Learning Japanese the Mother 3 way!

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by ceraphis, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. ceraphis

    ceraphis GBAtemp Regular

    Apr 27, 2006
    United States
    Be prepared for a wall of text. I couldn't help it, sorry!

    Hey all. I'm gonna use this space, at least for now, to both show others my general idea, show the slow progress I have made, and a few questions also. I know Mother 3 is in the process of being translated by apparently a great team, but that's not the point of this post. Constructive criticism is very welcome, but I'd appreciate it if this were a negativity-free zone, although I know that's inevitable. With that said, I begin.

    I've wanted to teach myself Japanese for a long time. I thought about taking classes at my university, but it would cost around $820 a credit for 6 credits, which is a crapload of money for something I think i can learn in my free time. Also got a bunch of good-looking books from my university library a while back, but they sat around for a few months until they were due, with not much but a few glances of use.

    So, I got to thinking and to researching. I found a lot of good programs, and I've come up with a plan so far thats going to take some work, but it should be very manageable. I'm sure if you care enough to, you'll see some flaws in this plan, and although I may be covering a mentioned flaw in an area outside the scope of this thread, feel free to mention any and I'll appreciate it.

    NOW, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, here is what I'm using and my progress and a few questions I have.

    Mother 3 + GBA
    DS Rakubiki Jiten + DS
    wikipedia+google+gamefaqs internet tubes


    Now, before you get all "lolzorz roflmao!" on me, there are a lot more things I have done and am doing. It takes a lot more than just the systems+games+tubes above to learn japanese. Duh. But this is all I need to mention to explain my process so far, and should suffice for the questions I have.

    So without going into huge detail how I got to the point I'm at, I'll just say what I'm doing right now that looks like it is working nicely for me. I knew from what I read of starting to learn Japanese that hiragana and katakana memorization are a good start. Just memorizing them alone would work OK, I'm sure. However, since doing it using Mother 3 I think I'm getting along quite nicely, learning a lot and it's a LOT more fun that's for sure. So here's my long-awaited process!

    1. Turn on DS Rakubiki Jiten, on the english-definition mode with kana selection input.
    2. have pencil and paper available for writing romaji pronunciation, possibly until kana and sentence structure are known well enough
    3. play mother 3, translating everything you come across through romaji. EVERYTHING!

    Now, I could try to refine this main process to better illustrate how I am doing things, and my future additional plans (its not this simple), but this is the main idea so you should be able to get the drift. Of note is the fact that although I first started using a kana cheat sheet to find out the romaji pronunciation for my additional learning, in case you didn't know, DS rakubiki jiten and apparently all kana-entry systems are arranged in a similar fashion that goes:


    As such, fishing for the right kana all the time without a romaji cheat sheet, although tedious, helps learn kana quicker.

    Obviously, kanji are going to need more steps and more attention. My general plan is to do one of the following:

    1. use available gamefaqs translations, and try to logically figure out how the unknown kanji fit with the known, much more easily translatable hiragana and katakana
    2. as soon as I learn kanji stroke order, draw them into DS rakubiki jiten
    3. learn how to lookup kanji using radicals.

    #3 may be similar to #2, but I can't tell because I have not been able (or tried) to successfully draw a kanji into DS rakubiki jiten. Of note is that the "main process" should have no problem working for kaitou rousseau or zelda mugen no sunadokei, as they give furigana. However, I like rakubiki jiten and earthbound so much that I decided to start with mother 3.


    Unfortunately far down on this post finally arrives my progress and the questions related to them. I have not spent a terribly long time on this method and still do not know the kana well, so I only have a few things translated in the above way. I got through all the "Don't care" messages and two simple phrases from the room lucas starts in. Tell me if I am right or wrong with these translations:

    fuwafuwa omuretsu - soft omelette (fuwafuwa seems to mean soft/fluffy...omuretsu self-explanatory)
    peperonchiini -hot peppers(pepperoncini)
    atsuatsu guratan - i love baking! (my best guess)
    korotsu kepan - croquette bread (some sort of japanese rolled bread)
    touniyo unabe - mixed stew (best guess)
    momo zerii - peach jelly
    tadameshi - white rice

    hoomuran - homerun
    matsuha - mach 2
    furusupetsuku - making full use of all the time you have (I am probably SO wrong on this one)
    fujiyama - mount fuji
    kyamera(ki+ya+me+ra) - camera
    mizumaki - watering can

    honkakutekina maki sutoofu da - It's just an ordinary wood-burning stove.
    ^-- stolen from gamefaqs, I don't get the translation. Can't find maki anywhere, best guess is wood since faq says so. sutoofu is obvious. I am not far along enough to know the meaning of the additional "da", nor the "na" after honkakuteki which I think means ordinary. Can anyone explain? I bet it's a simple grammar or sentence structure concept but I'm approaching this from a very strange way for just starting out!

    itsumono neguseda - Bedhead. Same as always.
    ^-- again from gamefaqs, but this time I get the connection. You have itsumono meaning "never changes" and neguseda(negu seda?) which means something like "just woke up", so it artistically or connotatively means the given translation, correct?

    For those of you who are fluent or similar, know that I started out with just about zero knowledge on the subject, so unless I'm mistaken or terribly wrong about my beginning translations, I'm doing pretty OK for a week or two in, only spending a few hours on it every two or three days, and using DS rakubiki jiten as a major crutch right now.

    This post has already taken so long to type and I'm tired so there's no closing paragraph. Just read it if you can and post your thoughts or criticisms or corrections to the translations I put above.
  2. Glacius0

    Glacius0 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Nov 27, 2005
    The Netherlands
    Here's a few tips I can give you, which imo you really have to do if you're serious:
    - learn hiragana/katakana. Looking those up every time is NOT very time-effective.
    - learn stroke orders of about 100 kanji. You will notice the pattern soon enough and then you're able to draw every kanji properly which will make looking things up a lot easier (tip: you always start from left to right, and from up to down)
    - Study the grammar! You won't be able to derive it from just reading stuff since it's fundamentally different. To give you an example of how essential it is: "da" at the end of a sentence is a seperate word, which doesn't hold a lot of meaning for the fundamental meaning of the sentence. You don't notice these things that quickly without studying the grammar!
    - Go to Japan! Study Japanese there. It's by far the fastest way to learn the language. And it doesn't even have to be expensive if you manage to get a scholarship. The best time to go to Japan is when you understand most of the grammar and are able to hold simple conversations. This way you can learn fast.

    A few more tips which aren't essential, but would perhaps be a good idea:
    - Use your PC to look up kanji. Rakubiki jiten is pretty good but a good dictionary website is better ( www.nihongoresources.com is what I tend to use). You can draw kanji on your PC using the Japanese IME hand writing tool. Also I don't know if you're trying to use both Rakubiki jiten and mother 3 on the same DS, but switching between the two isn't very time-effective either.
    - Start with something easier than mother 3. A game with a very easy (though crappy) story that comes to mind is "Ondama". It also sparsely uses kanji. If you insist on doing something harder then I'd recommend "Zelda: phantom hourglass" because it shows the hiragana of the kanji words when you hold your stylus over them.
    - Watch anime and actively listen to the Japanese. This way you can put the things you've learned into practice a little. Something I used to do was watch anime with subs first, and then later that day just listen to the same episode without watching, and try to understand what it's about (you should still remember who is saying what in which context). Looking up words you hear while doing this would be even better.
    - Read simple children's texts on the internet by copy/pasting it into the following website: http://language.tiu.ac.jp

    PS: I didn't provide links to most of my tips since I simply don't have them. Look on the internet for studying material. If you really can't find any, send me a PM and I'll lend you a hand.
  3. Retal

    Retal GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    May 20, 2007
    England              Sex: Daily
  4. ceraphis

    ceraphis GBAtemp Regular

    Apr 27, 2006
    United States
    glacius, thanks for thre response. A couple things in response so i can clarify a little.

    I am learning hiragana and katakana separately through other methods, like the homebrew JDS is very helpful for testing myself. I have found, however, that "translating" mother 3 in the way I showed above is a lot more fun and although it may not be as effective as JUST learning the kana first, it does seem to be somewhat effective in me learning the kana and the enjoyment factor is irreplaceable.

    I am certain that you're right learning the stroke order would be very helpful. I actually just found that kageyama method thing which looks very helpful and interesting, and I also have a program for my windows mobile phone that teaches you joyo kanji on/kun meanings and stroke order, in english too! It is comforting to be told that learning about 100 kanji should suffice for stroke order lookup, so thanks for that tip!

    I know i need to study the grammar, badly. I only wish there were interesting and fun programs to do so. Anyone have any suggestions for a grammar-teaching tool?

    I wish I could go to Japan sometime, maybe even live there for awhile. Suffice it to say, I don't think thats an option (at least right now).

    I know zelda would be easier, as well as others like kaitou rousseau, I mentioned that in my first post...I imagine it was too long to read thoroughly :-D. I seem to be enjoying this current method and it appears to work OK, so I'm gonna see how it pans out for awhile. Thanks for all the other tips, much appreciated!