Read Japanese to be able to Read Japanese? Let’s put it to the test!

Yo, Brent here.

So, I was reading Spanish Only (I may be learning Japanese, but his articles are good!) and he has a guest writer named Matt. Well, he had a pretty awesome article here. (Read it now! It’s a good read.)

Anyway, to sum it up, he learned to read French by playing Chrono Trigger. Twice. And now he’s comfortable reading French.

So, I figure that I’ll put myself to the same test…Except in Japanese. So, starting tomorrow, or possibly Monday (Depending on the money issues in my house fix themselves…) I’ll play Chrono Trigger twice in Japanese. And, I’ll see if I become more comfortable reading Japanese. I figure, it’s an easy thing to do, and a LOT of words. So, I’ll be updating Twitter with a play by play for the progress, and then post the entire feed here on Japanese on a Dime.

So, get ready for some craziness!

Remember to follow @japaneseonadime to be up-to-date on this little test, and if it works, I will be the happiest Brent. At least hopefully I’ll feel more comfortable reading things, in which case I don’t have to worry about that as much.

-Ja ne!



  1. Chrono Trigger is a little kanji heavy, but I don’t know how comfortable you are with kanji. I read shounen manga for kanji study. I’d recommend if you are pretty new to reading kanji-heavy text then I would suggest playing through pokemon or DQ(3 and 4 are my favorite) or Final Fantasy 1-4, or 5 and 6 advance which have a hiragana only option.

    The key is to get used to how things are said, rather than use difficult vocabulary. With pokemon you’ll learn how to say certain actions pretty well.. you’ll definitely learn yasei…(wild)

    yasei no pokemon wo arawareru

    Scrolling text is your friend when it comes to improving your literacy. Reading speed is important, because the faster your brain can pick up text, the more overall comprehension you will have.

    DQ is similar, you see a LOT of scrolling text from the random battles.

    Final Fantasy is more about the dialogue, so you get a lot more of that. FF4 was my favorite for Japanese reading. I always made the text boxes black to remind me of DQ haha

    But again, if you’re a little more comfortable with kanji, a game like Chrono Trigger, or whatever your favorite kanji-heavy RPG is, will be a very enjoyable experience for you.


    • I’m not rediculously comfortable, but I’m on 500 in RTK, so I feel like I wont have too big of a problem. I mean, I’ll just do what he did, and if I don’t know it, I’ll just skip it.

      And I’ll still be doing lazy kanji while I’m playing this game. It’s obviously gonna take longer than a day. Lol

      Thanks for your input though, I really appreciate it


      • Yeah it’s definitely good to see how the kanji are used in a game like Chrono Trigger. I am guessing you have already played it a jillion times in English like I did, so you’ll already know what to do and where to go.

        I think reading manga with yomigana has been the best tool for me, but after awhile you’ll notice that you just want the kanji. I am in the process of weaning myself off by reading manga without yomigana. I’m trying to find simple material and working my way up.

        I find myself only using a dictionary if there is a kanji that I don’t know AND it keeps popping up. For the most part, I go by radicals as a guide to meaning, and I’ll learn reading from the yomigana.

        Most comprehension comes naturally. I got out of the “UGH I GIVE UP BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE SAYING!!!” phase yeaaaaaaarrrrrs ago. I think it was YuGiOu that popped me out of it.


  2. You’ll also find that Japanese is very much a skimming language. You can even find example in Japanese-made game playthrough videos on nicovideo. They’ll read only the important details and everything else is just understood.

    In news programs they throw a MASSIVE BLOCK of kanji at you. This is so that you will be able to get as many facts as possible without a chance of getting things mixed up. Everything in the news is very to-the-point and full of vocabulary that describes things in a way that a lot of information can be absorbed in a short amount of time.


  3. I loves me some Yugioh. So, were you reading it or playing it? And do you mean the little kana beside the kanji in manga when you say Yomigana? And really, I’m doing this to get me out of the “UGH I GIVE UP BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE SAYING!!!” phase. If I actually learn anything, that would be awesome, though. Although, I just borrowed DBZ:Infinite World, so I’m gonna see if I can change it into Japanese too, to get me some more exposure.


  4. I watched the entire YuGiOu (lost interest starting with GX…I liked the original characters.)

    I want to own the entire manga series though, it’s a lot easier on the eyes…and ears…

    You’ll definitely learn KISAMA from Yuugi… “KAIBA…KISAMA!!!” “PEGASUS…KISAMA!!! “MARIK….KISAMA!!!” “NOAH….KISAMA!!!!”

    and I liked the small self-references like when Yuugi says “mou hitori no boku” (lit. another me)

    That was back when I was 14 I think. I was watching them on the WB every Saturday morning (Saturday morning cartoons ftw lmao) in English and eventually ended up downloading raw episodes from 50 episodes ahead (episode 90, when they were still in the first 30 or so in English) and enjoyed it even though it had subtitles. I think that was what made me realize I could learn this language.


  5. YomiGana (lit. reading kana) refers to anything written above kanji (or to the right on vertical text) and can mean either alternate vocabulary or indicationg (sometimes it’ll say AITSU even though the kanji is the person’s name, it indicates that in speech they were saying AITSU but was understood by the characters that it was the person whose name was written, also indicates that the person isn’t spoken well of…)

    when the actual reading of the kanji is used, i.e. 90% of YomiGana, it is known as FuRiGana. (lit. transliterated Kana) think FukiKaeru (dub)


  6. even thought it had NO subtitles*** damn typos…

    And yes me and my brother were in about a two year long YuGiOu CCG obsession… my dad was into it too…and my cousin… we went to a tournament once, and also a convention in a mall. I think we went on like…a three of four hour drive to get there….


  7. I still play sometimes lol It got BUSTED. And I’m one of the few that actually really liked GX, and I want to finish it, so I’m gonna look for RAWs of the whole series.

    And you know a lot. If you don’t mind, I think it would be really cool for you to write a guest post. I think you could really help a lot of people.


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