Japanese Practice Through Games – a Beginner’s Guide

Playing games in Japanese can be a great way to learn. It shows you real life language written by Japanese people for Japanese people. There’s no worry about whether the vocabulary you’re learning is relevant because you’re seeing it right there in front of you. You might even have these resources sitting in your house, right now! Hundreds of learning opportunities ready to be taken advantage of!

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Let Me Introduce You to Springdale [Sakura New Town]

Let’s take a little stroll around Yokai Watch 4’s Springdale and meet some of the residents. In this series we go around video game towns and use side-by-side English and Japanese text to get to some Japanese reading practice. This may be a good place to start if you’re thinking about importing the game to see if the text is around your reading level. Yokai Watch 4 is full of NPCs so we’ll start by meeting some of the kids in the various parks around town.

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Yokai Watch 4 Impressions

When I came to Japan for the first time, Yokai Watch had already taken over. I saw it everywhere. Some people even thought it would overtake Pokemon as the go-to monster catching game for kids. Things didn’t end up panning out that way in the following years, but at least they managed to pull me back in (for whatever that’s worth) with Yokai Watch 4.

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Let Me Introduce You to New Bark Town

I want to try something a little different here and see if anybody out there finds this sort of post helpful. I’m basically going to post the Japanese text from each NPC in New Bark Town from Pokemon Gold and Silver with a translation that tries to be literal, but still understandable. You can try to read the text yourself and then check the translation to see how you did. I may sprinkle in some grammar information as well. Let’s get to it!

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How to Play Video Games in Japanese

Learning all of these fancy words isn’t going to do you much good if you don’t have any games to read them in. Lucky for us, getting our hands on video games that we can play in Japanese has become easier in recent years, especially with the Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One not being region locked. A region locked console, such as the Nintendo 3DS, will not be able to play games from other regions which means you can’t just import a game from Japan and pop it into your North American system. Let’s start with the consoles listed above and follow that up with some other consoles that aren’t region locked. 

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