation. Most of the people who join are native Japanese speakers. They discuss interesting things on occasion. One time I heard that apparently in Japanese when you make a good shot in basketball someone may say ナイスシュート but in golf they would say ナイスショット. In English, we say “nice shot” for both.
This club is a bunch of Japanese, many of whom are Japanese teachers, who gather to speak about teaching Japanese online, and invite Japanese learners to practice their Japanese with them. They are all very generous and patient.
ENJOY 日本語発音 CLUB
The title of this club is to enjoy Japanese pronunciation. In reality, sometimes the teacher does a reading from a text. Sometimes the “students” in the room talk about some topic in Japanese. Something that alway happens though, is that the host goes around the room and asks everyone to contribute something.
This club is a straight up teacher-led Japanese lesson. The teacher is @mrmonaka and he speaks carefully and slowly the first time through the lessons. He really is a professional, and sometimes I wonder why people take the time to run these lessons. I guess it’s for the love of the game. He works from a textbook, and will ask the audience to read along with him. Probably the most structured Clubhouse-based Japanese lesson I have mentioned on this page.
From what I have gathered, this club is just a bunch of people speaking Kansai-ben together. They love it when others from western Japan join and chat with them, and they welcome foreigners who are interested in Kansai dialect for any reason. I enjoy listening in on this one, even though they do not discuss any topic in particular.
That’s a wrap! Clubhouse really is a great too for language learners. You can pop into a room of people discussing whatever in your target language, and just hang out. It’s good stuff. Try it out, might be fun!
The Nintendo Switch is region free, and many (not all) games, including Monster Hunter Rise, have the full Japanese text and audio available in the U.S. release of the game. No need to import from Japan! This is an amazing resource for gamers who are learning Japanese. Here’s my latest grab!
Romaji: mou shuuhen wa tenya wanya!
てんやわんや is a very fun, sort of old sounding expression that means that everything is topsy-turvy, chaotic, upside down and hectic. The word 周辺 just means this area, or “around here,” and もう technically means “already.” The friendly dango seller is just saying that “things are so crazy and hectic around here! (Because a Osaizuchi has appeared around the shrine ruins .)
Another note on Monster Hunter Rise, in this version of Monster Hunter you can play with anyone worldwide. The previous Nintendo release of Monster Hunter, MH Generations and MH XX, were separate games so if you bought your game in the US it was only English and you couldn’t play with players in Japan. In Monster Hunter Rise lobby creators have an option to restrict their lobbies to people from the same “language” — which seems to really mean which country’s Nintendo Online subscription the person is on. Oh Japan… linking language with country again as if it is a worldwide phenomenon… But I digress. Enjoy playing international Monster Hunter!
Time for another language pick up from a Nintendo Switch game! This time it’s from GNOSIA, the single-player social deduction game modeled after the popular social game Werewolf.
Romaji: buta ni shinjyu tte yatsu ni naranakya ii kedo ne
豚に真珠 (buta ni shinjyu) might be one of the first Japanese proverbs that a student of the Japanese language will learn. However, to see it in the wild is a rare treat so I made sure to grab this screen shot.
The expression is often translated as “pearl before pig,” and means to give a pearl to a pig. The meaning comes from the thought, what would a pig do with something as valuable as a pearl even if you gave it to it? The pearl is such a great thing, but in the pig’s hands it becomes useless — the pig does not understand its value. Kind of like if you gave me the greatest sashimi knife ever created… I don’t know how to prepare sushi, I don’t know anything about the value or quality of knives, so what would I do with it?
The later half of the sentence, ってことにならなきゃいいけどね can be broken down as… ってことis referring to the preceding 豚に真珠 pointing to it as the topic. にならなきゃ is short form of にならなければwhich is “if it doesn’t become that.” And finally, いいけどね “would be good.” So, the character is saying something like, “well it would be great if this doesn’t become a pearl before pig sort of situation…” The previous sentence is talking about how one of the other characters has a special ability of being an engineer in the game… and the character speaking is doubting their ability. That’s too much game mechanics to explain here though.
Good stuff! I really enjoyed this game. If you’re looking for a classically structured JRPG to play on your Switch, I can confidently recommend this one. It’s not a game you’re likely to sit down and play for an hour in one sitting, but it’s great in short bursts!
Remember, if you want to play this game in Japanese you have to get it on the Japanese eShop. The US eShop version of Gnosia does NOT have the Japanese text available, so if you want to play this in Japanese you’ll need to get the Japanese version. A lot of games for the Switch are truly region free and will switch languages based on your system settings, but Gnosia, unfortunately, isn’t one of them.
Check my Twitter account @Japannewbie for more occasional Japanese language tidbits from games.
Okonomiyaki is a staple food in Osaka. You can buy it any of the countless okonomiyaki shops, and most families have tried and true home recipes that they have used for years.
The whole point of okonomiyaki is that you can put pretty much whatever you want inside. The Japanese word “okonomi” お好み means “as you like,” and that’s where the name comes from. I’ve seen okonomiyaki stores that allow you to insert mochi (rice cake), cheese, egg, as well as the usual stuff. Different regions of Japan are known for doing different things, like Hiroshima is famous for stuffing noodles inside of their okonomiyaki.
This was a homemade creation at my Kansai family’s home.
What’s the most surprising thing you have seen in an Okonomiyaki?
The Nintendo Switch is region free, and many (not all) games, including Octopath Traveler, have the full Japanese text and audio available in the U.S. release of the game. No need to import from Japan! This is an amazing resource for gamers who are learning Japanese. Here’s my latest grab!
Romaji: hito kuse futa kuse aru
It seems this is usually 一癖も二癖もある hito kuse mo futa kuse mo aru and means a person with a very unusual and quirky personality, normally used in a negative context.
There’s actually a lot of good Japanese in this screenshot. You’ll see the speaker is labeled as 客引き kyakuhiki which is often translated as a ‘tout’ but is basically someone who works to attract customers to buy their products, usually by calling out to them.
突如 totsujyo means ‘suddenly’, and isn’t a phrase I was familiar with.
連中 renchuu is a somewhat casual way to refer to a person or a group of people. It’s often used in a slightly negative context, but not always.
Good stuff! I really enjoyed this game. If you’re looking for a classically structured JRPG to play on your Switch, I can confidently recommend this one.
Check my Twitter account @Japannewbie for more occasional Japanese language tidbits from games.
I am not a Monster Hunter expert by any means, but I have attempted to introduce many friends to the game. The action-packed epic battles, the nerdy customization, the cool aesthetic… and it’s multiplayer so I want people to play it with! Here are some answers to common questions I get about this somewhat obtuse game that I love so much.
What do I do with all these items???
You’ll collect dozens (dozens!) of items during your quests that will end up sitting in your supply box. Now what? The answer is that you let them sit there until you need them.
When it comes to many items, you won’t even know what they are for, or why you have them. Random monster fur? What’s that do? Eventually, you will need these to craft some armor, a weapon, or some other item to help you with a hunt. You do not need to consider selling off all your random items for money. In this game, money will rarely be the obstacle preventing you from getting what you need, but rare items are hard to come by! Hang on to your items and you’ll be thankful later when you’re off to craft new gear!
The quest is to hunt this monster, but there are so many other monsters on the map too, what do I do about them?
Your goal is to complete the main quest goal. If you don’t complete that goal in the allotted time then your quest will fail and most of your progress for that time will be lost.
So what about the other monsters? In short, if you have the time, you can hunt and carve them for items. That’s it. Nothing else that you do to them will count for anything. So either ignore them, or take them out and get the loot.
Which weapon should I use?
It may help to think of Monster Hunter as a game like Street Fighter. They are both made by Capcom after all. In Street Fighter when you change your character your entire move set changes, and the strategy that you use to win should also change. Monster Hunter is like that in regards to weapons. Each weapon will dramatically change what the buttons do and how you play the game.
For example, with the long sword you get relatively close and slice and dice. A meter builds up and you can unleash a power attack. With the bow you stay back at a distance and try to line up power shots whenever possible. You’ll press and hold a button to charge up a shot. You also need to have coatings, that can make your arrows poison tipped or explosive, and you’ll change them on the fly in the field.
There is no right answer to which weapon one should use. They are all competitive and it’s up to you to decide which you enjoy the most. For something not as fiddly, try the hammer or long sword. For something more technical, try one of the bows or gunlance. The possibilities are endless!
The menu maze is endless… what do I do with a ll these gestures and the camera and poses and fixed phrases and stuff?
You don’t need to do anything with them. It’s just for fun. Worry about it later!
Fandom Regalia is a company in Toronto that makes high-quality jewelry around geek themes ranging from Mario to Star Trek. I have started a small collection of sterling silver charms for my keychain. The stuff at Fandom Regalia is mainly meant for necklaces, but I’ll do me you do you.
They have many attractive items. As someone who likes video games in particular, I was interested in the Mario Mushroom, the Zelda Boss Key, and the Mario Boo. I ended up going with the Large Zelda Boss Key, mainly because it is a larger size, and it is double-sided while many of the other designs have a flat back. It’s also one of those icons where, if ya know ya know — while if you don’t know, it still looks interesting.
Ordering was easy and shipping was quick. When arrived it was more detailed than I had imagined. It was also smaller than I imagined, but that’s just silly because the measurements are on the website, and I checked them against a ruler before I ordered. Rest assured it’s sized as documented! The other charms that I have on my keychain are all larger, so it just looks small in comparison. If a double-sized XL Boss Key were ever created, I think I would jump on that.
Der Clou: Roll & Heist is a solo or cooperative print and play roll and write board game. That was a mouthful. All you need to play is to print out a few files, a pencil, and three six-sided dice.
BoardGameGeek.com rates this game highly. It’s definitely worth a look, especially since it’s free!
To put it simply, in this game you will find yourself rolling dice, and deciding how to use the values to carry out a heist. Get as much loot as you can to maximize your score before you run out of time and set off the alarms. There are different characters and character sheets, and different scenarios which adds to the replayability.
Here’s a thorough review by someone who has played the game several times.
I did not know the term zubutoi before encountering it here. This term can be used to both praise and criticize. It refers to someone who is bold and self-confident in their actions, not caring too much about what others may think of them. This person remains calm, cool, and collected, thus you’ll often see the word 平然 (heizen) used in the definition of zubutoi. You can probably understand why this could be taken in a negative sense in Japan, where society often drives individuals to think about how their actions might be taken by the entire group.
Fire Emblem Three Houses is FILLED with advanced Japanese phrases and vocabulary. The game is entirely voiced, and you can replay any dialog you want as long as you don’t leave the dialog sequence. The Nintendo Switch is region free, and many (not all) games, including Fire Emblem, have the full Japanese text and audio available in the U.S. release of the game. No need to import from Japan! This is an amazing resource for gamers who are learning Japanese. Look forward to more. This game is the gift that keeps on giving.