Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Checking In/Updates

Konbonwa! Genki desuka? Anata mo neko desuka?

As briefly mentioned in a review last month, I'm taking Japanese courses! I've been attending for nearly two months now, and what an experience it's been! I'm not sure if I've discussed this before, but my acquaintance with the language has roots from over a decade ago, back when I was in 7th grade. Given my love for Nintendo and anime, it was only natural I'd want to take a Japanese course even then, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. Roughly half the students who took the course weren't so much interested in learning another language as much as they saw another opportunity to constantly goof around and interrupt class, and the sensei was ill-equipped to handle classroom control.

Combined with the immense pressure of learning a notoriously-difficult language, it was a recipe for disaster. I gave it another shot in my freshman year, but depression and self-destructive anxiety on my part rendered it impossible to continue.

But I never gave up on the dream, and my patience has now finally borne fruit. How, you ask? By salvaging what I did memorize from those ill-fated classroom ventures: the hiragana/katakana vowels and tables! My exact memorization of the latter alphabet is a bit rusty, but it helps that they share the same sounds as hiragana (and typically involve pronouncing English words!). Not only that, but a decade's worth of watching subtitled anime has gradually etched the flow and quirks of the Japanese language into my brain. Of course, many anime fans have picked up on Japanese phrases through that medium, but as I watched the entirety of Dragon Ball Z in Japanese last year, I grew to recognize I'd subconsciously accumulated various quirks of the language, including words and placement of grammar. As you'd expect, it's been a tremendous help in my class.

So why am I telling you all this? Because I plan on further studying the language, there's the very real possibility I'll be able to review Japan-only games! Y'know, ones that probably don't have any translation patches. Wowza. Of course, such a prospect probably won't happen for some time, not to mention my review schedule for the next half-year or so is already lined up. But hey, so far I've been able to translate one full panel of a Japanese Kirby manga volume I picked up some eight years ago, so it can't be too far, right? I'm also incredibly interested in playing Japanese versions of text-heavy Nintendo games so as properly gauge the untouched, Japan-native vision of the developers (like the recently-reviewed Paper Mario), so maybe some comparison articles could be in the future...?

All bragging aside, if you haven't already guessed, my new obsession with the Japanese language has been why October's been a bit sparse for the blog. Sorry about that! We've also been job-hunting lately; much as Nintendojo's a dream to work with, it's a volunteer position, so it doesn't pay the bills. As you may recall, Daily Gamer was set for that role, but unfortunately it fell through before it even began, so I'm searching high and low for another gaming outlet. I tell ya, if there's one thing worse than never hearing back from a prospective employer, it's sifting through all the terrible, eye-burning site layouts. With how web-design's slowly been homogenized into blogging formats over the past decade, it's not pretty.

Anyway, to make up for my lack of October presence, how about I whip up not one, but two reviews within the next week! We'll finally return to Ten Years of Kirby and get acquainted with another Worldly Weekend. While this means we won't have Biweekly Music Wednesday this week, we'll instead be able to jumpstart things back up on here. Look forward to them!


  1. Sorry I haven't commented on anything in a while, Anthony. I've been reading it all, though.

    I always found languages draining myself, and let my French performance in High school slip without doing much about it. But Japanese is something I could see myself studying at a casual, basic level in the future. Anyway, that's all very impressive. Thanks in no part to your insights into Nintendo localisation, I'd be very interested to see what a dialogue heavy game like a Mario RPG was like, script-wise, in the original. And you absolutely MUST tell me what the characters say in those Kirby mangas that you can tell. I've found a few online, but can't make much more then general structure and pretty art.

    And since I'm doing Multimedia in college, I can add my two cents on web design as it is right now. It's not pretty, true. But it's hard. And it's really draining, and VERY labor-intensive. And it's the one area where people get ticked off about you copying nearly ANYTHING. So people like me are reduced to coding stuff very slowly, especially if we're not sure what we're using actually means. I'm not sure what computing area I want to go into in the future, but man, do I NOT want it to be heavily centered on web design/programming even somewhat.

    Also, Canvas Curse is now in my collection - that means I have every Kirby game to play, thanks to Dream Collection! Haven't played them all yet, but you get the picture! I've been waiting forever for your two cents in Super Star Ultra, as you've hinted before that unlike Nightmare in Dream Land, you feel it holds level with the original. And Wordly Weekend is always good for a laugh!

    Hope all is well. Your regular reader is still here, even if he does descend into bouts of lurking every now and then.

    - Mike.

    1. Hey Mike! Glad to hear from you.

      The Kirby panel was nothing special: I wasn't sure what the exact context was, but basically Kirby and a doppelganger of his (I believe his name's Chibii?) were flying around on a Warp Star, and upon spotting a floating island one of them exclaimed "Huh?!? What is that? Heaven?". For reference, it was the one by Yoshiko Sakumo.

      Thanks for the inside perspective on web design. From my understanding, it seemed most websites gradually shifted over to blogging/CMS templates, which lower the barrier for entry for aspiring site hosts but don't leave much room for imaginative design. Then there's the matter of whether or not they fit the actual site; for instance, I noticed many Nintendo fansites I visited in my youth made the transition (SMBHQ, Arwing Landing, Zelda Elements, etc.), but the simplified designs didn't hold a candle to their previous majesty (although thankfully relics like Kirby's Rainbow Resort, The Mushroom Kingdom and The Video Game Museum haven't aged a day).

      Of course, even if the aesthetic is inferior, that doesn't mean it's any less hard to actually program. Regardless of my own feelings towards this homogenization, I wish they'd at least make them nice to look at, haha.

      Anyway, I've already taken all the notes necessary for Super Star Ultra, so it should be ready within a week's time. And while my next Worldly Weekend will be for a far more grounded title than my last two, you may find some humor in the one after that. Hope you'll enjoy 'em!