Tag Archives: playstation

Language Learning Tip: Finding Japanese in Odd Places

I haven’t been updating daily because of a certain absolutely awesome distraction, but today while wandering my home I came across a certain nostalgic item:

Ah, the playstation. So many childhood hours spent on classics like Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. And despite all the days spent collecting gems in Spyro—which seemed like months and months to me when I was younger—I fired up the game again about two summers ago, only to find myself easily completing it 100% in no more than two days. Man did I suck at video games.

But putting aside my Spyro skills, on the inside of the lid of the playstation I found the following warning:

Ah ha, Japanese! It reads:

レンズには絶対に触れないでください。

Despite being barely a sentence, it’s the perfect way to practice Japanese without input overload. That is, because the sentence is short, contains no more than three kanji, and has been found in a relatively odd place, remembering comes much more easily.

Breaking down the sentence, I could study:

  • レンズ — The beginner just learning Katakana will be happy to have a common word to practice with, in this case, lens.
  • レンズ [には] — the use of the double particle「には」gives beginners practice with this trickier grammar construction.
  • 絶対(に) — the rather common zettai (not at all) is one of those words I picked up from anime watching, but knowing how to write it never hurts!
  • 触る — the sentence contains the conjugated form of 「触る」(to touch) into its negative command form; practice reading the sentence a few times to practice telling others not to touch things—always a useful thing to know!

Sure, I could pick up an entire in novel in Japanese and start looking up characters one-by-one to get through it, but that’s incredibly time consuming. I like to think I have a lot of self-disciple, but that’s just too much. Rather, single sentences like the one found on my Playstation are sure to be more easily memorized. Blogging about it doesn’t hurt either.

This is the same idea that is used when one does shadowing—find real, but manageable Japanese sentences, understand them completely, and practice the heck out of them. When it comes to language learning, I find being a master-of-one rather than jack-of-all trades is much more useful. That is, instead of trying to study too much at once, really get down and study small chunks of language one-by-one.

One need not be in Japan to come across nuggets of Japanese in their daily interactions; you may just need to dig a little deeper, or look under the lid.

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Filed under Japanese, Language, Self-studying, video games