Little Charo Episode 2

This article is part of a series on the game Little Charo for Nintendo DS. For more information please see this introductory post.

Episode Overview

In this episode, Charo is getting acquainted with his new life in New York, and he meets a new friend named Margherita who takes him grocery shopping. However, it seems like the shop owner is missing!

There are four English coins hidden in this episode, and you need to find all of them in order to unlock a bonus episode immediately after this one. They are pretty straightforward, and you will find 3 of them on a single touch-screen area.

If you have any trouble finding the English coins here or in any other Episode, the game offers hints to their locations. Simply go into the menu screen and select 英語コイン。

Menu ScreenEnglish Coin Screen

Frequently Used Vocabulary

You may want to review the following frequently occurring words prior to playing through this episode.

飼い主    かいぬし    (n) pet owner
ピーマン    ピーマン    (n) bell pepper (P)
急ぐ    いそぐ    (v5g,vi,vt) to hurry; to rush (P)
花屋    はなや    (n) florist
通り    とおり    (n-adv,n) avenue; street; way (P)
おしゃべり    おしゃべり    (adj-na,n,adj-no,vs,uk) chattering; talk; idle talk; chat; chitchat (P)
一緒に    いっしょに    (adv) together (with); at the same time (P)
チラシ    ちらし    (n,uk) flier; leaflets (P)
カゴ かご (n,uk) basket (shopping, etc.) (P)
にぎやか    にぎやか    (adj-na) bustling; busy (P)
新鮮    しんせん    (adj-na) fresh; (P)
注文    ちゅうもん    (n,vs,adj-no) order; request (P)
バラ    ばら    (n,uk) rose (P)
店員    てんいん    (n,adj-no) shop assistant; employee; clerk; salesperson (P)
ウワサ    うわさ    (n,vs,adj-no) rumor; report; hearsay; gossip (P)
最初    さいしょ    (adj-no,n-adv,n-t) beginning; outset; first; onset (P)
相手    あいて    (n) companion; partner; company; other party; opponent (sports, etc.) (P)
窓    まど    (n) window (P)
お客さん    おきゃくさん    (n) guest; visitor; customer
足下    あしもと    (n,adj-no,pn) at one’s feet; underfoot (P)

Script

Click here to go directly to the master spreadsheet, which will allow you to save the contents to your PC.

Or click here to access an HTML version of the script that is compatible with Rikai-chan.

If you have any questions regarding the Japanese used in this episode, please post in the comments!

 

echo.html – Rikai-chan assistant

Several years back, I put together a simple html page that I have found very helpful over the years. All it does is let you type or paste text into a box, and it outputs that same text in a larger font size below the text box.

This serves two purposes. Mainly, it gives you a place to paste text so you can use Rikai-chan on it. Helpful for when you are copying and pasting from a PDF or Word document, or some random app with Japanese text. I also use it a lot when I am writing, because I often forget if some of the words I am writing are correct or not. This can be simpler and more convenient than pulling up gmail or pastebin or something, and you can use it without an internet connection.

The other function is to simply make the text big enough that you can easily read it. Japanese text (kanji particularly) is, in my opinion, quite hard to read in comparison to English text. If you don’t immediately recognize a kanji, you might have to strain to discern the strokes or radicals that it is made up of. Sometimes I wonder if the reason so many Japanese people have bad eyesight is due to having to strain to read kanji?

But anyways, here it is. You can just right-click on the link and save it to your desktop.

Little Charo Episode 1

Little Charo Episode 01

This article is part of a series on the game Little Charo for Nintendo DS. For more information please see this introductory post.

Episode Overview

This episode introduces us to Charo, and we find that he has become lost at JFK airport when he was supposed to be returning to Japan! Will he ever be able to get back to Japan and be reunited with his owner, Shota?

This first episode is quite long, and is split into two sections. You can save your progress about halfway through. You might find the Japanese slightly difficult in parts, and even more advanced learners might encounter several words that they don’t know. Just take your time and utilize the scripts. You should find that most of it isn’t too bad.

There are five English coins hidden in this episode, and you need to find all of them in order to unlock a bonus episode later on. All of them are found in the second half of the episode. You will find the first one automatically. The next two are found in the touchscreen part at the newsstand. The final two are found in the touchscreen part outside the cafe.

Video Playthrough

Please note, I do not intend to produce videos for subsequent episodes. Please obtain the game for yourself to see the rest of the story.

Frequently Used Vocabulary

You may want to review the following frequently occurring words prior to playing through this episode.

子犬    こいぬ    (n) puppy
空港    くうこう    (n) airport; (P)
飛行機    ひこうき    (n) aeroplane; airplane; aircraft; (P)
出発    しゅっぱつ    (n,vs) departure; (P)
係員    かかりいん    (n) official (e.g. customs); clerk in charge
警備員    けいびいん    (n) guard; security (officer); guardsman
荷物    にもつ    (n) luggage; baggage; (P)
駐車場    ちゅうしゃじょう    (n) parking lot; parking place; (P)
自動車    じどうしゃ    (n) automobile; (P)
運転席    うんてんせき    (n) driver’s seat (in a car)
荷台    にだい    (n) (truck) load-carrying tray; (bicycle) luggage carrier; roof rack
蛇    へび    (n) snake; serpent; (P)
小鳥    ことり    (n,chn) small bird; songbird; birdie; (P)
飛び乗る    とびのる    (v5r,vi) to jump upon (a moving object)
生垣    いけがき    (n,adj-no) hedge
誰    だれ    (pn,adj-no) who; (P)
やって来る    やってくる    (exp,vk) to come along; to come around; to turn up; (P)
逸れる    はぐれる    (v1,vi) to stray (turn) from subject; to get lost; to go astray; (P)
中庭    なかにわ    (n) courtyard; quadrangle; middle court; (P)
くわえる    くわえる    (v1,vt,uk) to hold in one’s mouth
大通り    おおどおり    (n) main street; (P)
街    がい    (n-suf,pref) .. street; .. quarter; .. district; (P)
スキ間    すきま    (n) crevice; crack; gap; opening; (P)
つかまる    つかまる    (v5r,vi,uk) to be caught; to be arrested; (P)
渋滞    じゅうたい    (n,vs) congestion (e.g. traffic); delay; stagnation; (P)
囲む    かこむ    (v5m,vt) to surround; to encircle; (P)
忘れる    わすれる    (v1,vt) to forget; to leave carelessly; to be forgetful of; to forget about; to forget (an article); (P)
閉店    へいてん    (n,vs) closing shop; (P)
ゴミ箱    ごみばこ    (n) garbage can; garbage box; rubbish bin; trash can; dust bin; dustbin
探す    さがす    (v5s,vt) to search (for something lost); to search (for something desired, needed); to look for; (P)
隠れる    かくれる    (v1,vi) to hide; to be hidden; to conceal oneself; to disappear; (P)
しゃべる    しゃべる    (v5r,vi,uk) to talk; to chat; to chatter; (P)
逃げる    にげる    (v1,vi) to escape; to run away; (P)

Script

Click here to go directly to the master spreadsheet, which will allow you to save the contents to your PC.

Or click here to access an HTML version of the script that is compatible with Rikai-chan.

If you have any questions regarding the Japanese used in this episode, please post in the comments!

 

Little Charo Box

Little Charo – The Best Video Game for Japanese Learners

Back in 2011, a video game was introduced late into the Nintendo DS’s lifecycle, with little fanfare. That game, 「えいごで旅する:リトル・チャロ」(Little Charo Travels in English) would end up being an absolute gold mine for Japanese learners looking for a game with language on the easier side. But, for whatever reason, the game went almost unnoticed among Japanese learners at the time. In an era when the Nintendo DS was seen as a great tool for Japanese learners, and many sites were posting lists of the best DS games for learning Japanese, it seemed odd that this game never got a mention. The Nintendo DS was on it’s way out by the time this game was released, and more and more people were getting smartphones, so maybe people had already stopped seeing the DS as a useful tool for Japanese study. Even I ended up getting sidetracked and stopped playing the game after a few episodes. But now, a few years later, I’ve decided to give it another go and make my way through to the end.

What is Little Charo?

Little Charo was originally an educational television series that aired on NHK in 2008, and was designed for teaching English to Japanese viewers. The show featured short anime segments, accompanied by people discussing the English used in these segments. Charo is a super cute little puppy, which makes it very appealing and fun to learn with. The Nintendo DS game, released a few years later, is heavily based on those anime segments, but with the storyline fleshed out a lot further. The game is basically like a storybook or visual novel, with the main focus of the game simply being to read the text.

What makes it so good for learning Japanese?

There are a lot of reasons why I think this is the best video game for Japanese learners. For one, this game is fully bilingual, allowing you to change the text from English to Japanese at the touch of a button. This is way better than trying to follow along with a separate script as you play a game! The translation is quite accurate, as it was designed for the purpose of education. They didn’t take a lot of liberties with the phrasing like you see in many other translations. This means that when you encounter a Japanese word that you don’t know, you can generally figure out its meaning by looking at the English translation.

But speaking of scripts, those are available too. I actually dumped them from the game’s rom myself, and will be posting up new episodes weekly, right here, as I work my way through the game. And you will probably need the scripts, because the one thing that this game doesn’t go easy on is kanji! There are about 1,300 kanji used in the game, and there is unfortunately no furigana. But by using the scripts, you can easily look up the readings of the kanji via rikaichan. Having to play without furigana is actually a good learning experience though, as annoying as it may be. When furigana is available, we tend to rely on it instead of actually learning to read the kanji. Many words will be used repeatedly throughout the game, so you can definitely count on learning to read some kanji by the time you get to the end!

As far as the difficulty of the text in the game goes, it doesn’t really get any easier than this. The game was originally written so that the English would not be excessively difficult. As a side effect of the game’s English being easy, the Japanese translation also ends up being easy as a result! I don’t want to give the impression that it’s a pushover though, because for a learner, this language can still be somewhat difficult, especially when you encounter words that you are unfamiliar with. But in the grand scheme of things, I really don’t think you would find any other game out there that has Japanese on this same level of difficulty. I would strongly recommend that your Japanese ability be at about an N4 level (in JLPT terms) before attempting to tackle this game.

Also, this game is long. Like as long as a novel or an RPG. This is fantastic, because learning material on this level is so rare, so its great that it will last you a long time. The game does not get progressively more difficult as you go. The first episode of the game is probably a good representation of the entire thing. Some episodes will be easier, some episodes more difficult, but overall, there is not a huge amount of variation between them. Theoretically, the later episodes should be easier, because you will have picked up a lot of vocabulary and kanji early on.

If you would like to see the level of difficulty of the Japanese presented in this game, I have recorded a video of the entire first episode.

I have no intention of doing a recording of the entire game, because if you want to learn from it, nothing really beats playing it for yourself so you can take the text at your own pace. So then, you might be wondering…

How can I play this game?

As a Nintendo DS game, it is region free, meaning that the cart will play on Nintendo DS and 3DS systems from all around the world. The only place I have found to purchase it currently is from Amazon, where you can get it for about $35 at the time of this writing, which I think is well worth it considering the length of the game and the amount of content it has.

But if you aren’t having any of that, the game plays perfectly on the DeSmuME emulator. You do just need to change one setting to make the sound work properly though. Go to the “config > sound settings” menu, and set the Synchronization mode to “Synchronous”. Don’t ask me where to download the game rom, but if you can’t find it in the first page of Google search results, you are doing something wrong.

If you get stuck while playing, here is a walkthrough in Japanese!

Let’s Do This

It’s always more fun to play with a buddy than to play alone, right? And studying is more fun in a study group! So, for about next 30 weeks or so, I will be posting up information on the game one episode at a time. I will include scripts and frequently used vocabulary words. If you have questions about any of the Japanese in the game, post your questions in the comments, and me or other readers can try to answer, and then I can archive the questions for everyone to benefit from!

I have already posted up a page for Episode One of the game, so check it out, and spend one week studying the content of that episode as much as you can! I will then continue to post a new episode each week, so we can all go through at the same pace! Be sure to bookmark this site or subscribe to the RSS feed so you can check back here each week. If you have arrived here a little late to the party, that’s okay too, you can just go through the game at your own pace!

Top 11 Games for Learning Japanese

Alright, so you read my previous post on how to learn Japanese through video games, but you are still having trouble choosing the perfect game start off with? Below you will find several of the top titles that I have frequently seen recommended on various forums and websites, along with some of my own additions, and my thoughts on each. Please check them out through videos or other means before playing, to ensure that you will be able to handle them! You will see several games developed by Level-5 here, because they are one of the few developers who make it a point to include furigana in their games. Thank you, Level 5! Also, this used to be my “Top 10 Games for Learning Japanese”, but then I noticed that I had miscounted and actually listed 11 games instead… sooo yea, now its my “Top 11 Games for Learning Japanese”.

Click the “Read More” button if you don’t see the list below.

Read More