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How I Understood my Very First Japanese TV Series — 13 Comments

  1. Great article, I am going to do something similar with pokemon x.

    Just waiting for my 3ds to come from Japan…

    • Sounds good. Are there game scripts or something like that floating around on the internet somewhere? Those have been a big help to me. I’m pretty jealous, too! :)

      • I am not sure about the game scripts. I was just going to take screen shots every time there is a sentence I don’t know. There is a setting to change the game text from just hiragana to kanji, so that should be quite good I think. Plus its pokemon. Nuff said.

        • Yeah, I need to get my hands on some of the newer Pokemons. I played a few of the old ones in Japanese but the all-kana gave me a headache. Nice that the newer ones have a setting for kanji.

  2. I hesitate to mention this because it is almost certainly almost entirely stupid. But conversely that means there’s a small chance that it has some small value, so here goes.

    Recently I’ve been making cards from anime with audio and a picture on the front and just the English translation from subs on the back. No Japanese text at all. This solved a number of problems, all of which admittedly could be unique to me (can’t run subs2srs, can’t find Japanese transcripts for many series (if they’re on the BDs I own neither MakeMKV nor Handbrake can find them), terrible memory, gave up on monolingual after 500 cards…) The obvious, and frankly huge, problem with this is that the Japanese audio and the English text may have very little to do with each other.

    What this does accomplish, if anything, is that it forces me to engage more actively with audio material. My vocabulary is probably “decent” at this point, a couple thousand words or so, and being able to correctly identify a card requires focusing on the audio and picking out those words I know in order to trigger my memory into recalling the whole meaning. It’s a way of strengthening both my リスニングの力 and memory of words I do know. Plus, there have been one or two words that appeared in short, i+1 sentences that I picked up from the English translation of the full sentence. Not to mention that I can then rewatch the show and understand what’s being said in an active way, at least to some approximation.

    In a few cases where Japanese transcripts have been available I’ve been playing with loading them into my browser and reading them with Rikaichan turned on. It’s sort of a poor man’s lingq.com. I haven’t done much of this, but it feels like a nice supplement to the cards — armed with a memory of the pronunciation and general meaning of the lines my reading speed and retention might be improving. Maybe making cards would work even better, but that would require more effort than I want to put in.

    Of course I’ve also been continuing to add to a more conventional J-E deck, as well as continuing to read both intensively and extensively. This has just been a sort of experimental supplement to exercise different mental muscles, and it’s been fun if nothing else.

    • I use English with my cards, too, but I usually keep it hidden unless I am really stumped. I add an “English” field to my Anki cards but I don’t display it on the actual flashcard, so if I want to see it in English, I have to click “edit”. It keeps me from thinking in English too much and I only use it if I just can’t figure out what they’re talking about or it’s some kind of expression or phrase I’ve never heard before. Your method would definitely help more with audio comprehension. How has it been working out for you? Are you able to understand most of the lines without the accompanying text?

      • Ah, tucking the English into a hidden field is a clever thought! It still leaves me with the problems of finding Japanese text and not having the technology to automate the process, but I might try doing this manually for a few cases to see how I like it.

        The question of how to know whether something is working is one I’ve pondered occasionally. At the moment it’s hard to say whether these cards are really getting me any closer to fluency, but at least I can say that they’re sticking in my memory like… well, like the way Anki is supposed to work but never quite has for me before. I haven’t failed most of these cards at all, and even the worst cases seem to need only a couple of reviews before they “stick.” So in a way the text on the back doesn’t even matter since I almost never need to check. I find I know what most cards mean with 100% confidence, although the caveat here is that I still only have a bit over 200 of these and very few have reached maturity. Ask me again when I’m reviewing dozens of cards that I haven’t seen for a few months :)

  3. I’m currently using subs2srs to go through the K-ON! series, so far it’s going pretty good. I’m quite sure that by the end of the first season I’ll be able to rewatch it with confidence in my understanding.

    And another question here(that I also asked on Cayenne’s thread), how can I format my subs2srs cards to look like the cards above? I’ve been trying to replicate it but I can’t quite get it. It just looks so good in those images, I want it. Haha.

  4. That’s what I did since the 7th (?) month of this year (which is my first year btw), I was felling badass cause I was able to read most manga with some fluency, but still understand close to nothing when I tried to watch some anime, I decided to focus on listening to put a end on this. I’m a anime-based japanese learner, I have 2 folders full of HD anime that I downloaded from torrent, so I used animes, at first and just watch the anime and starting repeating shorts scenes over and over until I get most of it, I starting realizing a lot of words that I had never listened before just read, and become excited, after repeating a lot when I fell that my poor listening gave all its power I used the 字幕 from kitsunekko to learn new words and the “spoken versions” of words that I already know starting with サーバンドxサービス and ワタモテ. Now I feel way more fluent, can go through a anime and understand the big picture without having to repeat scenes or pausing to “digest” what I just listen, my word mining is all listening-based, now I watch a random anime or a scene of a anime and after that I use the subtitles (or look up some words that I listened if there’s no subtitles for that anime like I’m doing with ブッラドラッド) .

    Reading is just tough when you are a noob (no offence) and are getting used with kanji, after that it’s so easy that start to hold you back, you suggest every one who are already pass this phase to do the same, because of read one word you have little probability to hear it and almost no probability to use, but if you hear it you can both hear it again AND read it and it’s easier to go to your active vocabulary.

    My listening is now almost as good as my my reading, I feel better now cause if I’m watching a “samurai speaking” (like when I used subs2srsr with 神様はじめました) I know that I’m not understanding because my listening sucks but because I simply don’t know those words (yet).

    I still put them into anki just in case, but since I already re-watched the episodes or scenes several times I don’t even waste time coping definitions from dictionaries and most times I just quickly read the sentence and hit the “very easy” buttom

  5. 結構遅いけど助かるようにしたかったから・・・

    ー表面テンプレート

    {{オーディオ}}
    {{ピクチャ}}
    {{1LeadingExpression}}
    {{Expression}}
    {{1TrailingExpression}}

    ー書式

    .card {
    font-family: arial;
    font-size: 20px;
    text-align: center;
    color: black;
    background-color: white;
    }

    .card1 { background-color: #ebead3; }

    ー裏面テンプレート

    {{FrontSide}}

    {{furigana:Reading}}{{意味}}

    あなたのフィルドのように 字体とかフィルドの名前とか字体のサイズを変わってください

  6. If Kitsunekko doesn’t have Japanese subtitles for an anime I’m looking for how could I get the subtitles myself? Like, how could I extract the subtitles from a video file? The anime I’m looking for subtitles for is Kannazuki no Miko.

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