This week I read 炎炎ノ消防隊 vol. 2, played a bit more of Astral Chain, and watched four episodes of とらドラ with J-subs.
Fire Force is probably going on hold for a little while. I like the anime and the manga has been enjoyable, but I know I wouldn’t be following it if I hadn’t seen the anime already. I’ve picked up a few patterns here and there, and run into some of the kanji and vocab that I’ve learned on WaniKani recently, but I feel like it’s not very well suited to my reading approach. I’ll probably pick it up in a little while but for now I think I would be do better to spend my time on something else.
I’d started (re)watching Toradora way back in April and just let it fall by the wayside, so I’m trying to get back into it. The subtitles I’m using are almost aggressively accurate — as one example, in this most recent episode I noticed that somebody said すんません instead of すみません, following the actual pronunciation instead of the dictionary word. I’m probably catching 75-80% of the conversations.
Most of my time in Astral Chain was unfortunately spent stuck on one of the advanced training battles, so I didn’t get as much immersion time as I would have liked. One thing I did want to report on is that there’s one character who (to my recollection) hasn’t “spoken” any kana at all except when it’s used in names. All of her dialogue consists of bare nouns and adjectives all in kanji, without even any particles. I’m curious how she sounds in English.
Footnote: I decided to get back into Octopath Traveler after shelving it for a little over a year. Since that time my Japanese has improved by a huge amount and I’m now keenly aware that the English dialogue takes some major liberties. It doesn’t really count as immersion imo, but I’ve become so fixated on these bizarre changes that it’s caused me to pay close attention to listening to the dialogue.
Kind of a short report this week — I read vol. 11 of ５等分の花嫁 (just finished it up a few minutes ago). As usual whenever a new volume comes out it’s a bit of a jump in complexity; of the series I’m reading regularly it’s the only one that I can’t read “fluently” and there are usually sentences I have to read a few times in order to understand. I came across a few grammar points that I hadn’t seen in the wild before (言うまでもない is one that sticks out in my memory), so that’s always nice — also found 秩序 not one hour after I learned that first kanji on WaniKani.
I’m continuing to listen through HKBK whenever I ride my bike to work and I’m up to episode 22 now. It’s mostly passive immersion to be totally honest, but there are parts where I’m able to follow along so I guess I might as well mention it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This week I read 古見さん vol. 3 and 鬼滅の刃 vol. 1. I also listened to a bit more HKBK though, as usual, it largely went over my head.
古見さん continues to be pretty well-suited to my current level. They’ll occasionally introduce new terms that are explained for the benefit of one of the characters, which is a nice way for me as the reader to learn as well. In this case the two that I remember are 引きくじ and カタヌキ, two types of festival games.
I started reading 鬼滅の刃 after falling in love with the anime and wanting to be able to continue after the current season ends. I’ve been watching with English subtitles so I obviously understand what’s going on, which actually helps a lot when it comes to picking up words and concepts in contexts. I believe I’ve got about six volumes to go until I get caught up to the show so we’ll see how I do once I get there, but I think this series should be significantly easier to read blind than something like 炎炎ノ消防隊, with its penchant for strange kanji and massive compound words.
This week was another rough one at work (and I was supposed to work today even though it’s a weekend) but still I managed to read more than my usual quota of manga. I’m not sure if it means I’m getting faster or just that my focus is stronger due to more limited time, but either way it feels good to be increasing my pace.
This week I finally finished up マグネット島通信, or at least finished what I had access to. MangaZ has 12 chapters available but it seemed pretty obvious that the story wasn’t over. In any case I don’t plan to pursue it any further. It was a positive reading experience I guess, just because I picked up some good vocabulary and reinforced a decent amount of my recent N2 and N1 grammar, but the story really never grabbed me. If nothing else it’s a good milestone since I’ve been trying to read this manga for a long time and now I’ve finally managed to complete it.
I also read vol. 1 of 炎炎ノ消防隊. The author really has a penchant for using strange or gratuitous kanji like 貴女 and 嚙む, and what Supi calls 無理仮名; in just this last chapter alone I saw 第８（われわれ）, 第１（うち） — not to mention the chapters use kanji like 壱・弐・参・伍 and (from the latest episode of the anime) 拾. To be honest it’s a little exhausting to read but I’m enjoying it.
This week I finished vol. 5 of 甘々と稲妻, read almost all of マグネット島通信, played the first two chapters of Astral Chain, and listened to another episode of HKBK.
甘々と稲妻 is almost to the point where I can read it without really thinking about it. There’s still some vocabulary here and there that I need to look up but it’s not too bad. When it comes to the new ingredients that are introduced in each chapter, I’ve started making my flashcards “monolingual”, where instead of a “meaning” field I just have an image of the food itself. 沢庵・そぼろ・蒲鉾 aren’t words that I have any association with in English but I know them when I see them, so having the image there to link it to real life has been helpful so far.
I’m 75% done with マグネット島通信, which is a decent pace considering that it’s about 300 pages as opposed to the 200 I’m used to. The story is getting a little weirder but it still feels pretty grounded; the characters are starting to get a little more comfortable with each other but they still use 丁寧語 and the social dance is very evident.
Astral Chain is really good, and one really cool thing about it is that even the US retail version lets you change the language completely to Japanese (both text and audio). I played about three hours yesterday and was mostly able to follow along despite the dialogue auto-advancing. A lot of the jargon went over my head but the story is pretty easy to follow and I don’t think I’ve missed any critical game mechanics due to misreading the menus. There was one point where I picked a dialogue option without really considering it and got a bad score, but when I replayed the mission it was obvious what I should have picked so at least I redeemed myself a little.