Little Charo Episode 9

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, Charo visits restaurant Amici and finds out that he can win a sausage if he is able to solve some puzzles! While trying to solve the puzzles, he gets some important advice from a Japanese customer named Tomoko. Later on, Margherita tells Charo about a plan to help him get back to Japan…

This episode is even shorter than the last one, and isn’t too difficult.

Frequently Used Vocabulary

Nothing much here that you haven’t seen in earlier lessons 🙂

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!

 

4 Month Progress Report

Four months ago, I started up this blog, with the intention of using it to somewhat hold myself accountable for making progress forward in my Japanese studies. In my first post, I explained how I felt about the current state of things at that time, and how I was planning to make progress.

So now, looking back on things four months later, where do I stand? Have I grown, or remained stagnant?

One of my primary goals was to get better at understanding normal Japanese conversations and being able to talk to people. I began using JapanesePod101.com as one of my primary learning tools. Starting out, I was listening around 35 hours per week. However, I have had to slow that down significantly for two reasons. For one, my job now requires a lot more mental concentration than it did at that time, and the level of difficulty of the audio lessons I am listening to now also require a much higher level of mental concentration than the easier lessons I was working through back then. And two, my anki reviews for the JapanesePod101.com material were growing a bit too large with the amount of material I was adding daily. So I am doing about 1-2 lessons per day on average now.

In terms of my listening comprehension ability, it has definitely increased from the level it was at before. Of course, it’s impossible to measure objectively, but I feel like my listening ability has improved somewhere between 50-100%. In terms of the JapanesePod101.com dialogs, I am able to understand “newbie” series dialogs effortlessly. I am able to understand “beginner” series dialogs as long as I focus. And I am able to mostly follow along with “lower intermediate” dialogs as long as I am listening intently, but still have difficulty catching everything at full speed.

In terms of my speaking ability, I feel like it has improved very little, if at all. This does not surprise me much, as I have not practiced it much.

For reading, I really feel like my reading speed and comprehension has improved a lot since I began going through Little Charo. I do a quick read through while playing the game, without worrying about full comprehension or looking up words. Then my intention is to go back later, and read through the scripts while trying to understand everything, and add useful words and phrases into anki. However, this part has proved to be considerably time consuming, and I have fallen behind in it. For longer episodes, I am considering only doing a thorough review of parts of the text that contain my frequently used vocabulary words. Then later on at some point in the future, I may come back through and do “full” readings of those episodes.

All in all, I’m mostly happy with the progress that I have made in the past four months. I have created around 1200 new anki cards in that time, which is about 10 per day. The one big thing that I am disappointed in is my writing/speaking ability. I really struggle with expressing myself in Japanese. I definitely have the ability to practice it, but I have chosen not too. It’s very time consuming for me, not to mention extremely mentally taxing, so if I focused more on that then I would definitely have to drop off either Little Charo or JapanesePod101.com. And I really don’t want to lose my momentum on those things. My plan is that once I finish one of those, then I will move on to focus heavily on writing practice at that time. I wonder if a well-rounded plan might be superior to focusing on just a couple of things? But it just feels like there is not enough time in the day nor enough motivation to do EVERYTHING.

A trip to Japan is coming up in August, so maybe I really ought to make the speaking/writing practice a priority right now. We’ll see.

Little Charo Episode 8

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

After the last episode, this one is much easier! You meet up with Candy outside of the hospital, and plot to sneak inside to see Chris. Along the way, you also meet a strange bird named Sally.

If you need help getting the pickle jar off of Sally’s head, just direct Sally to go up and down a couple of times.

I haven’t been able to find the 3rd and 4th English coins in this stage. They aren’t necessary for anything, but it anyone knows how to get them, please let me know in the comments!

Frequently Used Vocabulary

The following words may appear several times throughout this episode.

病院    びょういん    (n,adj-no) hospital; (P)
中庭    なかにわ    (n) courtyard; (P)
警備員    けいびいん    (n) guard; security officer;
病室    びょうしつ    (n) hospital room; (P)
歌う    うたう    (v5u,vt) to sing; (P)
敷地    しきち    (n) site; lot; grounds; (P)
振る    ふる    (v5r,vt) to wave; to shake; to swing; (P)
沿う    そう    (v5u) to run along; to run beside; (P)
地面    じめん    (n,adj-no) ground; earth’s surface; (P)
酸っぱい    すっぱい    (adj-i) sour; (P)
空き缶    あきかん    (n) empty can
翼    つばさ    (n,suf,ctr,arch) wing; counter for birds or bird wings; (P)
香り    かおり    (n) aroma; fragrance; scent; smell; (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 Episode 7

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

Now we are really getting into it. This is the longest and most difficult episode yet. If it gives you trouble, don’t give up. Just do your best, and try to get on to the next episode. Very few episodes going forward will be this bad, I promise!

This time around, the story goes that Candy tricks Charo into thinking that if he can just find a red star, he will be able to go back to Japan. So Charo spends all night on an adventure looking for a red star, and in the process, meets a family of raccoons and a circus elephant!

I got stuck a few times progressing through this stage. If you get stuck, try checking the walkthrough. If you still have difficulty, just ask for help in the comments section below, and I’ll be glad to try and offer assistance.

Frequently Used Vocabulary

The following words may appear several times throughout this episode.

消火栓    しょうかせん    (n) fire hydrant
噴き出す    ふきだす    (v5s,vi) to spout out; to spurt out; to gush out; (P)
流す    ながす    (v5s,vt) to drain; to pour; to wash away; (P)
噴水    ふんすい    (n) water fountain; (P)
袋    ふくろ    (n) bag; sack; (P)
動物園    どうぶつえん    (n) zoo; zoological gardens; (P)
象    ぞう    (n) elephant; (P)
アライグマ    あらいぐま    (n) common raccoon
首飾り    くびかざり    (n) necklace; collar
パトカー    パトカー    (n,abbr) patrol car; (P)
工事現場    こうじげんば    (n) construction site
壁    かべ    (n) wall; barrier; (P)
看板    かんばん    (n) sign; signboard; (P)
穴    あな    (n,n-suf,sl,arch) hole; (P)
壊れる    こわれる    (v1,vi) to be broken; (P)
冷蔵庫    れいぞうこ    (n) refrigerator; (P)
歩道    ほどう    (n) footpath; walkway; sidewalk; (P)
騒ぐ    さわぐ    (v5g,vi) to make noise; to be noisy; (P)
匂い    におい    (n) odor; scent; smell; (P)
ぶら下がる    ぶらさがる    (v5r,vi) to hang from; to dangle; to swing; (P)
星座    せいざ    (n,adj-no) constellation; (P)
停る    とまる    (v5r,vi) to stop; to halt; (P)
照らす    てらす    (v5s,vt) to shine on; to illuminate; (P)
了解    りょうかい    (n,vs) comprehension; understanding; roger (on the radio); (P)
坊や    ぼうや    (n) boy
外す    はずす    (v5s,vt) to unfasten; to undo; to remove; (P)
品物    しなもの    (n) goods; article; thing; (P)
貼る    はる    (v5r) to stick; to paste; to affix; (P)
やって来る    やってくる    (exp,vk) to come along; to come around; to arrive; (P)
慌てる    あわてる    (v1,vi) to become confused; to be flustered; to panic; (P)
お菓子    おかし    (n) confections; sweets; candy; (P)
スナック菓子    スナックがし    (n) snack food (esp. potato chips, popcorn, etc.);
運ぶ    はこぶ    (v5b,hon,vi) to carry; to transport; to move; (P)
到着    とうちゃく    (n,vs,adj-no) arrival; (P)
いつの間にか    いつのまにか    (adv) before one knows; (P)
真夜中    まよなか    (n-adv,n-t) dead of night; midnight; (P)
案内    あんない    (n,vs) information; guidance; (P)
様子    ようす    (n) state; state of affairs; situation; circumstances; (P)
歯車    はぐるま    (n) gear; cog-wheel; (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!

 

Run software in Japanese mode without the headaches

Over the years, I have often seen people recommending to run one’s operating system and all of your applications in Japanese mode. This will apparently get you to thinking in Japanese more frequently, and you’ll learn a lot of computer related terminology.

But I’ve never done this, for one big reason: it’s annoying as hell. When I am trying to get work done, I don’t want to sit there wasting my time guessing at what the kanji are saying, and messing around with things by trial and error trying to figure out which menu option is the one I need to click on. When you get stuck trying to read something, trying to look up the text can be annoying as the font sizes are usually very small, making it both difficult to read and difficult to use an OCR application on it.

But I recently realized that there was a better way to ease yourself into the all-Japanese immersive PC environment. You see, most software has its interface translations stored in simple text files! This makes it really easy to get a full list of every single part of the interface, in both English and Japanese. There are a couple of different ways to benefit from this. For one, you could just dive straight into the Japanese version of an application, and refer to the English translation file when you have trouble reading something. Or you can approach it more slowly, by first reading through the Japanese translation file, adding words to Anki, and then switching over to using the application in Japanese at a later time, once you have learned the words it uses.

So how do you get these translation files? First of all, just check inside the folder where an application has been installed. In Windows, this is usually “C:\Program Files” or “C:\Program Files (x86)”. After peeking around inside an application’s folder, look for a folder named something like “locales”, “languages”, or “translations”. This will usually contain translations for several different languages, so all you need to do is find the Japanese file, and the English file. Not every application stores its translations like this though, and not every application has a Japanese translation. If you can’t find anything, just move on to a different application.

When you do find translation files, they could have different extensions, such as .ini, .xml, .dat, or something else entirely. But most of them can simply be viewed in a normal text editor like Notepad. Sometimes, you might find files with a .mo extension. Unfortunately, these are not text files and you are unable to view them.

Sometimes, translations and language packs are available as a separate download for some applications. If you can’t find a translation installed on your PC, then try checking the website for that software to see if anything is available.

To give you a quick peek at some of these language files, I put together a small pack with the English and Japanese translation files for “7-zip”, “PotPlayer”, and “notepad++”. You can grab it here to take a quick peek at how these files are typically formatted, and to see if this might be a helpful way for you to ease into using your PC in Japanese!