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2071  Media / Brush and Quill / Random thoughts on reading outside your native language on: March 06, 2013, 07:33:52 PM
I've been reading a lot of light novels lately in Japanese.  My Japanese has been steadily improving but I'm still a long way from any kind of fluency.  Light novels are nice to practice with because they're, well, light.  They're a lot easier to read than serious literature (and while they don't put furigana for every word the way a shounen manga does, they do it for less common words, thank god).  And of course it doesn't hurt that I enjoy them.  There's something of a light novel boom in Japan right now, with tons of them being produced and more and more anime series are being based on light novels rather than manga (not to mention all the games and spin-offs, etc).  It's a good time to get into reading them.  But reading novels in a language you're not completely confident is challenging, and in the course of doing so I've observed a few things I thought were interesting:

1.  Action is hard.  I guess this shouldn't realy come as a big surprise, but it's an interesting contrast with, say, manga.  Action in manga is mostly told with images (and maybe some commentary), so action-heavy mangas are obviously much easier to read than dialogue-heavy ones.  But in novel form it's the complete opposite.  Properly describing an action scene with just text is hard, and often involves more advanced vocabulary, metaphors, etc.

When you start out learning a language the words you learn are almost always geared towards conversation, since that's what most people want/need to do most.  But properly describing a scene just takes different words.  Words you don't necessary use in conversation very often.  I often find myself inwardly relieved everytime I make it to a start quotation mark, because I know that things are going to get easier.  Even though I enjoy long flowing descriptions in English (well, assuming they're well-written at least), when it comes to Japanese give me dialogue!  I can handle dialogue.

2.  You can end up really learning a particular author's style.  I found this interesting and quite unexpected.  Keep in mind that I'm pretty much always reading with a dictionary next to me so I can look of words I don't know.  I don't expect that to change anytime soon, it's really just a question of rates.  When I'm in the zone, so to speak, I might only have to look a one word every few pages.  But then there are times when I'm bogged down looking up multiple words in a single sentence...

Anyway, this lead me to an interesting observation.  I noticed that after I've read a few volumes from a particular author, things get a lot easier.  I spend most of my time "in the zone".  This even led me to arrogantly believe that my Japanese had substantially improved and I was ready for harder challenges.  Well, I was getting a hang of something:  I was getting the hang of that author.  Because as soon as I started reading books from different authors it felt like I was back at square one.  But after spending time with a different author my reading speed would once again substantially improve.  Only to feel like I was starting over again when I moved on to yet another author...

This is how I see it:  Really common words are used by pretty much everyone.  They're really common, after all.  But I generally already know the really common words (I have been working on this Japanese thing for a number of years, after all).  It's not the common words that I'm stopping to look up.  My hypothesis is that when you start getting to less common words their usage is far less uniform.  Certain authors will favor certain words, and end up using them a lot.  Far more often than they would appear if you looked average rate over all Japanese literature.  So it's only natural that after a while you start to get used to that author's vocabulary.  But that author's vocabulary isn't really representative of anyone besides that author.  Hence the "starting over" feeling when trying books by someone else.  Each author has their own individual stable of less common words that they favor.

I think this is much less obvious to somebody who's already fluent in the language, since they would generally know the words anyway and wouldn't take much notice.  I'm not necessarily talking about super-rare exotic terminology here.  I just mean words outside the core of staple words that everyone has to use all the time.

Anyway, I wrote more than I had planned so that's enough for now.  Maybe I'll add more observations later if people think this is interesting.
2072  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter launched on: March 06, 2013, 06:10:34 PM
There's some good info here.

It will be interesting to see how Wasteland 2 turns out so we know what this studio can do.  I certainly like what they say they're going to do...
2073  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: March 06, 2013, 02:59:09 PM
Haven't actually played either of those, but wasn't Hunted: The Demon Forge critically panned?  Of course it's also a pretty different style game.

Edit: Aaaand they hit their funding goal already.  Took 6 hours...wonder if that's some kind or record.

If they can keep this up they might surpass Project Eternity's total.  It amazes me how big publishers can completely ignore these kinds of games when there's clearly demand.
2074  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: March 06, 2013, 02:47:00 PM
I had no problem donating to Project Eternity because I knew the pedigree of the people working on it.  As much as I love Planescape: Torment (in fact it might be my favorite game of all time...), I don't feel like I really know anything about the studio inXile.  They toss out a few important names, but they're also missing a lot.  Given all the risk and uncertainty in supporting a Kickstarter I'm hesitant to donate...

But the Kickstarter has been up for less than a day and they've almost hit their goal already, so I'm sure they'll do fine...

Edit: Ah, heck.  I put $20 in for the early supporter digital download 'cause why not.  It's $20.
2075  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Atelier Ayesha on: March 05, 2013, 08:00:56 PM
It's kind of ridiculous that they didn't release a single trailer until the game's release day (though I do love that song...).  And from what I've heard they didn't send out advance copies of the game to any reviewers, so don't expect reviews for a while.  True niche JRPGs often get low priority, but in this case it wasn't even possible for anyone to have a review ready.  Tecmo Koei is really not trying very hard to market this game...

But I'm still too upset over the lack of dual audio to buy it, anyway.  Let me know how it is.
2076  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: March 05, 2013, 01:19:15 AM
It's kind of weird, since Kratos used to have at least some character development.  Sure he was always out for revenge, but at least he had actual reasons.  Particularly in the first game, though even the second isn't too bad in that regard.  In the first PSP game he even displays emotions besides anger.  But as the series went on it just became violence for violence's sake.

Ascension is coming out soon, isn't it?  I don't even care at this point...
2077  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Youtube on: March 04, 2013, 12:46:45 AM
Here's a guy solving a rubik's cube while juggling it.

What did you do today?
2078  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: March 03, 2013, 10:49:53 PM
Why has everyone here seen Twilight?

It honestly never even occurred to me to actually sit down and watch them...
As a standard, I feel I have to watch something before I choose to make fun of it.

Sure, but who says you have to make fun of it?  Can't you just ignore it?
2079  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: March 03, 2013, 06:59:53 PM
Why has everyone here seen Twilight?

It honestly never even occurred to me to actually sit down and watch them...
2080  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: March 02, 2013, 05:00:49 AM
I just imagined Klyde having his tattoo shop in a tree and thought that would be kind of awesome...
2081  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Thread -- Making people crazy since 1987, kupo! on: February 28, 2013, 02:47:19 AM

Haha, yeah I don't buy it.  Their 'source' is an anonymous 2ch post.  Also, novacrystallis.com claimed that FF-Reunion had the details, but I went and looked at that site and there were no details of any kind.  Everything in that novacrystallis.com post came from the 2ch post.

Oh, I've got another tip!  Trails in the Sky SC is coming out in English this summer!  Source: Dice.
2082  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki on: February 28, 2013, 01:30:26 AM
I'd point out there could be people who plan to import, but I'm not sure any such people post here anymore. :/

Hey, I've got plans.  All kinds of plans...

*shifty eyes*
2083  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: February 28, 2013, 01:14:37 AM
You're in an image-posting mood, aren't you Dice...
2084  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: February 27, 2013, 09:34:52 PM
The beginning of Torment is perfectly fine.  Unless you mean like the very beginning (mortuary), which is a little dull, but that part doesn't really last very long.  Things pick up as soon as you're out and wandering around the city.

But Mesh complains about everything...
2085  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: February 27, 2013, 02:31:24 AM
Well stop doing that thing you did!
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