I wasn’t able to read as much as I wanted to this week due to a gamejam over the weekend, but fortunately I did get in a good amount at the beginning.
First up, I read all of vol. 4 + a few chapters of vol. 5 of 鬼滅の刃 (up to chapter 27). I’m looking forward to reaching the end of vol. 6 since at that point I’ll have overtaken the anime and everything will be new.
I also read the first chapter (26) of 甘々と稲妻 vol. 6. They made corn potage using a recipe that was somehow even simpler than what I’ve made in the past. It’s only striking me now that I’m trying to remember…I don’t think I came across even one unfamiliar word in this chapter. Probably because the recipe was so simple.
Finally, I put in another…probably 7 hours of P5R. I’m at the beginning of the second arc now and have met two new characters that weren’t in the original game. Ran into some grammar that was new to me (～なら～で from N1). I’ve decided to stop streaming/uploading my playthrough since it was eating up a lot of my time, so my pace should go up from here on.
This week I read Komi-san vol. 9. The major plot points in this volume revolved around Valentine’s Day and White Day, and of course all the drama that comes with the territory. Most of what I learned this time around was pertaining to the culture rather than the language; for example, I didn’t realize that your choice of お返し has specific symbolism that represents your feelings for the other person.
I also played about 15 hours of Persona 5: Royal, bringing me to the end of the first Palace. Of that time, about 10 hours was real productive immersion, with the rest being just gameplay with very little reading happening. I’ve made a few allies at this point and they all have different ways of speaking in addition to belonging to different walks of life; as one example, the doctor uses a lot of medical terminology that I probably wouldn’t have run across in my normal reading.
Honorable mention: another episode or so of HKBK, some more MHA with my sister. I saw the movie Midway (about the famous WWII battle) which features a decent amount of Japanese and it was fun comparing the subtitles with what I could glean from the spoken dialogue.
This week I put in about six more hours of P5:R, bringing me up to the middle of Kamoshida’s castle. There have been a fair number of new scenes and mechanical tweaks, so the extent to which I can coast on my existing knowledge is ever decreasing (which is fine by me!). The biggest benefit of this playthrough so far has been, I think, my listening comprehension — I find that the spoken dialogue sections are much easier to follow, which is encouraging. I’m picking up some vocabulary that’s pretty domain-specific (in the first Palace of course we have words like 色欲 which are thematically appropriate but probably won’t show up later in the game). Just as with PQ2 I think the variety of the areas and characters is going to be super beneficial.
For manga I finished Flying Witch vol. 8 (which catches me up with all available 単行本 volumes). The last chapter was really kind of weird — it introduced a lot of new characters and focused entirely on Makoto’s school life without any of the established themes making an appearance. It also ended up being a lot wordier than I’m used to — it almost feels like the series has grown with me as I’ve improved. The later volumes definitely aren’t as beginner-friendly as the first few, but I think that makes for a cool progression. Nothing to really report in terms of new vocab.
I also read the latter half of Yuru Camp vol. 1. Most of the new vocab showed up in the first half (almost all of which were camping terms). One moment I thought was kind of funny though; I keep struggling with the word 寛ぐ on WaniKani — for some reason I just can’t keep the kanji and the reading associated with each other. It was a nice surprise when I happened across that very word in Yuru Camp…but without the kanji. Apparently it’s usually written in kana alone. Oh well, hopefully it still helps somehow.
Yesterday and today I read Komi-san vol. 7. It’s still great. There was one joke that I worked hard to understand and was very gratified when I figured it out because it requires a decent amount of cultural trivia: one of the new characters is named 加藤 三九二, which is a reference to the famous Shogi player 加藤 一二三. At one point the other characters say she’s 123的, which I was able to decipher by putting it together that the Shogi girl from Persona 5 is also named 一二三 and there must be some shared connection between them. It was a fun rabbit hole that I probably would have missed entirely without that external context.
Honorable mentions: I listened to about two hours of HKBK and aside from one section where I was able to follow along pretty well as the two hosts talked about their favorite voice actresses, as usual it mostly ended up as passive immersion. I also watched a bit of MHA with my sister and even though we were using English subs for her benefit, I was still paying attention to the audio. I specifically remember hearing 諸刃の剣 and being glad that I put it in Anki a while ago. It’s a cool phrase and I probably would have forgotten it by now.
This week I read 鬼滅の刃 vol. 3, about half of ゆるキャン vol. 1 and most of Flying Witch vol. 8, watched a few more episodes of とらドラ, and played 5 hours of Persona 5: Royal.
I watched the anime adaptation of ゆるキャン a long time ago, so I don’t really remember much about the moment-to-moment dialogue and such. I actually picked up the manga on a whim due to a friend of mine suddenly starting to watch the anime as well, so I’ll be roughly following along with him. Despite having no furigana I think it might be a great recommendation for new readers; it was pretty easy reading and I learned some fun new camping vocab.
I got stuck for a little bit in Flying Witch thanks to the introduction of a new character who’s a samurai ghost from Edo-period Japan. He has a way of speaking that can be pretty difficult to follow so it took some getting used to. I did learn some samurai vocabulary of questionable usefulness, like 拙者, a pronoun I’d never heard before. I’ll probably finish this book tonight as I’m going to sleep, but I wanted to get my review in with plenty of time to spare. Vol. 8 is the latest 単行本 so I’ll probably be waiting until next October for another book to come out.[00:06]It’ll be nice to be caught up to another series.
I’d hoped to finish とらドラ this week but I did get a little bit swept away by P5R. I think I watched three more episodes? I’m very close to the end of the series, with only maybe two or three episodes until the end. Same story as ever; I’m following along pretty well, even though some of the monologues go completely over my head (especially from みのり, who speaks very quickly and in a dozen different styles).
Finally, 5 hours of P5R has put me just past the point where Ryuji awakens his Persona. Compared to how it felt to start PQ2 almost a year ago, it’s surreal how easy it seems to follow along. The plan is to follow my “skip what you can’t read” methodology, but so far I haven’t really had to employ that very often — the majority of what I’ve found is totally straightforward. So far the main pain points in deciphering the kanji compound-heavy speech of some of the public officials (like Sae and her director), and Shadow-Kamoshida’s very pompous way of talking. For the most part though, I’m having a great time.