(Trying to) Learn Japanese with Mutazione

Last week I mentioned that I had switched Mutazione from its default English language setting to Japanese to help with my attempts to learn the language. Something else to read and engage with. I’ll talk about how I’m going about it, what I’ve learned along the way and what I need to do to keep it going.

This gif is going to get a lot of use.

This endeavour started off with a restart. Always good. Like a fool I started without a notepad (or any means) of taking notes. It did not take long for me to realise how utterly silly this was. I had an understanding of the first conversation in the game – not complete but it all made sense to me. Then the second conversation happened, and the error of my ways dawned on me. Restart the game, get a pen and paper and go from there. That was the first step. 

Looks like this need a bit of water. (I think).

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, making this play through stick. It’s not too difficult to get a little discouraged something is not understood. That feeling can stack, then frustration beds in and then the urge to give up arises. I’ve felt that before. Hell, it almost happened. After the restart, I played the game the night after and then did not play again for 1 or 2 weeks afterwards. I had to say to myself “You (me) has to stick with this. Regardless of mood, you have to keep at this.” I had to make it a routine, so I started playing it as much as I could. I’ve been playing it most days, and or about an hour day – going up to an hour and half on occasion. After an hour I start to zone out. But, I have an hour down now as the minimum – so I can build on that.

Strange, it’s half buried. (I think).

The consistency is getting there and taking notes is there. Why Mutazione? Why not a game that is written in Japanese first? With Mutazione I am playing a game that was written in English first and then translated to Japanese. Many Japanese games on the PSN store in Britain (of the narrative type) do not have Japanese text backs with them. The voice acting is there but the text is not. So, I’ll play games that have Japanese text – Japanese or not. Mutazione has full Japanese text and is one of my favourite games already – so I’m down to run through it once again. 

I need to get back to writing. (I think).

It’s going pretty well. But there are some things that are of concern. Like I wrote last week, I am pleasantly surprised at how much I am understanding, or at least have a grasp of. I am the sort of person that assumes I’m going to be bad at something, and the sort of person that assumes that on sight, if within two seconds of seconds of seeing Japanese and not understanding all of it that I have failed, so there was potential for this to turn in a catastrophe. But as is often the case anxiety is as anxiety does. It has not been that bad. Any new words are written down – screenshots are taken for things that in the moment I’m struggling to put together – and I’m having fun when something does come together.

They have to pay full attention to their work. (I think).

The big area of concern is that I will be the first to admit my understanding of Japanese is not fully comprehensive. This play through is me on my own in a room trying to figure things out. So, while I am confident on getting somethings right I am sure some nuances and finer points are going by the wayside. I don’t have the means to stream, and screen shotting the entire game is, well, I can’t do that. So, there is there is always some concern that there is some stuff I’m just not getting. And I don’t know how to go about rectifying that. I know I can ask for help but I can’t ask people to translate an entire game for me – that’s unfair – people have stuff to do. Also, Mutazione is a game with branching dialogue – I can’t see all the dialogue. That’s a little frustrating. Not the games’ fault – that’s just a result of this particular play through.

I’ll get back to you about this one.

To end of a positive note though – this whole thing is going way better than expected. I’m having more fun that I expected. It is going to take a while to get through the whole game – but the more I do it the better I should get. Just got to keep at it. Got to keep going. The only way is through.


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