Japanese reading report

Kind of a light week for me. I watched all of ソウナンですか?, but the episodes are all 12 minutes long for some reason so the total runtime was only 2:30. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this series and it was kind of a letdown…it’s fine I guess. I understood most of it and theoretically even learned some survival facts. Might read a bit of the manga since I got two volumes for free a while back.

I also read vol. 1 of 沖縄で好きになった子が方言すぎてツラすぎる, which as advertised was pretty ツラすぎる. Okinawa dialect is absolutely wild and for the most part I couldn’t even imagine how the words would be pronounced (in terms of intonation and cadence etc). I looked up a video to get a feel for it and was surprised to learn that Chiaki (a youtuber I follow) is originally from Okinawa, so that was pretty cool. Throughout the book I was barely able to pick up a few words here and there, which was very surprising. Will probably read the next volume at some point.

Chiaki’s video

I also read Flying Witch vol. 10. It’s been exactly a year since the last volume so I’ve sort of forgotten what all was happening. Fortunately it’s pretty standalone for the most part so I was still able to enjoy it. There was quite a lot of dialect packed into the first few chapters; first a town-wide おすそ分け tour (where everyone spoke light 津軽弁) and then a splash of 沖縄弁 when Makoto goes home to visit her family and meets up with her childhood friend who’s been studying in Okinawa. Learned some temple-related vocab in the last arc and got stuck a bit in the magic academy place, but overall pretty smooth sailing.

Setting up a Kobo without logging in

My trusty Kobo Aura One recently died on me, and I replaced it with a Kobo Libra H2O, which…is honestly kind of a downgrade. I didn’t expect to like the physical buttons, but I’ve come around to them, and the screen is crisper, which makes reading small furigana easier, but the screen is also smaller and the storage size is pitiful (8gb compared to the 32gb I used to have, which is pretty important if you’re going to have a lot of manga on board). In any case…

The main thing I’ve been unhappy about with this new device is the fact that the database handling seems to be really flaky. I had my Aura for four years and never had a problem with it, but this new one has randomly corrupted its own database multiple times over the last few days. Since the only way to fix this is to reset the device and logging in is a hassle (especially since I don’t use any of the online features anyway), I wanted to figure out how to bypass the sign-in process entirely.

There are a few guides on the mobileread forums on how to set this up, but they’re all pretty old — the user database table was only five columns back then and it’s now at 27, which breaks the insert statements. Here’s an updated sqlite script that gets you into the device with minimal fuss, plus a little extra which blocks the analytics events (which seem to be the main culprit).

insert or replace into user
  (UserID, UserKey)
values
  ('-', '-');

drop index if exists analytics_events_timestamp;

create trigger if not exists delete_analytics
after insert on AnalyticsEvents begin
  delete from AnalyticsEvents;
end;

The other steps are the same as ever:

  • Connect the ereader to your PC
  • Tap “Set up via USB” on the home screen
  • Download and run SqliteBrowser
  • Click “File/Open Database”, browse to your ereader, and select .kobo/KoboReader.sqlite
  • In the “Run SQL” tab, paste the above script and execute it by pressing F5 or clicking the play button
  • Click “File/Close Database” and save changes
  • Eject the ereader from your PC and disconnect it

You should be met with a fresh clean dashboard. One nice thing about this method is that the ereader never actually sees the internet, so it can’t download book suggestions. I recommend backing up the sqlite database after you set up your preferences (the calibre plugin Kobo Utilities can perform a backup automatically every time you connect the device, which is something I wish I had done much sooner).

Japanese reading report

This week I (re)watched all of 亜人ちゃんは語りたい. I barely remember any of it and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to just follow along with it normally. There were a few sections that weren’t so easy (the part where they try to explain the science behind dullahan mechanics got me a bit lost in the jargon) but it was overall very smooth and I was able to pick up a few words entirely through context here and there. I considered doing some laser-focused subs2srs on them but I’ll be reading the manga soon enough anyway, so I’ll leave it for now.

I read vol. 2 of ホリミヤ and it was great. So far it seems like the anime covered most of the material but there are definitely some extra bits that are not to be missed.

Next up was 無能なナナ vol. 1, which I got for free a while ago and have just been sitting on. I randomly decided to read it in an effort to get through my ever-growing backlog and wow, I was not expecting to like it as much as I did — finished it in one sitting over the course of the afternoon. Picked up a new grammar point (なりして) which I guess is not totally new to me but I’ve always seen it as sort a listing particle, never on its own. I’m not hurting for new manga series but I’m heavily considering whether to buy a few more volumes.

I also read vol. 1 of 東京卍リベンジャーズ after watching the first episode with my sister. I think I also ended up reading this one in a single night. The energy is good and it’s pretty smooth going. Probably not going to pursue it right away, will likely watch the rest of the anime first.

This weekend I watched all of 五等分の花嫁 season 2 (bringing my total anime time for the week to 14:45). It’s been a while since I finished the series and I’ve been thinking about rereading it since my comprehension was not great for most of my first read, but watching the anime has largely scratched that itch. Looking forward to the conclusion.

Also started playing 真・女神転生ソウルハッカーズ, reaching the first dungeon. Not sure if I’ll stick with it but it’s fun so far. I literally didn’t have access to the options menu until an hour into the game so there was some stuff I missed due to auto-advance being enabled by default, but it’s not a huge deal since all the dialogue is voiced anyway. I’ve bounced off every SMT game I’ve tried so hopefully I’m able to stick with this one.

Translation work – Every day is happiness

I’ve once again had the privilege of translating a short web manga by Komugi on twitter (previous work here and here). This one was originally published in the Persona 5 ShuTae anthology a few years ago and I happened upon it by complete coincidence while browsing around on twitter about a week ago.

(Click through to see the full thread including the last two pages)
Continue reading →

Japanese reading report

This week I read 古見さん vol. 21, カラーレス vol. 2, and おとなりに銀河 vol. 2, as well as watched ep. 6-22 of 四月は君の嘘 and all of アオハライド (about 11 hours).

Back when I originally watched it, for some reason I put 四月は君の嘘 on hold about halfway through, so it was good to finally finish it. I have to say the ending was not nearly as emotionally destructive as I had been led to expect. I wonder if it would have hit harder if I had been able to go in blind, but as it was I felt like it resolved exactly as I would have expected just by watching the anime with no expectations. In any case, I enjoyed it a lot.

My sister started watching アオハライド at my recommendation so I decided to rewatch it as well. I honestly didn’t remember anything about it at all besides that I had liked it. Not a lot to say here from a language perspective, but I enjoyed this rewatch as well. Apparently there was supposed to be a second season but it never came to fruition. I might read a bit of the manga at some point since the ending wasn’t really very satisfying.

古見さん is as good as ever. I read this volume really quickly for some reason. The rivalry with 零 is really cute and I like how the two main girls are still really close despite being rivals. I remember seeing pages from this volume on twitter not too long ago so hopefully they keep up this pace and get more volumes out soon.

I keep meaning to go back to カラーレス but getting distracted by other things. The art is really good and the setting is interesting, so I enjoyed this volume. While thinking about how I would go about translating 色力学 (I was thinking “chromatics”) I idly looked it up and found that 量子色力学 (quantum chromodynamics) is actually a real field of study? That was kinda fun. The stuff in the manga is obviously way more literal but it’s neat that it was kind of based on a real thing.

Finally, おとなりに銀河 spent basically the whole volume being cute fluffy romance and barely mentioning the fact that しおり is an alien or w/e, but I’m ok with it.

Japanese reading report

I started off the week by finishing わたしの幸せな結婚, which I believe only took me another day or two since my last report. The last chapter didn’t really accomplish anything major in terms of story but it did wrap everything up nicely. There are more books in the series but apparently it was originally written to be standalone, so I don’t think I’ll run right out to continue it. I liked the ending and didn’t feel like it needed to continue.

Early in the week I read vol. 1 of 進撃の巨人, since I ended up binging all of season 4 (using english subtitles with my sister so it doesn’t count) and was VERY disappointed in the production quality and needed to cope. I’ve been planning to read through the whole series at some point so this was as good a kickoff as any. I learned a new grammar point (feels like a really long time since that happened), てまで, which I was able to figure out by context but later looked up out of curiosity only to find that it’s considered to be N2, not N1 as I expected.

Throughout the week I read up to chapter 3 of 異世界食堂, which is going pretty smoothly when I can find the motivation to read it. For whatever reason I’m just having trouble setting aside time for it. It’s been so long since I saw the anime that I totally forgot some of the nonsense they get up to — like writing 杯 and giving it furigana meant to represent the language of the person whose perspective is currently in use, or just completely using a made-up word to refer to “onions”.

I finally got around to 戦隊大失格 vol. 1, which is the new series from 春場ねぎ(五等分の花嫁)and I’m liking it a lot so far. The basic premise is that some alien invaders came to earth and got rebuffed by the local Sentai troupe…who cut them a deal of “if you agree to keep this up, we won’t completely wipe you out”. So the current arrangement is that the invaders are stuck on earth, unable to leave and forced to participate in a perfunctory battle every Sunday afternoon, while the “Dragon Keeper” Sentai squad prop themselves up into a huge media empire. The main character (an invader who’s gotten sick of all the song and dance) goes undercover to infiltrate the Keepers and ends up falling in with two unlikely allies(?); a girl who wants to topple the Keeper empire because the battles are boring, and a guy who dreams of a world where humans and the invaders can live in peace. I’m kind of getting Spy Family vibes with the whole “playing both sides” angle and the writing has been really fun so far. Looking forward to continuing the series.

Today I (re)watched five episodes of 四月は君の嘘, which I think I got about halfway through a long time ago (with subtitles). Planning to watch the whole series over the next week if I can. It’s been pretty smooth; even the more technical lingo associated with the music industry has all turned out to be stuff I learned a long time ago from 響け!ユーフォニアム.

Finally, I finished ending A of Nier Replicant with a total of 23 hours (my estimate last week was way off). I’m going to count this towards my goal of five games cleared this year, and will count the other endings as one additional game collectively if I decide to finish them. From playing Automata I know there’s going to be a lot of extra content past the original ending, but honestly this game never really grabbed me and I thought the whole final act was pretty bad.

Japanese reading report

This week was incredibly rough. I was really busy with work for most of the week, which was made worse by the fact that I also spent about five hours driving when I really couldn’t spare the time. I badly need to come up with a way to read on the road (maybe I should start collecting audiobooks).

At the beginning of the week I did manage to put some time into Nier: Replicant, which I also played a bit of a few weeks ago and forgot to mention here. It’s a fun game and mostly pretty easy to understand. There were a few sections that were supposed to be in a “dream world” that was made entirely of words (where the screen fades to black and you just read for a while). I think I have about 30 hours at this point, but most of that was not from this week.

My new ereader came in on Tuesday and I broke it in with ホリミヤ vol. 1, which I read in an afternoon. Since I watched the anime already a good amount of it was review, but there were also some scenes that didn’t get adapted. Cmoa had a big points-back promotion going on so I went ahead and grabbed the rest of the series.

The rest of the week was mostly spent on the road, working, and helping friends move. I stole a few moments for わたしの幸せな結婚 here and there when I could manage it, and just finished chapter four a few minutes ago (just one more to go). This last chapter was pretty exciting and it’s gearing up to be a satisfying ending. By some kind of coincidence the only words I’ve had to look up have had furigana on them; learned a few cool ones that way.

Finally, I spent this afternoon watching ep. 50-60 of 進撃の巨人, which finishes off my rewatch of the first three seasons. Not a lot to really report on but I did have a moment where I forgot I was listening to Japanese and that’s always fun.

Translation Work – Kiss Day

May 23rd is Kiss Day in Japan, commemorating the 1946 release date of はたちの青春 (Hatachi no Seishun), the first Japanese movie to feature a kissing scene. Komugi, an artist I follow (whose work I’ve translated in the past), posted two short manga pages to mark the occasion, and I reached out about translating this one as well. Since there was so little to do I finished pretty quickly and was able to get it out in time for the 23rd in the US (as Japan is one day ahead).

I don’t have a ton to say about the translation this time, since obviously there isn’t a lot of text. One thing I do want to mention is the use of “pretty” instead of the more typical “cute” for かわいい. Ryuji isn’t trying to pay Ann a compliment here, he’s just stating an obvious fact without really thinking about how it comes across. I felt like “pretty” did a better job of carrying this nuance.

As always, matching fonts between the original and translated versions is something that I have a lot of fun with, and I was happy to see that Komugi appreciated the effort:

Also, I didn’t notice until I had uploaded it, but he even went to the trouble of matching my handwriting when translating the title! Please take a look at both versions to see how they compare!

Many thanks to Komugi for letting me translate for her again!

Japanese reading report

This week my beloved ereader suddenly bit the dust, which really threw a wrench into my routine. I was able to read a tiny bit of わたしの幸せな結婚, but it was so little that I really don’t have anything to say on that front. I’ll have a new one in the next few days; very much looking forward to getting back to it.

I did manage to get some manga reading done on an epub reader on my phone (here’s hoping I never have to do that again). I read あせとせっけん vol. 1, which was actually a real surprise. I grabbed the first few volumes (free) a while ago but never got around to reading it because the premise is so weird…the two main characters are a girl who sweats a lot and a guy who makes soap for a living; she really likes his soap and he uh…likes the way she smells and wants to use her as inspiration for his work? I never would have actually read it based on that description, but I heard from a friend of mine that it actually turns into a really cute romance so I decided to give it a shot and ended up liking it quite a bit. I’ll probably read the next two volumes before deciding whether to actually continue the series (the final volume apparently released just this week).

I watched 進撃の巨人 ep. 28-49 (about nine hours). Not a whole lot to say here. There were a few expository moments where I was fully expecting to just sort of zone out but accidentally found myself understanding what was going on, which is always nice. Also watched a few episodes of ホリミヤ but I’m only giving it honorable mention — since I’m watching it with my sister we’re using english subs, but the combination of tiny Hulu subs + my terrible eyesight actually meant that I was able to totally ignore them much of the time. Not something I’ll be getting in the habit of though.

This morning I read a little of 異世界食堂, which is the last physical book on my current backlog. It was totally impenetrable when I tried to read it a year or two ago, and aside from a few new words it’s effortless now. Progress feels good.

Japanese reading report

This week I kept on reading わたしの幸せな結婚, reaching about 70% and finishing the third of five chapters. I’m still enjoying it quite a lot. The story is developing in nice ways and the writing style is still really enjoyable. I’ve come across a decent number of katakana words at this point but it still seems like the tendency is to stick with native words wherever possible — I’m also noticing that it uses patterns like このような rather than こんな. Just interesting to see how the style helps to evoke the old-fashioned setting.

I put ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 on hold since my sister started watching 進撃の巨人 and I’ve been planning to rewatch it for some time now. I watched 27 episodes (about 10 hours), almost finishing up the second season. There were a definitely some points where I got lost in a tangle of sino words but fortunately I have a good amount of the manga piled up so I was able to cross-reference some stuff that gave me trouble. I honestly forgot just how much I enjoyed this show when watching it originally and it’s really fun to revisit it.

I wasn’t planning to read any manga this week but I noticed this morning that とつくにの少女 had put out a new volume without me noticing (and finished the series too!) so I grabbed that and quickly read through it. The previous volume left me kind of confused and unsatisfied, but this one cleared up some unanswered questions and also brought the story to a very sweet conclusion.