Okay so I officially failed the exam again. I had a bit of a hunch that I wouldn’t pass but it is good to get the official results, so I can start planning out how to study this year. I want to make a few changes to how I’m doing things for a variety of reasons.
First, I want to stay motivated. I’ve done some intensive grammar practice in the past and although it was helpful it’s pretty darn grueling. I will eventually make my way back to my trusty copy of Kanzen Master N1 Grammar for some more review, but not after I take a bit of a detour.
I’m continuing to write new sentences using the grammar that I have learned as much as I can. I’m finding this to be really helpful to be honest. I also want to drill some listening a bit more but I will probably hold off on that until shortly before the next test.
Right now I want to focus on something different and more interesting. I’ve started watching Hanzawa Naoki, a really popular drama here that came out last year. Most of the vocabulary is pretty difficult, it is a drama based in the banking industry and they don’t hold back on the jargon. But, the basic plot is simple enough. As in any jDrama the bad guys are always clearly identified with threatening bass-filled music and it is filled with the usual characters.
Other than that, I’ve ventured into buying my first Japanese eBook, which was a bit of a mess. I have also been testing out my Nexus 7 that I got for Christmas. I still haven’t found many good Japanese apps outside of the regular suspects though (Anki and Memrise). Does anyone know of any good Android apps?
My First Japanese Ebook
So, I have two Amazon accounts. One is for the US store and the other is for the Japanese store. This usually doesn’t cause too many problems. I just use the particular store I need to accomplish what I need without issues.
However, the Amazon kindle app is just one app for all countries, which causes problems galore because if you use the same email address for both accounts it won’t know what account you want to use and also you can only register a device to one account (as far as I know).
So, this is where I thought I might be out of luck and not be able to purchase Japanese books. But, alas, there is a solution to this mess. What you have to do is go to your Amazon account in your home country then go to kindle settings. There you should be able to find an option to switch countries. It will prompt you for an address in Japan that you just punch in and presto, you can not only buy kindle books at co.jp, you can also consolidate libraries if you have books at both sites.
This will allow you to buy books from the Japan store as long as you can provide a Japanese address. Keep in mind you don’t have to actually ship anything to that address. You just need an address. You can switch back to your home country at any time as well.
Now, there are some issues with this. If you consolidate your kindle account from some countries you might lose your movies, music, or magazine subscriptions due to that pesky regionalization crap big companies pull. However, books seem to be okay. Anyway, Amazon should warn you before anything drastic happens.
In other words, use at your own risk. Double check everything before you consolidate, but generally it’s a pain free process.
Generally anyway, for me, it was a different story. For me, it didn’t automatically consolidate my accounts. Instead, it gave me a warning and told me to contact customer service. But, while I was awaiting for a response I got impatient and ended up buying the book I wanted through Rakuten.
Rakuten uses a reader called Kobo which behaves very much like the Kindle app. It has a different layout of course and different features, but it is basically the service that Rakuten uses. I’m okay with it except that I downloaded it from the Google US store which means it only has an English dictionary. So, I can’t easily look up Japanese words.
Overall, it is all right though. The book I bought, 七王国の玉座 (Game of Thrones) looks beautiful and is fairly easy to read. I should note that there is a free manga set also available as well for both Kobo and Kindle. It’s called ブラックジャックよろしく. I haven’t been able to read that much of it, but it looks like it is about a young doctor in a hospital. Vocabulary seems a little difficult but might be worth a try if you’d like to practice reading.
Classic Japanese Gaming
When I was a lot younger than I am today, I used to spend many hours playing video games on my SNES, especially RPGs. I was a bit of a geek, but it was usually a social experience because my brother and I would take turns until we finally beat the game.
One SNES game that I have played off and on for the last 15 years or so is Chrono Trigger, which a lot of people say is one of the best RPGs ever. I’m not sure about that but it is definitely fun. My new goal is to try to beat it in Japanese.
Thanks to a really awesome SNES emulator on Android called Super Gnes, I can try to make that dream a reality once again. I’ve only ever managed to make it about halfway, so should be a little bit of fun I can squeeze in here and there.
I really like the fact that with emulators, you can save the game at any time. This makes it a great little thing to whip out and play for a few moments while waiting for something or just to veg out a little before going to sleep. I still don’t know how much free time I will have, but it is worth a shot.
I should mentioned that SNES emulators are available for just about any platform out there even other game consoles like the Playstation 2. It’s just a question of how to get the emulator up and running and finding the roms you need, which I’m sure Google can help you with.
Having enough fun?
What are doing to put fun in your studying? Are you tired of the drilling? Let me know in the comments.