Japanese reading report

Since December I’ve been playing through Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth. It’ll be released to the West in June, and I’m determined to at least beat the main story before that time I play it in sessions of about an hour and a half at a time, three sessions per week, and I livestream it on Twitch, plus going through sidequests on my off-days.

PQ2 is really interesting because — despite being essentially a fanservice game — it still has a lot of flavor in terms of the way characters talk. Kanji abbreviates everything; the Velvet Room attendants generally use sonkeigo; Yusuke uses flowery language and idioms that I would probably recognize from Japanese literature were I more familiar.

I’ve also been reading 五等分の花嫁 after the anime captivated me earlier this month (I actually stopped watching so I can catch up). I’m just about finished with the first volume. I have a waterproof e-reader, and I’ve been using that fact as an excuse to get me to take more baths. Reading in the bath is amazing.

Between the two of these (PQ2 with its variety of dungeons, and 5花嫁 with its five distinct heroines) I’ve been picking up a huge variety of vocab. PQ2 had a whole “subquest” based on 数が入った四字熟語 — I’m looking forward to seeing how they localize that. One funny moment this week was when I read the scene in 5花嫁 where Futarou talks to the girls’ father on the phone. He’s a pretty rich guy who “speaks” pretty much exclusively in kanji, so this was the first time I saw 勿論 not written in kana. I didn’t bother putting it in my flashcards because I figured it was pretty rare — and the very next day it showed up in PQ2, this time coming from Yusuke. Needless to say, that particular word is pretty much cemented in my memory now.

As a final note: when I first started playing PQ2 there were a lot of words I didn’t know, and my vocab deck was growing really quickly. Last session I maybe added ten new words. It’s really encouraging to see that measurable improvement.