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The Massive Block Of Japanese Text — 20 Comments

  1. Haha, quotes from Uncyclopedia. This is probably the first time I have seen their content used constructively for anything but a good laugh :)

    This article is a good reminder. I tend to lose my breath when I see sentences stretching past 3 lines in Japanese. Thanks for reminding me that sentences like that are horrible to read in any language. Obviously native readers will have an easier time deciphering texts like this, but they probably also have to reread parts of a long sentence to fully comprehend it. Line breaks and periods are good form in any language.

    • I can make constructive use of anything haha.

      That’s why I like LiveDoor News so much. They are really good with spacing, and even have a 3 line summary of every news article before you even read it.

  2. Wow, the kanji-dense megaparagraph reminded me of how much more intimidation Mandarin learners get when faced with similarly lengthy paragrahs. I know Mandarin hanzi readings are relatively more uniform than kanji readings, but still.

  3. When I’m feeling brave, I try to dive in when confronted by these walls of text, but I stop as soon as the feeling of being challenged turns into frustration and confusion. The metaphor I think of is rock-climbing. Make an attempt to climb a challenging wall, but stop before muscle failure and then go back to an easier wall for more practice, so I can try the hard wall again another day.

    *I have no actual experience with rock climbing.

    • Ha, I think you’re going to need to try it out now.

      Your example works well though. As long as you don’t try to always try super difficult walls, discouraging you from the sport entirely.

  4. In the book series I’m reading right now, the author will often go off on long explanatory tangents in the middle of conversations between characters. The information presented in these long tangent paragraphs often serves no other purpose than to give the reader mildly interesting background information, and almost never comes up again in any manner of importance. Since it’s a science fiction book series, there alse ends up being a lot of technical vocabulary that I’m not familiar with. I like the series a lot, but that aspect of the author’s writing style hurts my poor brain sometimes. どうしてだよ、あさの先生? (-。-;

    • So why not just skim through it then? That’s what you’d be doing in English. Even in the best of series, things can get bogged down by excess description.

  5. This can certainly be a problem in any language. Sometimes I want to read online articles in my native language of English and just seeing the long scrolling down prevents me from wanting to push through it. (I just can’t read on a screen. I need to turn a physical page so that I can literally feel my progress.)

    One tip I recommend for helping with the wall of text problem in books is to check the book for dialogue. Ideally the book will have a few pages of text followed by a few pages for dialogue and then again text, then dialogue. The dialogue offers a breather after you’ve fought through text.

    A good example is Kawakami Hiromi’s センセイの鞄. Very good distribution of dialogue/text and also, well, just very easy Japanese.

    • Very true about the dialogue, and it can be easy with physical books to skim through to see what the ratio looks like of dialogue vs. description.

  6. I didn’t bother reading any of that. My brain smashed the NOPE button super hard.

    I am getting myself comfortable with walls of kanji via Twitter! My brain keeps quitting on me with extensive reading, especially when I encounter words and kanji I don’t know yet, but I really think that practicing each day and reading one Tweet intensively will help chisel down the wall my brain has about my capacity for literacy in my L2!

    Onward!!

    • Twitter can be great for that, because any wall is fairly limited due to the character count.

      You still need to read the full paragraphs in this post though!

  7. It’s descriptive and heavily explanatory text that gets me. One of the many (but slowly decreasing) things that makes me feel like Noriko at the beginning of 彼方から.

    • And heavy descriptive language is also the hardest, as you don’t really get much of a chance to encounter it in normal life.

  8. Is Japanese Wikipedia hard to read? I love cruising Wikipedia in English, surfing from link to link, and when I get higher level I think I would like learning about the world in Japanese that way.

    • Not really. It’s pretty much the same as with English, and at higher levels (~50+) you’ll start using wiki articles in much the same way you do in English – to look up stuff you encounter in your immersion materials and want to know more about. Initially the things you succeed at looking up will be pretty simple, and articles on complex topics will look like word-salad. But not to worry – it continually gets easier as you learn more and more vocab over time.

    • The only thing to look out for is that people on Wikipedia tend to be overgenerous with kanji (using kanji when it’s not really that common).

      However this often depends on the subject and type of article.

  9. あのアンサイクロペディアの文章が大変面白かったw。でも自分の日本語をき進めるためにはこのような読みにくい文章が時々必要だと思います。だって簡単な文章ばかりを読んでは日本語は挙げないからな!難しいと易しい文章のバランスを見つけるのも必要だな。。。

      • 賛成です! 確かに難しすぎだった。たった3・4つの文章を読んで目も頭も痛くなったw。こんな文章は誰でも読みたくなさそうだな。

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