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Japanese Lesson from Games: 九死に一生を得る a proverb for a narrow escape!

The Nintendo Switch is region free, and many (not all) games, including Xenoblade Chronicles HD, 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!

kyuushi ni isshou wo eru
Kyuushi ni Isshou wo eta kibun da

Japanese: ありがとう。九死に一生を得た気分だ。

Romaji: arigatou. kyuushi ni isshou wo eta kibun da.

English: Thank you. I feel like I just barely escaped certain death.

九死に一生を得る。This is a proverb that means to somehow survive a situation that was so harrowing, it was as if it only had a 1 in 10 chance of survival. This phrase is used when you find yourself in a dangerous situation that you think there is no way that you could possible escape, but some how end up making it out. The literal way to understand the language is, (out of 10 attempts) there are 9 death and one who comes out alive.

Xenoblade Chronicles doesn’t have the cool audio replay features that Fire Emblem Three Houses has, but it has great cut scenes with quality Japanese audio and text to learn from. The game is also epic. Check it out!

I tweeted this as well! Check my Twitter account @Japannewbie for more occasional Japanese language tidbits from games.

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Japanese Lesson from Games: 人の上に立つ者

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!

Octopath Traveler - hito no ue ni tatsu mono
Octopath Traveler – hito no ue ni tatsu mono

Kanji: 人の上に立つ者

Romaji: ひとのうえにたつもの

English: To lead. A leader. Literally, to stand over others.

This phrase is often used in work situation to describe someone who managers others. In this scene H’aanit (my favorite character) is musing that about a leader’s preparedness 覚悟 and determination 決意.

人の上 is “over people.” に is a particle. And 立つ is “to stand.” 者 is the object here, and indicates a person.

I came across this page on 新R25 when I was researching this phrase. The article is titled 「人の上に立つ」なんて性根が腐っていて気持ち悪い。これからのリーダーは“円を描ける人”だ which roughly translates into, “The phrase ‘to stand over others as a leader’ has a rotten character and feels disgusting. Leaders should be “people who can draw a circle” from now on. In his article he claims that people are people, no one is above or below the other. He says that we should do away with a pyramid structure way of thinking, and use a circle as the base instead. He then goes on to say that new leaders should play more of a captain role. There are many instances of the 人の上に立つ者 phrase throughout the article if you want more context for your Japanese learning!

I tweeted this as well! Check my Twitter account @Japannewbie for more occasional Japanese language tidbits from games.

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Japanese Lesson from Games: Wasn’t Even Human

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!

Octopath Traveler - ore wa hito de wa nakatta...
ore wa hito de wa nakatta… 俺は人ではなかった…

Japanese: 俺は人ではなかった

Hiragana: おれはひとではなった

English: I wasn’t even human.

Romaji: ore ha hito deha nakatta

A more literal linguistic translation would be “I wasn’t even a person,” because the literal translation of “human” in Japanese is 人間 ningen.

This Japanese phrase has the same intention and feel as when we say, “he’s not even human” in English. The character is remembering his past deeds and saying that they were so heinous, that he wasn’t displaying human decency and so doesn’t even deserve the label of being called a human being.

There are cases where the Japanese language will use the more literal term 人間 in this sense of value as a person. Notably, in the title of the famous book Ningen Shikkaku by Dazai Osamu, which is translated to No Longer Human. (人間失格 Wikipedia) (The full text of Ningen Shikkaku on Aozora Bunko)

By the way, the English localization that appears in the game says “No, I wasn’t even human.” Thanks to underbuffed.com for making this English video available. I’d never play a long game like Octopath Traveler twice to try to capture both the English and Japanese lines, so I’m thankful the folks at underbuffed have documented this so I can compare.

Octopath - I wasn't even human
Octopath – I wasn’t even human [Via Underbuffed.com]

Enjoy!

Links:

Underbuffed.com: Again with Alaic – https://underbuffed.com/octopath-traveler-again-with-alaic/ – Underbuffed.com has a huge repository of Octopath Traveler side quest details. I never would have finished all the side quests without it.

Spoilers, but this includes the scene this language is from.

Check my Twitter account @Japannewbie for more occasional Japanese language tidbits from games.

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Japanese Lesson from Games: てんやわや

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!

もう周辺はてんやわんや!

Japanese: もう周辺はてんやわんや!

Hiragana: もうしゅうへんはてんやわんや!

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!

Let’s find some tenyawanya in the wild!

Here is a movie from the 1950s called Tenyawanya.

てんやわんや」from 1950
Shizuko Kasagi – Listen at 0:25 「今日は朝から 私のお家はてんやわんやの 大騒ぎ」

Japanese Lesson from Games: Pearl Before Pig

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.

豚に真珠ってことにならなきゃいいけどね

Japanese: 豚に真珠ってことにならなきゃいいけどね

Hiragana: ぶたにしんじゅうってことにならなきゃいいけどね

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.

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Japanese Lesson from Games: One or two habits

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!

Octopath Traveler - hitokuse futakuse
hoka mo hito kuse futa kuse aru renchuu da!

Japanese: 一癖二癖ある

Hiragana: ひとくせふたくせある

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.

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Monster Hunter Rise Ultra Basics

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.

Image of the many items in Monster Hunter
What do I do with all this stuff? Good thing the Item Box is bottomless!

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!

Monster Hunter View of Liolaeus from a Cliff
Monster Hunter View of Rathian from a Cliff

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.

Monster Hunter Weaponsmith
He can make many weapons, but which one is for you?

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!

Monster Hunter Rise Chat Menus
So many menus!

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!

Try Hunting! Might be fun!

Love this Zelda Boss Key Charm from Fandom Regalia – The Best Gamer Swag

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.

Keychain
Added some bling to my keychain.

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.

Boss Key!

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.

Check out their stuff, might be fun!

Fandom Regalia on Facebook, and on their official website.

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Der Clou: Roll & Heist – A Print and Play Board Game

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.

A snapshot of part of one of the character sheets

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.

Ready to give it a try? Head over to the official English page for Der Clou: Roll & Heist or BoardGameGeek site to download the files you need, print, and play!

Here’s some videos featuring Der Clou: Roll & Heist.

If you’re looking for another print and play board game that is just a little less involved, try Raging Bulls that I blogged about before. It’s a solid game!

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Japanese Lesson from Games: 図太い bold

Fire Emblem Three Houses - Zubutoi
sasuga wa sensei, zubutoi ne

Japanese: 流石は先生、図太いね。

Hiragana:さすがはせんせい、ずぶといね。

Romaji: sasuga wa sensei, zubutoi ne.

Meaning: Bold, shameless, cheeky, brash.

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.