I did read through all of your study log since I joined WK in January, and it was absolutely worth the investment, there are real gems & it inspired me to start my own study log (instead of ‘putting it off until I’m ready’ - I’m 56, if I’m not ready now ……), and even though I read it all recently, I really love the summary, so many useful links…
(I bow in your general direction, I’m not worthy, ….)
& congratulations on reaching level 30
I did read through all of your study log since I joined WK in January, and it was absolutely worth the investment, there are real gems & it inspired me to start my own study log (instead of ‘putting it off until I’m ready’ - I’m 56, if I’m not ready now ……), and even though I read it all recently, I really love the summary, so many useful links…
Made it to level 31!
Welcome to hell! I’m glad to finally be officially halfway there . The last level took me thirteen days. It has… not been the easiest past couple weeks for me (hence why this post is a little late), but I’m still here.
I realized I left out something in the summary post, which is the Let’s Durtle the Scenic Route thread! So I edited that post to include a little bit about it.
I did not hear back from the Japanese store I contacted, but I was able to problem solve the issue on my own thanks to google. I found some joshi wrestling fans talking about having the same problem ordering from a different store, haha. It turns out to be an issue with online stores powered by BASE, which is a common platform for independent sellers. Apparently the problem is that the store won’t accept my card if my billing address doesn’t match my Tenso shipping address. The website forces me to input a Japanese address for the billing address, so I can’t even give them my American address, and therefore the order will always fail. The easiest workaround is to use a service like White Rabbit Express instead of Tenso, since they place the order for you. However, they also cost more, so it’s not ideal.
So, I now have a new goal: get good enough at Japanese so that I can communicate this problem to BASE clearly and effectively so that hopefully the platform will fix this and make it easier for international customers to order from all of these stores! Things like this are why I definitely do want my ability to produce the language to be at least passable.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 2238 (and 1537 in KW!)
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
I had a moment where I was really grateful that I’d learned some Japanese when Hyper Misao posted a really heavy tweet and I was able to actually read it (trigger warning for a mention of past attempted suicide if you click on it). Misao later posted her own translation of it into English, so I would have been able to read it regardless, but I’m still glad that I can read things like this now, because it’s really important. Misao is honestly one of the most inspiring wrestlers to me. She’s the wrestler who got me into TJPW, and her work continues to be incredibly innovative and entertaining. I’m so glad that she got past that rough time in her life.
Her match with Sanshiro Takagi was awesome, and I ended up just completely sobbing at the end of it. I’ll probably go into a little more detail about what the wrestlers specifically said when I get around to translating the recap, but let’s just say that as someone who is currently very depressed and who is using wrestling to cope, Misao’s story here hits especially hard for me right now. She is for me what Takagi and Jun Kasai were for her.
On a more topic-relevant note, at the beginning of the match, Misao brought out a few signs, and I was pleased that I could read both of them! One of them said 大社長 with the 大 crossed out. It’s a reference to “big boss” Takagi, whom Misao thinks is perhaps not so big anymore, haha. The other was a banner that had Takagi’s name, 高木三四郎, running down it, and then two kanji that I had to read kind of quickly which were, I believe, 打倒, which is a new word for me that apparently means knockdown, overthrow, defeat, etc. So, the banner said “defeat Sanshiro Takagi”.
Shortly after Misao’s tweet, there was another instance that was not exactly a “fun” encounter with Japanese, but it was a moment where I was grateful that I could understand the language. I saw a tweet reporting that Mia Ikumi, the creator of Tokyo Mew Mew, had passed away. Tokyo Mew Mew was the first Japanese media I really loved, and it was responsible for my very first attempts to learn Japanese as a young teenager (I made it as far as memorizing a handful of hiragana and a few scattered words, and that was it). I was really looking forward to the remade anime, which is coming out this year, and which Ikumi had been supervising. I really wanted to experience TMM all over again now that I actually have more Japanese knowledge. I think, from reading the obituary, that the plan is to keep moving forward with the show, so I will still watch it if possible, but it’s incredibly tragic that Ikumi herself won’t get to see the final result of her labor.
On a less heavy note, I finally officially learned 婚, which I already knew from the word 結婚 (marriage). I had suspected that the phonetic component of 婚 was 昏, which is a kanji I’d learned on my own from wrestling (I first encountered it in the word 黄昏る in a tweet from Takagi, meaning “to fade into dusk”, “to wane”, “to look melancholic”. Then I encountered it again in a DDT recap not long after in the word 昏倒 , which means swoon or faint). Both 婚 and 昏 have the same on’yomi reading, こん, which combined with the visual similarity seemed like a telltale sign to me.
So I was excited to finally learn 婚, thinking that for once in my life, I’d already learned a new kanji’s somewhat rare phonetic component. But unfortunately, the Keisei script gently let me down, haha. This is the message that greeted me: “The kanji 「婚」 has an unknown or contested origin, or its phonetic mark is too obscure to be useful. Stay tuned for more information in future versions.” I suppose maybe they thought 昏 was “too obscure to be useful”. Or maybe I’m just completely off the mark, and the appearance of a shared component is just a coincidence! In any case, it still works as a mnemonic aid for me.
Also, I learned 監督 and was like: “Yes! I finally learned the かんとく in ‘Taguchi Kantoku’!” Which is one of Ryusuke Taguchi’s nicknames. It came up a lot when he was tagging with Rocky Romero as the Mega Coaches (they’d use the word to refer to each other). So, the first time 監督 came up for review, I happily typed “coach”, only to have my answer rejected because it’s not the one WK wanted .
I googled “田口隆祐 監督” to double check that this is, in fact, the same かんとく they use for Taguchi, and yes, it appears to be! I was amused by the related searches that came up (I could read all of them!). People wanted to know answers to the obvious classic questions: marriage, children, his classmates, entrance music, etc.
I also found this tweet of Chris Charlton’s on the matter, which amused me. Apparently the ambiguity of the word has confused native Japanese speakers, too.
On another NJPW note, I hadn’t been watching the post-match comments because NJPW’s product has just been less engaging lately and I wasn’t really invested in any of the stories, but I started watching them again because I was curious about a few things, like the Guerillas of Destiny getting kicked out of Bullet Club. As it turns out, my understanding has noticeably improved since the last time I watched the comments, haha! I’m able to pick out far more words that I know, and am also able to read many of the Japanese subtitles on the English lines. They’re honestly pretty handy for helping me figure out better ways to translate some lines in the TJPW recaps.
I also watched a couple NJPW shows with Japanese commentary instead of English, and I was a little bit blown away by how much I could actually understand. I still couldn’t understand the vast majority of what they were saying, but my Anki cards for wrestling words have absolutely paid off, and learning a few common wrestling verbs and such is super helpful. I’ve been noticing a lot more words that I know on twitter, too. Now that I’m past the initial beginner hump, it feels like a whole new world is starting to open up to me. I know enough kanji, vocab, and grammar that I’m finally able to put a lot of it together.
I’m also getting more and more out of the youtube chat for the occasional house shows that DDT streams there. I can just passively read a lot of the comments now without even needing Yomichan! The last show was pretty funny, because there was a baby in the venue who kept making noise, and whenever the baby would cry or laugh, everyone would comment on it, haha. Someone commented that the baby understands wrestling well, “赤ちゃんプロレスよくわかってるなあｗｗｗ”, which amused me.
The video quality wasn’t the greatest for most of the show, due to poor signal from the venue making streaming difficult (they ultimately had to give up and stream the show on twitter instead). At one point, the quality maxed out at 144p. One fan commented: “秋山さんのポリゴン数がスゴすぎてガクガク”. Which I believe translates roughly into: “Akiyama-san’s polygon count is really terrible and wobbly.”
Kazuki Hirata was briefly part of Eruption for one match, and he showed up looking the part, having borrowed Saki Akai’s entrance jacket. I had the stream open in a small window, so I was a little confused at first when I saw this comment from a fan: “平田の体に落書きが”. I recognized the word 落書き, graffiti, from WK, but was unsure how this would apply to Hirata’s body. Then I made the window bigger and was able to see that he had actually drawn on fake tattoos, haha, so that he could match Yukio Sakaguchi, who has lots of real ones.
I also laughed at this tweet from a Japanese fan after Jeff Hardy debuted in AEW. AEW now has four Matts and two Jeffs (including two separate Matt & Jeff tag teams). I realized that I would actually fail this quiz, haha, because I can’t match either first or last name to the two members of 2.0. But I could read all of the katakana!
A friend shared this tweet with translations of a bunch of English idioms into Japanese. I realized that there were some on here that I had never even heard of. Then my Australian friend chimed in and said she was familiar with all of them, haha, so it’s really a guide to specifically Australian English idioms in Japanese. Reading the Japanese actually helped me understand them.
I also enjoyed this tweet that has a diagram for helping distinguish the differences between 桜, 梅, and 桃 blossoms. It was really cool to be able to read the whole diagram and understand it without needing to look anything up! There were a few kanji/words I didn’t know, but could figure out from context.
みんなの日本語 Lesson 26 – Lesson 27
I finished the first lesson in book two of MNN, and just started the next! So far, the earlier chapters seem to be heavier on new vocab. Flipping through it, it seems like the last chapters have less, which was also the case for book one.
I was glad to see that lesson 27 introduces potential verbs. This is another thing that I’ve repeatedly looked up while reading, but never quite managed to fully wrap my brain around.
Overall, book two of MNN seems to be more or less the same format as book one, so my strategy remains unchanged! One thing I found interesting is that the foreword mentions that MNN is intended primarily for those who have already left full-time education (though it can also be recommended as a textbook for courses). This is why I think it’s strange when people say that MNN can’t be used by self-learners, haha. Its use as a textbook is actually secondary to its original purpose!
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 27 kanji! (I removed my disclaimer because it’s covered in my summary post, haha).
Reading in Spanish (switching to Wonder: La Lección de August, a translation of the YA novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio)
I ended up putting Tempestad aside for now, because I was processing some of our new Spanish language books at the library I work at, and when I flipped through Wonder, I noticed that it seemed extremely readable, so I thought it would probably be a better choice for my current level of skill. I checked it out without knowing really anything about the actual plot, haha.
Having read the first few chapters, I definitely think it was a good choice! Wonder is a great book for a beginner because it’s written in first person present (!) tense, and it’s a young adult novel with very straightforward, everyday language. Plus, the chapters are extremely short. It’s by far the easiest book I’ve read in Spanish so far, and I only have to look up a few words each page instead of a few words each sentence .
I do want to get back to Tempestad at some point, but I think I’ll get more out of reading something a little closer to my level for now. Since the library’s Spanish collection is continuing to improve, I might pick out something else from there to read next if another book catches my eye. Wonder is decently long (a little over 400 pages), so it’ll probably take me a while to finish it.
Regarding reading in Japanese, I… got even more behind with 大海原と大海原 . I ended up just not having any time to read manga because I was working hard at trying to get some TJPW stuff translated before their Ryogoku show on March 19.
The good news is I finished both press conferences! The two of them combined were over 8,500 characters, and they took me several days of hard work to finish . I was very intimidated at first, but I did manage to get them done, and the amount of words I mined wasn’t even that bad!
As usual, click the posts below for stuff that I found interesting or confusing. The March 7 presser forced me to learn some mahjong words, haha.
2022.03.05 Tokyo Joshi 2022 Winter — (19 words added)
2022.03.08 TJPW Press Conference — (45 words added)
2022.03.07 TJPW Press Conference — (21 words added)
My wrestling deck now has a total of 432 words in it! That’s quite impressive! I definitely can feel the difference in terms of my listening comprehension during shows and my ability to read tweets and such.
I realized that neither of the kanji in TJPW wrestler Rika Tatsumi’s name, 辰巳リカ, were in WK, so I went ahead and added them to Anki. They’re both pretty fun kanji, actually! 辰 is the kanji for the sign of the dragon, and it’s actually a phonetic component used in several other kanji, including 震 earthquake (level 20 WK), 振 shake (level 26 WK), 娠 pregnant (level 38 WK), and 唇 lips (level 47 WK). It gives all of those kanji its on’yomi reading, しん. This kanji is also apparently in the word for cinnabar, 辰砂!
巳 is the kanji for the sign of the snake or serpent, and I don’t think this one is a phonetic component. Both of these kanji are apparently N1 kanji, and both are among the 2,500 most used kanji. Rika got the 辰巳 name from Tatsumi Fujinami, who was nicknamed “The Dragon” and who I believe is the person who invented the dragon sleeper and the dragon suplex. Rika calls herself “The White Dragon” as a reference to Fujinami, and she uses several of his moves.
I feel like there’s always an adjustment period when adding any new resource where it feels a little overwhelming at first, but then it settles down a bit and you get used to it (this is why I usually recommend people add new resources one at a time, haha). I feel like I’ve maybe reached this point with the wrestling vocab, over two and a half months since I started adding it.
At first, it took me quite a while to really chew through the new cards I was adding to Anki, and I felt like I was constantly forgetting words and having to reset their intervals. I started to worry a bit that I’d have to slow down even further, because it just wasn’t sticking faster than I was adding new cards.
But I realized as I was adding the press conference vocab (right on the heels of the next MNN lesson vocab) that it was taking me much fewer repetitions to learn the new words, and it just felt less overwhelming in general. I think my brain finally got used to this new format. It helps that I’ve learned enough words now so that there are fewer unknowns in the sentences, and I have a better sense of the nuances of common kanji used in wrestling words, and I get a lot of them reinforced when listening to Japanese commentary, plus I can actually read more of the source sentences that I’m pulling the words from (which are included on my cards).
Maybe it’s just further evidence that Japanese gets easier to learn the more you learn, which is unfortunate for beginners . I’m not sure I’ve really managed to cut down the time I’m spending on my wrestling Anki deck each day, but it sure feels like I’ve managed to reduce the energy it takes to go through it. I suppose I could try to check my stats to see if my accuracy has improved, though honestly I’m staying out of my Anki statistics for the sake of my own peace of mind. I micromanage my WK stats enough as it is .
I’m about to have another big recap to translate for TJPW’s Ryogoku show, so that’ll probably keep me occupied for the next week or so!
A friend of mine linked me to this site with a long list of idiomatic expressions. The site says they’re for “advanced and post-advanced learners” but anyone who has read any native media at all will surely have encountered these, haha. I see loads of sayings that I currently have circulating in Anki. Honestly, Yomichan already seems to have most of these, but it could potentially be handy for figuring out an expression with omitted particles. It would have helped me with “調子乗る”, for example.
Also, here’s a twitter thread with some Japanese words with nuances that are likely to trip you up. A small thing, but useful to know!
- Overall Progress Bars — This is another script for adding a WK progress bar to the top of your dashboard. This one has a bar representing each level, with different colors representing the SRS stages of all of the items in that level. There are three display options, and these two are my favorites:
It hasn’t exactly been the greatest or most productive past few weeks for me because I have been, shall we say, extremely depressed. I think the thing that really triggered it was the mask mandate dropping in my state, which means that my workplace is no longer requiring masks, and I feel extremely unsafe. But I’ve still somehow been able to keep going with Japanese.
Honestly, it occurred to me that part of the reason why I’ve been able to keep studying even when my mental health is extremely bad is because studying Japanese is the one thing in my life I actually have complete control over. Everything else at work, my home, my friendships, the wrestling world, the community at large, etc. is subject to the decisions of other people. But I can do my SRS reviews every day, and I can diligently do workbook exercises, or read manga, or translate pro wrestling recaps, or practice writing kanji, or do whatever studying I want, regardless of what else is going on around me. It’s genuinely incredibly calming and reassuring.
I’m definitely neglecting some responsibilities that I probably shouldn’t be neglecting, but, well, as long as I’m able to keep studying, I feel hard pressed to complain too much about my general lack of focus. If I can get fluency in a foreign language out of this, that’ll be more than any other period of depression has ever given me.
I remain extremely grateful for this forum, which is a welcome distraction. Thank you so much to everyone who likes my posts, and everyone who sends comments! Truthfully, y’all help keep me going, both with Japanese and also with life, haha. It’s nice to feel like at least one thing that I’m doing is touching other people in a positive way.
I don’t know if I really have specific goals in mind for this next level, besides surviving. It would be nice to finish at least one chapter of 大海原と大海原, but if I can’t manage that, it’s okay.
Onward to level 32! 行くぞ！
I do the same! I definitely just cheat it in as fine enough though heh. 監督 is a word I kind of have a history with because in a visual novel I read before there is a character mostly just referred to by that title. It emphasizes how hard translation can be because the VN actually outright cheated in English, and it’s only after learning some Japanese that I realized why that part of it didn’t make sense. At a point in the story when things are meant to be somewhat misunderstood as sinister, characters mention calling for “the manager” in the translation… but it’s a character that at all other times they just call coach. Turns out in Japanese it was all 監督
Anyway, sounds like you’re making great progress, glad to hear it.
Ok I have to admit I was on my way to do something online with a friend and hadn’t fully finished reading, and you really are doing well with reading tweets, figuring out press conference vocab, etc. But leaving it as “hey great progress” probably sounds a bit bad in light of the last section I got to a little later, heh.
I can relate a lot to Japanese being a useful distraction from everything else for sure. Really sorry to hear about the mask mandate dropping and it’s very reasonable to be worried as a result… I never really had that experience because no one in this state ever wore a mask even when we briefly pretended to have a mandate , but that in itself put me through a lot of stress and frustration directed outwardly at people. I kinda still don’t think I can manage to not feel negatively towards the people around me after going through this whole experience. Not to turn this into being about me! But this whole disaster situation has weighed heavily on everyone mentally, too. Just want to say I very much respect anyone like you who is, after all this exhausting time, still managing to be really vigilant about this.
I really hope you can stay safe, and what you’ve managed to keep doing remains impressive.
Don’t worry, I figured that you of all people probably understood
I’m sorry that you have to live somewhere like that. I live on, well, the bad side of one of the better states . It definitely has made me feel pretty negative toward the city I grew up in, though I’d never been particularly positive about it. I’d hoped that working at a college would be better, because theoretically a college should care more about science, and it has been better than the rest of the city (low bar), but unfortunately colleges are businesses before they are institutions of science .
Made it to level 32!
It took over 14 days, which is a little on the longer end, but my life got a bit busier over the past week (hence why this update was a little late), so I didn’t mind it. My daily WK workload is about the same every day, but I was definitely slacking on my reading and grammar study because there were several days where I just didn’t have the time. I got the minimum done that I wanted to accomplish, though!
I also followed a whim and randomly decided that I wanted to learn how to embroider, after wanting to learn how to do it for years! This was my first embroidery project (yes, this is relevant to my study log):
(Not that I really need the reminder )
I wrote a little more about it in the thread with the embroidery pattern .
Also, I noticed that I have now burned over a quarter of the items on WK! I still have a long way to go, but it’s cool to see how far I’ve managed to come.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 2357 (and 1651 on KW!)
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
DDT’s 25th Anniversary show on March 20 was fun! It started with a powerpoint presentation that was making a very unconventional argument about phoenixes to try to tie them into DDT’s (very silly) lore, and it ended up teaching me the word 不死鳥.
I’m starting to be able to read more and more of Super Sasadango Machine’s powerpoint slides, though I can’t really read much of it fast enough to keep up, and usually I just catch a few scattered words and kanji and have to fill in the context from the live translation thread.
The most exciting news to come out of the anniversary show is that DDT and AEW now have a formal partnership. Of course, if you follow DDT even a little bit, this wasn’t exactly shocking news, haha, because Takagi has been talking about their relationship for years, and it’s clear the two companies are on good terms and were already sharing talent. Recently, he talked about heavily encouraging the wrestlers to work on their English, with the hopes of it helping them succeed internationally. I have my own opinions on what DDT (and TJPW) could be doing to increase their following among international fans, but it’s neat that they’ll be able to do more stuff with AEW. DDT has a bit of a weird reputation among western fans, so a lot of the really wild stuff probably won’t get to make it onto primetime live American TV, haha, but their wrestlers are very skilled at just regular wrestling, too. Konosuke Takeshita, who just lost the KO-D Openweight title, is going on a long excursion to America, and hopefully they’ll give him a nice spotlight.
I feel like both AEW and DDT/TJPW are in a position where they could use a lot more Japanese and English support respectively to make their storylines truly accessible to the audience on the other side of the ocean, but hopefully things are moving in a positive direction there. In any case, I’m working very hard to overcome my own reliance on translators!
Speaking of that, DDT just did another Hiragana Muscle show! I was wondering what I was going to do about it, because I wanted to watch it, but was unsure how much I’d be able to get out of it without good listening comprehension and possibly no live twitter translation, but the decision ended up getting taken out of my hands anyway because they didn’t stream it live this time, and the shows are only available on VOD. The person who runs the new DDT English account expressed a desire to want to do some sort of translation for it (it’s one of his favorite wrestling things as well), but it’s unclear what format that might take, or if there’s even enough interest to make that worth his while.
Something that’s kind of funny is that Yuki Ueno, who plays one of the main characters, had to miss several of the shows because he was sick (not with covid), and instead of changing the show, they ended up just running it as planned, except without anyone physically playing his character haha (including the match he had, which his opponent wrestled as if he were fighting an invisible man. If you don’t watch wrestling, invisible man matches are a staple of indie wrestling). He was able to make it to the very last performance, though.
I saw this fanart of Yuki Ueno, and I was pleased that I could read and understand most of the text on the image, except for what I believe is his character’s name. I also realized that I can now read 必殺技男子, thanks to the time I’ve been spending on Anki. Ueno’s character is a member of the Finisher Boys, who are reincarnated gods of wrestling. The 必殺技男子 are going on indefinite hiatus, unfortunately, due to Takeshita’s excursion to America.
There was a bit of discussion on wrestling twitter concerning Asuka/Veny’s pronouns (when talking about her in English). When Veny appeared in AEW, the English commentary used they/them pronouns for her, and other English commentators at other shows produced by different people, such as the Hana Kimura Memorial show, also used they/them pronouns for her. This was because English speakers saw Asuka referring to herself as “genderless” when the word she was actually using was ジェンダーレス. Apparently, the term is used more as a catch-all for gender nonconformity rather than “nonbinary” as “genderless” suggests. Asuka is transgender but not nonbinary, and one promotor spoke to her about her pronouns, and she clarified that she would prefer she/her pronouns to be used over they/them. Good to know!
In other wrestling news, we got another Golden Lovers twitter interaction! This one was very short, but still managed to have unknown grammar (to me), so I ended up relying on a friend’s translation anyway, haha! It occurred to me with this that we’ve now seen three twitter interactions over the past year or so, and in every single one of them, Ibushi was the one who initiated the conversation, and Kenny still has yet to directly reply to him (the only time he did, he replied through Michael Nakazawa’s translation instead of directly to the original tweet). It’ll still be a while yet before anything can directly happen with the story, but it’s nice to see.
I did have one small major victory in listening comprehension. I was watching the latest TJPW show, and there was a spot where Itoh and Raku both got up on the turnbuckles and said something, and I could tell that Itoh was saying her usual line: “who’s the cutest in the world?”, to which Raku answered “Itoh-chan!”, and then Raku said something, which I heard as “who’s the sleepiest in the world?” to which Itoh answered “Raku!” I was pretty sure that I heard ねむい, haha, and it made sense with her character, and sure enough, Mr. Haku happened to confirm this on twitter. I was right!!
I call it a small major victory because it was a very small thing, but I find it most satisfying when I can understand the jokes. Out of everything, that’s when I truly feel like I’m actually making progress toward fluency.
みんなの日本語 Lesson 27 – Lesson 28
Lesson 27 of MNN ended with an exercise asking me to introduce the hero of a book or comic that I read as a kid and talk about the things that they can do (practicing the potential form). I struggled a bit with this at first because all of the things I wanted to talk about required fantasy/science fiction vocab that I just didn’t have. Eventually I settled on talking about Tokyo Mew Mew, haha, because thanks to 大海原と大海原 and a few other things, I felt more equipped to string together actually relevant sentences (I knew the word 魔法少女, for instance).
I didn’t really have the vocab for talking about, like, magical transformation, but I figured out a way to say one thing without using specialized vocabulary: “いちごは魔法でイリオモテヤマネコになれます”. I tried to talk about Ichigo being able to fight, but almost all of the fighting-related vocab that I had was specifically wrestling vocab, so I had to go with something else unless I wanted it to sound like Tokyo Mew Mew was a wrestling show, haha.
For exercises like that, I tend to avoid dipping into WK vocab unless it’s vocab that I’ve seen elsewhere enough to have at least a slight idea of how to actually use it. I frequently get thrown off by some words taking a different particle than I expected with some verbs, so I think it’s a good idea to stick to words I’ve actually seen used in context a lot. One of my friends suggested that I pick an easy character to write about instead of trying to pick something that I actually read as a child, but personally I like trying to figure out a way to talk about things that are interesting to me, even if I have to resort to talking about it in a bit of a roundabout way. Feels like good practice for actual conversation, haha.
I also learned the lesson 28 vocab and started working through the lesson! It’s going well so far, though I haven’t gotten very far along, due to being busy.
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 28 kanji!
Reading in Spanish (Wonder: La Lección de August)
I think I was wrong about Wonder being written mainly in present tense, because although the very beginning of the book was, the rest of it seems to be mostly past tense. It’s not really a problem for me, at this point, but it might make it slightly less absolute beginner friendly than I thought.
The book is going very well for me so far! It feels almost like when I first started reading chapter books in elementary school, haha, and read a lot of stuff that was above my level and somehow managed to figure them out. Most of the time, I can guess what words and phrases mean from the context, so I’ve been tempted not to even look many of them up, but I want to make sure I’m actually internalizing as much as possible so that my next book is easier.
I switched to using Reverso Context for my main dictionary instead of a monolingual one. The monolingual one was just taking too much time, and with as fast as I’m able to read this book, since I’m largely mostly just confirming what I already thought a word/phrase meant, I’ve really been benefiting from reading the example sentences and their translations. It helps confirm the tone. I think I’ll save the monolingual dictionary for when I’m at a more advanced level.
Unfortunately, I fell even further behind on 大海原と大海原 . However, I signed up for the spring read every day challenge, so hopefully I’ll be making progress on the book again soon!
I also committed to attempting to read something both in Japanese and in Spanish every single day. Some other people decided to also challenge themselves to read every day in multiple languages, so it should be fun!
With the TJPW translations, it took me over a week to finish translating the Ryogoku show . I could’ve finished it a little faster if I’d been less busy. Unfortunately, I’m now a show behind, though I think I’ll be able to catch up because the more recent shows aren’t as long as Grand Princess was (7600+ characters ), so there’s a lot less translation work for me to do.
Here’s a longer post I wrote about the process of translating the post-match comments for the show:
2022.03.19 TJPW Grand Princess — (65 words added)
For all of that, only adding 65 words isn’t bad! My wrestling deck now has 496 total words in it, and it’s work that is definitely paying off. I wonder how long it’ll be before the count of new words starts significantly tapering off haha. It’s really exciting when I read a paragraph that’s full of words I’ve already SRS’d and realize that I can pretty much read the whole thing. This is still a little uncommon, but it’s happening more and more.
I noticed something cool in one of the flash cards that I added recently. It was for the word 花道. I installed a monolingual dictionary with images, though for the most part, the only images I was seeing were stroke order charts for kanji . But for some reason, 花道 had a nifty little illustration!
Look at this! I wish more of my cards came with illustrations. I realize I can add them myself, but it’s easier if Yomichan does the work for me.
Someone launched a new project called Yakuaru, which is a supplemental J-E glossary for media translators/localizers. It’s intended to help people build their own glossaries and find inspiration/context from ideas from other people in the localization community. I haven’t poked around much yet (and they’re still building it), but it looks really handy so far, even if you aren’t doing translation/localization work.
It’s strange to think of myself as someone doing translation work, but I guess I am, even though my work doesn’t have a large audience (and I wouldn’t want it to right now ) and frequently has errors. I’ve already improved a lot since I started doing this a few months ago, though, and I’ll continue to get better and better the more I practice. At the very least, I’ve earned the right to have opinions on localization discourse, haha.
On a different subject, I dug up a link to Hiroko Townsend’s thesis, which was what the Keisei semantic-phonetic composition script was originally based on. I found the link for someone else on the forum, but ended up skimming the thesis myself because it’s a subject I’m interested in. I think I’m far enough along in kanji study that I could actually understand most of it, which surprised me. Townsend has a section on pedagogical implications at the end, where she talks about how phonetic components can be incorporated into teaching kanji.
I wonder what she’d think of the Keisei script. She seems to be of the opinion (based on existing research) that introducing oral/aural skills prior to reading/writing skills is more beneficial, but WK takes the complete opposite approach. Personally, I think the way the Keisei script is set up, paired with WK’s SRS, is actually a fantastic way to learn (though I think it could be improved by changing the order the kanji are taught in). I never actually studied the principles outlined in this thesis, yet I feel like I have an intuitive understanding of them, and have already been able to make use of them when learning new kanji outside of WK. There have been multiple occasions where I could successfully guess the reading of an unknown kanji just from the phonetic component.
Something that’s interesting to me is that it appears that the Keisei script has actually encouraged a lot of WK users to further study this. I looked up The Kanji Code again on Amazon, and multiple reviews for the book specifically mention finding it because of WK! It’s an aspect of kanji study that doesn’t really seem to get discussed much outside of here, I guess maybe because it doesn’t seem to be taught a lot in schools, and many self-taught Japanese language learners online hate WK’s method and think that kanji should be learned entirely through vocab encountered in the wild, which sort of runs contrary to this approach.
I also found a second article on identifying phonetic components of kanji for learners of Japanese. This one was published in a journal a few years later, by different authors. I’ve only barely looked at it, but thought the link was worth holding onto.
I did read a bit, though, and one learner (on page 237) said that because there isn’t a reliable way of guessing the pronunciation of kanji through its phonetic-semantic composition, “they are useful for remembering a reading a reading one has already learned, and not a lot more.” I guess I do view them primarily as a mnemonic aid, but to me, that is more than half of the battle, as far as learning goes, haha. If I learn a new kanji in WK and its on’yomi reading comes from one of its components, I’m way more likely to remember it in the long term (compared to trying to use one of WK’s mnemonics or creating my own), and the combination of a phonetic and semantic component really does a lot to cement kanji into my brain.
To me, it’s a bit similar to rendaku. There are some rules to how rendaku generally works, but also plenty of exceptions, so memorizing the rules only has a chance of actually helping you with any given word, and can’t really be relied on. But I feel like I’ve benefited heavily from the rendaku info script just because of the sheer quantity of vocab in WK, and the many, many opportunities I’ve had to practice the rules and get a feel for some of the kinds of words they tend to work for, and some of the kinds of words that tend to be exceptions.
I think with both cases, studying the rules alone probably wouldn’t do much for me, but being aware of the rules while individually considering thousands of separate items does actually give a tangible boost to my ability to memorize readings and also figure out how to approach unfamiliar words/kanji.
That’s a lot of paragraphs about a rather dry subject, sorry! I’m honestly considering trying to contact Hiroko Townsend after I finish WK, just to let her know the impact of her work on thousands of learners here (if she’s not already aware of it). I’m really curious to know what she thinks of WK, and if she approves of the implementation of the Keisei script for teaching this concept. It would be interesting to see someone do a study comparing WK users who use the Keisei script and WK users who don’t! I wonder how much of a difference it actually makes.
- WK Extra study mover — This script allows you to move the extra study UI (or hide it completely). At first, I wasn’t really bothered by the position of the new feature, but after having it for a couple weeks and ignoring it completely in favor of the self-study userscript, I started to feel like it was taking up valuable real estate, so I used this script to move it to the sidebar instead.
Hopefully these next couple weeks should be a little less busy for me. My main goal is to keep progressing through WK and my textbook, and to read something every day in both Spanish and Japanese to keep up with the challenge! I hope to catch up on the TJPW translations and also finally start making up ground on 大海原と大海原. I’ll also be adjusting to a new work schedule, but I don’t think it’ll be too hard to fit my studies around it.
Onward to level 33! 行くぞ！
Your embroidery is wonderful! The durtle and crab made me LOL–as did the written sentiment! 100% A+
Made it to level 33!
It took a little over thirteen days this time. Looking ahead, this current level might go a little faster, because I think I might have to weight my daily lesson ratio slightly more in favor of kanji, since there are less vocab items and my lesson buffer has gotten lower. I’ll just play it by ear and see how things go.
This update was a little late because I was trying to finish some translations, and also had to do my taxes, haha.
Something WK-related that caught my eye this level was the kanji 複, which WK has assigned the meaning “duplicate.” It consists of the spirit + black hole radicals (the black hole radical is actually 复, a non-WK kanji meaning return, which neither jisho nor Yomichan have much data on, but which the Keisei script informs me is a phonetic component contributing the ふく reading for at least four other kanji, including 複).
WK’s mnemonic for this one isn’t really anything special, but that’s okay, because I have a better one. If you’re a fanzine history enthusiast like me, you might be familiar with the existence of spirit duplicators. It’s similar to a mimeograph, if you’ve heard of those, haha. Both technologies were eventually supplanted by photocopiers, so they’re not used much today. The “spirit” in the name refers to the alcohols used during the printing process, not “spirit” in the sense of the WK radical, but for a mnemonic, that doesn’t matter. I just thought it was a really neat coincidence.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 2489 (and 1756 on KW)!
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
Some of the most exciting news in the wrestling world over the past couple weeks was the announcement that AEW is going to be airing on NJPW World—with Japanese commentary! It’s huge news for the Japanese fans, because it’ll make AEW much more accessible to them (apparently fite.tv is very difficult for Japanese speakers to navigate, which I absolutely understand, because sometimes even I struggle ), though apparently they aren’t translating the promos, which is a huge shame (well, some of them are pretty bad, so it’s occasionally a blessing).
Unfortunately these shows are region-locked, so people watching from outside of Japan will
need to use a VPN be out of luck. It seems like a fun way to practice listening comprehension, though, especially since they’re bringing in NJPW wrestlers to do guest commentary for them. My Japanese is definitely not where it needs to be for me to get much out of this yet, but I want to hear what Shingo Takagi thinks about all of the AEW wrestlers!
Coming right up on the heels of that announcement was the announcement that some AEW matches will also be airing on CyberFight’s streaming service, Wrestle Universe! This seemingly only applies to matches containing currently signed DDT/TJPW wrestlers, but it’s still huge. I don’t even know how to convey how absurdly wild it is that AEW manages to have this kind of relationship with both of those companies at the same time. Apparently they’re even sharing a commentator: Haruo Murata is doing work for both companies.
I’m thrilled that both DDT fans and NJPW fans will get to experience AEW like this. I’m especially touched at the thought that if and when the Golden Lovers do get back together, DDT, NJPW, and AEW fans alike will probably all get to enjoy them . This brings together all three of their eras. It’s definitely thanks to Kenny Omega that this happened, so it really does feel like the Golden Lovers are at the heart of it. Maybe love can change the world after all?
There are some rumblings of a rumor that AEW and NJPW are planning a supershow together this summer. It’s supposedly happening on my birthday (June 23), actually, though there is absolutely no way I am going to any sort of wrestling show during a pandemic, so I will just have to watch from my own home. Of course, wrestling rumors being how they are, you have to take everything with a grain of salt until it actually happens.
Getting a little more back on topic (this is a study log and not a wrestling log, right? ), Tetsuya Endo had his 10th anniversary match in DDT, which was also Konosuke Takeshita’s send-off match before his AEW excursion. At the end of the show, Endo, Takeshita, and Yuki Ueno (who is going to be challenging Endo for his belt soon) all spoke on the mic at the same corner. Here’s a clip from a fan in attendance, complete with transcriptions of what the other two said to Takeshita as he left.
DDT’s English translator chose to translate this as Endo saying “Takeshita, I hate you” and then Yuki saying “Takeshita, I love you”. The translator then said on his personal account that having to choose between “like” and “love” (for 大好き) is hard, but “love” will always be better. I certainly agree with his priorities, haha. Here are a couple fan photos of this moment of “大嫌いと大好き”.
It’s an interesting dynamic between the three of them because Endo and Takeshita’s fates will probably always be bound together at the very core of the company, but Yuki isn’t quite there yet. He’s good friends with Takeshita, but is still in his shadow, which did not go particularly well for Endo and Takeshita back when they were still a tag team… It almost feels like the central question of whether or not Endo or Takeshita can carry the company has been resolved (the answer is that they both can), and the new question is whether Yuki can stand with the two of them yet or not.
As it turns out, we got a translation thread for Hiragana Muscle 6 after all! Something kind of funny about this show that I think I mentioned last time: Yuki Ueno played the literal main character, but he got sick and couldn’t be in the show. So, DDT being DDT, they just went ahead and did the entire show with his character being portrayed by an invisible man, ahaha. This was the version that the DDT English account did a translation thread for. It got surprisingly emotional even despite this.
Hiragana Muscle traditionally has at least one powerpoint, which I always look forward to. I appreciated this slide explaining the concept of the マルチバース. I actually just learned the word 複数 this level, and of course I already knew 宇宙. This being wrestling, the point about the existence of multiverses ended up devolving into being an ad for their streaming service, Wrestle Universe, haha.
The show was sponsored by a (fictional) group of traditional handcrafters famous for Buddhist implements. But instead of 凶器で反則, they wanted to do 興器で販促 (thanks WK for helping me understand that pun). One of the items was the most beautiful chair in existence (they seriously outdid themselves with the props for this show. That chair looked even more beautiful when they actually brought it out). Naturally, the wrestlers were instructed to go to the finals and use these items as promotion, but making sure not to damage them, haha.
Most of the show consisted of a frankly gigantic tournament (pro wrestling nerds might notice the parody of NJPW’s New Japan Cup), which they found all sorts of interesting ways to speed through, haha. My favorite entrant was 無機物, “inorganic matter”, which taught me a new word when I saw the match card come up. 無機物 ended up specifically being a ごんぎつね book, which regular DDT watchers are familiar with through Antonio Honda’s recurring Gon the Fox bit. I’m thinking of buying myself a copy of it as reading practice, honestly. I believe it’s a popular children’s book.
There were plenty of other highlights from the show, and it was a delight as always, haha. These shows just keep getting more and more fun to watch the more my Japanese improves. Yuki Ueno actually was able to make it to the very last production, and as it turned out, the original plan was for his character to face Takeshita in the finals instead of Shunma. That version of the match didn’t have a conclusive end (in the invisible man version, Yuki’s character beat his factionmate Shuma), which is somewhat ominous foreshadowing…
I’m looking forward to the next ひらがなまっする show in the fall. My Japanese should be even better then, so hopefully I’ll be able to understand even more .
In other news, Hyper Misao was back to her old tricks in TJPW’s Korakuen Hall show. She pretended like she was auditioning to join the Up Up Girls idol group, and presented her application to Miu Watanabe, her opponent (naturally, it was just a ploy). I saw these fan photos of her application on twitter and tried my best to read it.
This was as much as I could figure out on my own:
She seemed to be listing some sort of bicycle license in the first line, and then talking about some sort of practical hero ability test in the second line (saying that she passed 2級). I was shocked to find out that I was actually correct (though I missed the nuance of what she was specifically parodying)! Misao later posted a better photo, and I was able to figure out the two kanji that had stumped me (種 and 技), and double check the others, haha. I was proud of myself for being able to infer that 普通 was probably the first word on the first line, and that the last word on the second line was most likely 合格.
Being able to read handwritten Japanese like that is something I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be capable of, so I’m very grateful to WK and the jitai script for all of the practice, as well as the time I’ve put into learning how to write kanji.
Misao also shared this meme she made, which taught me the words 寒暖差, temperature difference, and 低気圧, low pressure (though it apparently can also refer to being in a foul mood).
On a more serious story note, I keep thinking about this tweet that she made after her match with Miu. She said that she was saved by this one move that came out in the heat of the moment, and then that last line, “久しぶりのヴァニタスが私のいろんな虚無を切り裂いてくれたのかも”. Maybe the Vanitas, after all this time, cut through her いろんな虚無, her various nothingness. I’ve surely talked about that part of her story before, but the Vanitas is her old finisher, from when she was a heel and tagging with Sakisama. She stopped using moves like that after she turned face again at the end of 2019. I’m not sure where exactly her story is going, but it seems to be headed in an interesting direction.
There was also this interview with Raku that intrigued me because of this quote: “ずっと死んでた人生が、やっと生きられた”, though I’ve yet to have the time to properly dive in and attempt to read it.
On a completely different note, I thought this tweet from Chris Charlton about the nuances of “salty” and “しょっぱい” in pro wrestling was interesting.
I also learned some new meanings of 落とせ from this tweet from Mr. Haku during Marika Kobashi’s graduation match in TJPW. The word can mean “to drop”, as WK teaches, but apparently it also means to make someone pass out in wrestling (and is often chanted by crowds, or at least it was when crowds in Japan were still allowed to chant), and also can mean “take her makeup off”, haha, which I suppose is similar in severity to the second use as far as Marika is concerned.
Weeks like this make me realize just how many Japanese to English translators I follow on twitter . I think I referenced no less than four different translators in this entry, which might be a new record for me. I actually just befriended another one a week or so ago. It’s cool having so many people to learn from .
みんなの日本語 Lesson 28 – Lesson 29
I don’t know if I have many specific things to say about these lessons, but I finished lesson 28 and have moved on to 29! These recent chapters have made me really grateful for WK, because many of these words/kanji I already know, which makes picking up the vocab a breeze.
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 29 kanji!
Reading in Spanish (Wonder: La Lección de August)
I finished the first part of the book! The story really picked up there at the end. That second to last chapter was hard to read… (Hard emotionally, not language difficulty wise).
As I mentioned in another post, it has been an extraordinarily cool reading experience because it’s the first time in my life I’ve been able to read a book in a language other than English and actually feel like I’m reading. I never even dreamed of being able to reach this point (with any language) a few years ago. It makes reading in Japanese feel like a much more achievable goal to me.
The library just acquired another book that I also want to read! It’s a book about the local history of the city I live in, and it’s written as a parallel text book, with Spanish on one side of the page and English on the other. After I finish Wonder, I think I’m going to try picking it up.
The read every day spring challenge is going great! I’ve successfully managed to read something in both Spanish and Japanese every day so far. I’m really enjoying it, and it’s so satisfying to feel like I’m making progress in both languages at once.
Still made no further progress on 大海原と大海原. When you see how many TJPW show translations I finished, you’ll see why . I’m hoping things will be a little more quiet since their next big show is at the beginning of May, but we’ll see. The good news is that by the time I have free time to read manga again, my grammar will be substantially better than when I left off, though I don’t think the wrestling vocab will help me much there, haha.
Here are the TJPW show translations I finished. Click the posts below for highlights, this time starring Kamen Rider metaphors that I spent way too long deciphering, Yuka Sakazaki wanting to fight Mickey at Disneyland, and Hyper Misao sliding back into her same patterns from when she turned heel three years ago…
TJPW 2022.03.26 SPRING TOUR ’22 — (24 words added)
TJPW 2022.04.02 SPRING TOUR ’22 — (26 words added)
TJPW 2022.04.09 Still Incomplete ’22 — (38 words added)
In total, my wrestling deck contains 560 wrestling words!
I’m still a show behind because TJPW’s April 9 show was a Korakuen Hall show, which meant there was a lot more to translate .
It’s funny, I saw people talking about how many books they’ve finished, and I started to feel insecure and bad about my own lack of tangible progress in that regard, and then I realized how silly it was to be worrying about that when I’ve translated thousands upon thousands of characters for these wrestling shows. Maybe it’s less exciting to say because I can’t give nice concrete numbers, and a lot of people probably don’t really respect the work I’m putting into this because it seems like a frivolous waste of time, but, well, it means something to me.
I do want to read actual books at some point, but I can’t really spare the time at the moment, so it’ll have to wait until I’m more fluent and can translate TJPW a lot faster. Or if TJPW gets an actual official translator again haha and puts me out of work.
This one is a resource for the WK forum, not Japanese, but I thought it was worth linking. It’s a post formatting guide for posting on the forum. Lots of neat info in there! Seems like a handy reference.
- Forum: Details Keep Open State — This is a script for the WK forum that simply keeps the details tags open while editing. Just a small quality of life thing, but really helpful if you’re someone like me and are prone to making long posts, or editing wiki posts on a certain pro wrestling thread
I don’t have anything too ambitious planned for the next level. My main goal is to keep up with the spring read every day challenge, catching up on the TJPW translations and maybe getting a little bit of 大海原と大海原 read, and of course keep pushing forward with WK and my textbook.
Onward to level 34! 行くぞ！
Made it to level 34!
Took just 12 days this time, so a little faster, as expected! Nothing especially exciting to report from the past couple weeks, Japanese-wise, but everything has been going well.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 2596 (and 1851 on KW!)
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
I do have one very exciting thing to report from the pro wrestling world! Remember me mentioning the fun transformation of “Forbidden Door” from machine mistranslation to a real thing? Check this out! AEW and NJPW just announced a joint supershow (on June 26, so three days after my birthday )! There was only one possible name for this show. I smiled so big when I noticed the little subtitle on the graphic: 禁断の扉.
I loved the comment that Murata (commentator for both NJPW and DDT) made: “マルチバースのポータルが開いた！” The portal to the multiverse has opened indeed! That was a fun followup after I just learned the word マルチバース from Hiragana Muscle, haha.
As silly as it is, this one announcement totally made my whole week. If you even slightly care about the Golden Lovers story, definitely circle this date on your calendar. We don’t know anything for certain, but I just have a feeling… I doubt we’ll get an actual match (Kenny likely won’t be healed by then anyway, and Ibushi might not be, either), but I feel certain we’re going to get at least something, even if it’s just another brief moment in passing like we got in 2017.
Another wrestling story that I’ve been enjoying is the build-up to Hyper Misao vs Shoko Nakajima in TJPW. I’ve talked more in detail about the story in the pro wrestling thread, but I liked the way the official account worded this tweet: “ベルトの魔力がミサヲを狂わせる！！” The belt’s magical powers make Misao go crazy, indeed… My friends and I like to say that pro wrestling belts are cursed. This certainly lends support to that theory .
I also learned the kanji 操, which WK has assigned the meaning “manipulate”, and which I had already sort of known for a few years because that was how Hyper Misao spelled her name while she was a heel in 2019. Machine translation frequently translates her name from back then as “manipulation”. Imagine my surprise when I found out that 操 is actually a real word, and it uses the “chastity” meaning of the kanji instead! Needless to say, I do not need a mnemonic to remember that one.
Also, Yoshihiko from DDT (the wrestler who’s literally a blow-up doll) has a twitter account now! It’s just a promotional thing for this year (he’s sort of acting as DDT’s ambassador), so sadly the account won’t be active after this year, but I’ve greatly enjoyed following it so far haha. We’re learning some great Yoshihiko lore, like the fact that he’s apparently a Lady Gaga fan? Yoshihiko wants to get verified on twitter (認証マーク was a new word for me), but he’s an 無機物, “inanimate substance”, which seems to be used more broadly for “inanimate object”.
I mentioned this account to my dad (who generally cannot stand wrestling), and to my surprise, he started following it. He did get a little scared off by a clip Yoshihiko retweeted of the Pheromones faction in DDT, though. He said: “You watch some really bizarre stuff” . He’s absolutely not wrong, but I did put things a little bit into perspective by reminding him that we were talking about a company that has a twitter account run by a wrestler who is a blow-up doll.
A few miscellaneous other things I enjoyed seeing on twitter recently was the word パケ買い, which refers to buying a product because of the look of the packaging, and I also loved this exchange in a basic English textbook in Japan. I wish Minna no Nihongo taught me how to have useful, ubiquitous conversations like this.
みんなの日本語 Lesson 29 – Lesson 30
I finished lesson 29 and just started 30! It has been a lot of me finally learning to put to use a lot of these intransitive verbs that WK has been teaching me. Also, my MNN progress has been gaining ground on my WK progress. I wonder if I’ll be able to finish lesson 50 before I reach level 50…
I feel like I’m finally starting to learn how to say things with a little more personality, haha, which is fun! My answers for the textbook exercises are getting more creative. Since I don’t have anyone grading my freeform answers, I’ve been putting them in DeepL just to see how they translate (the grammar is straightforward enough, it usually translates pretty cleanly), and it’s always fun when I can get the DeepL translation to show some emotion with the still very limited tools the textbook has given me.
I also helped one of my friends draft a tweet to a wrestler showing her some fanart that her friend had drawn. It was interesting because I could really see how practicing production and working through MNN has really been paying off, because I have a couple friends with better reading/listening comprehension than me who were struggling more than I was with thinking of how to politely and correctly phrase the tweet.
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 30 kanji!
Reading in Spanish (Wonder: La Lección de August)
Everything is still going well here! I finished part two and am on page 165. I did start to wonder (ha) if this book really was as easy as I thought, or if my Spanish has simply improved enough to make it seem super easy now. I feel like my reading comprehension has just improved across the board. I guess it’s the intermediate plateau at work, since I’m right in the midst of that with Spanish.
I’m still going strong with the read every day challenge! No missed days yet, in either Spanish or Japanese. I also finally got caught up on the TJPW translations (until Golden Week starts… ), and I actually had the chance to pick up 大海原と大海原 volume 3 again, after not having the time for so long! I finished chapter 3 and am halfway through 4.
I actually was a bit blown away by how much easier it was to read after all the work I’ve been putting in the past couple months. I feel like I’m at a point with Japanese where a lot of the groundwork I’ve laid is finally coming to fruition. Sentence structure makes way more intuitive sense to me now, even for longer sentences (which used to be the utter bane of my existence), and my grammar, kanji, and vocab knowledge are starting to really come together. Sentences just have way fewer unknowns now. I even saw some of the words I’d SRS’d for wrestling show up here!
I think even with having to extensively rely on Yomichan, ichi.moe, and often DeepL for the wrestling translations, I’ve gotten loads of reading practice from doing them. I definitely think I’m learning more from the wrestling translations than I am from reading manga (partially due to ease of looking stuff up, having more background knowledge/context of the characters and events, and investing the time/energy into SRS-ing specialized vocab), but I also think the wrestling recaps just have more complete sentences, and I get less bogged down by slang and dialects (though wrestling also has that). I feel like manga will become a more usable learning tool for me as my knowledge continues to increase, and the number of unknowns I’m finding per sentence decreases. For now, it’s fun to read as a hobby, though!
I managed to finish three show translations! As always, click the links below to find out everything I struggled with and everything that I found interesting. I believe I’ve now translated 22 shows, which is pretty wild to think about! That’s probably a full novel’s worth of text.
2022.04.10 TJPW INSPIRATION — (20 words added)
2022.04.17 TJPW SPRING TOUR ’22 — (25 words added)
2022.04.24 TJPW SPRING TOUR ’22 — (17 words added)
My wrestling deck currently has 630 words in it, though a chunk of them are still waiting to actually get introduced, as I’ve had to pause new cards a few times.
It’s funny, I opted not to SRS どんどん and キラキラ, since I’m still sticking mostly to words that contain kanji, but I realized that I actually did end up learning those two just from repeated exposure, haha. I feel like those are two words where the definition isn’t really that helpful anyway, but I’ve started to get a sense of them just from seeing them in context a bunch of times.
I also made the decision to finally suspend some of my Anki leeches (I’d been letting Anki identify and tag them, but had not been doing anything else with them). I’m leaving the ones from the MNN vocab alone (I only have 18 anyway), because I feel like those are worth properly memorizing, but I don’t want to get too bogged down with just a small portion of words from my immersion. I have both recall and recognition cards in my deck, and usually it’s the recall cards that cause me more problems, so I’ve decided to leave the recognition cards for now, but suspend any recall card that reaches leech status. Hopefully in those cases, repeated exposure to the words will boost my recall anyway.
I know that having recall cards isn’t the most popular strategy here, but personally I really hate my understanding being so lopsided where I can read a bunch of things, but can’t bring those words to mind. My Spanish knowledge is very heavily in favor of recognition, and I do feel like my ability to function in the language has suffered for it, despite my gains in reading and listening comprehension. I’ll be trying to have a conversation in Spanish and just draw a complete blank even though I know these words.
I’m still wondering when the wrestling vocab will start tapering off, haha, because so far, I haven’t seen any signs of that. I might reach level 60 and have a few thousand words in my deck and still be going strong.
This is a very small thing, but I thought this tweet about the varying politeness levels of different ways to say “トイレに行ってきます” was interesting. I feel like I get a lot out of these resources intended to teach English phrases to Japanese speakers, haha.
Oh, and I actually discovered (maybe rediscovered? I can’t remember if I already remarked on this) that if your Japanese keyboard is on and you’re on a windows computer, if you pull up the emoji keyboard (hold down the windows key and the
. key), when you hover over the emoji, their names will be in Japanese. It’s a fun way to get a little bit of practice in!
- KaniWani: Disable Enter on Wrong Answer — This is a script for KW, not WK, but it’s handy. It won’t let you proceed with the enter key if you get a review wrong. I kept accidentally just powering past wrong reviews, which especially caused problems when I got marked wrong because of a synonym I hadn’t added yet. This script solves that problem.
My main goal is to survive Golden Week (there are a billion wrestling shows happening…), and also just survive in general. It would be nice if I can get more of 大海原と大海原 read, but I’ll probably have my hands full with just TJPW translations alone, so if I’m caught up on those by the time I make another level up post, that’ll be a miracle.
Also, I just got my oldest friend into wrestling, haha, thanks to the Golden Lovers. Knowing the trajectory of literally all of my friends who like wrestling, give it a few months, and she’ll probably be trying to learn Japanese, too .
Onward to level 35! 行くぞ！
Made it to level 35!
It took fourteen days, and what a whirlwind of a past two weeks it has been. First I was very distracted in a fun way with watching a billion wrestling shows during Golden Week, then I got distracted trying to translate a few show recaps and some senryu poems, and now I’ve spent the past few days being very distracted because of a negative wrestling thing that I’ve been losing a lot of sleep over (hence why this update is several days late).
But, well, I’m still here. I did manage to finish another lesson of MNN and keep up with the read every day challenge, despite everything, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep going through this next level, too.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 2728 (and 1945 on KW!)
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
Had to take the “fun” out of this section because of an ongoing incident on twitter. I elaborated on this more in the pro wrestling thread (and here’s an article translating/summing up the whole situation), but basically Kota Ibushi has been breaking kayfabe and calling out NJPW for bad labor practices on twitter. It’s an incredibly brave thing for him to do and I’m so proud of him for doing this, but boy has it been stressful to follow .
I saw the first couple tweets right before I went to bed, decided it was way above my pay grade in terms of Japanese ability and I’d be better off waiting until someone else translated it, and went to sleep. Then I spent the next morning desperately trying to read through as much of the overnight discord discussion as I could at 8am while also trying to do my kanji reviews and get ready for work. As you can probably guess, it was not my most focused day of studying.
It was also a profoundly unfun way to learn words like ブラック企業 and 反社. First time in my life I couldn’t bring myself to add words to Anki because the associations with them are just too stressful for me right now, and I didn’t want my study sessions to just repeatedly trigger me . Though, with all of the discourse that followed after the “反社” tweet, I’m not sure I’ll ever forget that word… Someone translating Kota’s tweets said that he deeply regretted translating that one.
Needless to say, unless they make some major changes, I think I’m probably done watching NJPW. I’ll have to see how I feel next month about the Forbidden Door PPV, and other crossover content they might do with companies that I am still watching.
As much as I hate the industry at times, though, I still love pro wrestling as an artistic medium, and I’m so proud of every single wrestler who has tried to speak out against injustice and make the industry a better place. I love Kota Ibushi now even more than I did before.
On a more positive note…
Nodoka, a recently retired TJPW wrestler, created a new twitter account for her life as a “農業1年生”. I liked learning the word 有機 (organic) from her twitter bio, because I hadn’t known that she was specifically interested in organic and natural farming!
TJPW’s Golden Week shows were a lot of fun! It’s nice to see my Japanese continuing to improve.
I appreciated the caption on this photo of Raku and Yuki Aino from the Korakuen show, haha, and then the reply pointing out “but right in front of Ram Kaicho…” Raku also tweeted this, implying that Yuki is her girlfriend.
That show also featured Reika Saiki’s last match and her graduation. I got into wrestling just after she stopped actively wrestling, but I’m going to be so sad to see the 筋肉アイドル go. I was amused by the concept of “graduating from muscles”, which is how she referred to the fact that she’s no longer going to keep her very impressive arm muscles.
The May 5 TJPW show featured another one of Misao’s quiz stipulation matches. I’d seen enough of these (back when we still had translation) to have a rough idea of how the rules worked, or at least I think so, haha. I think whenever someone got a 2-count fall, they had to answer a trivia question about Osaka (where the show was held, 久しぶり). Unfortunately I wasn’t really able to catch any of the questions, just scattered words, but I think one of them was a question about 大阪弁, and I think I caught a mention of design, and something about food.
The question I came closest to catching was the last one, which I’m pretty sure was “what is the tallest building” in some place, though I did not catch the place name it was asking about, haha. That was literally a direct question in a Minna no Nihongo exercise, so I guess despite what people tell me, textbook Japanese is useful after all?
The main event was an 8-women tag match pitting the current champions (well, Rika had to replace Yuka, who got unexpectedly pulled away to go to America and wrestle in AEW) against four of TJPW’s rookies. I didn’t catch the stipulation when Namba announced it, but I am proud of myself for noticing during the match (thanks to this tweet) that it was a 60分三本勝負 match! So it had a 60 minute time limit and was a best of three falls match (I was a little uncertain if it was first to three falls or best of three, but a friend clarified that 三本 is a best of three falls match, which is what I assumed because that stipulation is a lot more common).
I really liked this poster for DDT’s Wrestle Peter Pan show this year. I believe it’s supposed to represent Tetsuya Endo, especially considering the “burning star” in the caption: “真夏の夜を、燃やす星”. I know all the words, though the grammar is a little odd. I feel like I understand the meaning, but I’m not honestly sure how I’d translate the first part into English haha. Through the midsummer night? Across the midsummer night?
I also appreciated this official tweet highlighting one of Endo’s signature moves, the ACNH. I’m certain I’ve already mentioned this, but he literally named this move after Animal Crossing New Horizons, which he was playing when he came up with it. I learned this through Mr. Haku’s translation, though, and since Endo hadn’t done this move in a long time, I hadn’t seen or heard how it was actually referred to in Japanese. But sure enough, it is indeed ACNH, pronounced エーシーエヌエイチ! The tweet says that if this is too hard to say, you can also pronounce it “あつ森”, which is of course a reference to the game’s Japanese title.
Michael Nakazawa got a job doing official Japanese subtitles for AEW content, and he made a couple tweets talking about the difficulty of figuring out how to translate concepts like “Purple Heart” into Japanese, since there’s a lot of important American cultural context there that is lost if you translate it literally. AEW has quite a few English promos that are very important to the stories and also loaded with slang and cultural references, so he certainly has his work cut out for him. Coming from the opposite direction, I certainly sympathize.
みんなの日本語 Lesson 30 – Lesson 31
Finished lesson 30, as well as 復習H! The lesson went pretty well! I’m actually doing pretty okay with transitive/intransitive verbs, partially due to WK beating them into my head, and partially just due to getting a lot of experience reading and using them in the textbook. It took a little bit for me to wrap my brain around which one uses いる and which uses ある when describing continuing states, but I think I got there, haha.
Lesson 30 ended with an exercise asking me to describe the house I want to live in. Admittedly, I skipped the part of the question that asked me to draw a picture of it, but I did try my best to legitimately explain it. For most of the exercise, I focused on using the grammar the textbook just taught me. But I’m really fond of cob houses, so I tried to figure out a way to describe the concept of thermal mass without having any of the vocabulary to describe thermal mass, haha, and still very limited grammar. Here was my best attempt: “太陽と壁で暑くなったり寒くなりますから、エアコンがありません。”
For the most part, 復習H went okay, but I did end up getting quite a few of the particles wrong in the first question . I’m still struggling with remembering when to use に for a location, and when to use を for a starting point or a place that people or things pass through. Weirdly, が and は are not causing me too much trouble, haha. I’m hoping that I’ll get a better handle on the particles with continued experience and exposure to more examples. I generally have no trouble understanding them when reading, but I do have trouble using them correctly when producing my own sentences, especially when deciding which to use with a location. I’m sure that MNN will continue to test me on them, so hopefully I’ll eventually get it beaten into my head somehow.
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 31 kanji!
Reading in Spanish (Wonder: La Lección de August)
I just finished the sixth part of the novel, and am on page 283. It’s still going very well! The last chapter was a little difficult because it was from a new character perspective, and for whatever reason, the author chose to stylistically write this part entirely in lowercase, with no quotation marks. Not exactly the easiest reading experience for a language learner . I think I was able to follow it, though!
So far, the trickiest part of the book was a chapter in the previous part that consisted entirely of emails and text message exchanges between the characters. The text conversations were missing a lot of punctuation and accent marks and also contained abbreviations, and I was really proud of myself for being able to follow along pretty confidently!
I ended up trying my hand at translating a couple senryu in the daily senryu thread here. The first one I tried to translate was 終電車どうして俺だけしらふなの (my translation here). I also tried 花の名を聞いてケンカの仲なおり (my attempt here), and ナイターの拍手隣家と敵味方 (here), and 下書きの 送信キーを 猫が押し (here). It’s a fun exercise, albeit maybe not the most efficient method of studying, haha.
Still going strong with the read every day challenge (though I think my home post is badly in need of updating ). For the first week of this level, I was reading quite a lot, and the second week, I was reading essentially bare minimum every day because that was all I could manage.
As expected, I made no progress on 大海原と大海原 this level. I actually stalled out a bit on the last TJPW show translation, too, thanks to the above stuff strongly affecting my ability to concentrate, but even though I didn’t manage to finish the last one before their next show, I did make at least a little progress on it every day, keeping up with the read every day challenge. Paragraph by paragraph, I’ll get there eventually.
Here are the three translations I did manage to finish. The Korakuen show ended up being 7000 characters, as usual, so it took me several days. The next big show for TJPW is going to be CyberFight Fest, where I should get a bit of a break probably because I’m assuming the DDT English account will be live translating it as well as the post-match comments.
Click on these links for the stuff that I found interesting/confusing. I’m proud of myself for managing to figure out what ゴーテンサン is, haha.
2022.04.29 TJPW SPRING TOUR ‘22 — (5 words added)
2022.04.30 TJPW SPRING TOUR '22 — (17 words added)
2022.05.03 YES！ WONDERLAND 2022～夢の翼を広げ～ — (33 words added)
In total, my wrestling deck contains 686 words, though the last batch aren’t in circulation yet. I’ve been taking it easy with adding new cards while my focus is down.
Someone started a discord group for Japanese-speaking transgender and nonbinary people. Definitely above my own level (and I don’t know my own gender well enough to feel like I’d fit in haha), but I thought it was worth mentioning it in case anyone else was interested.
I’d planned on talking about this here, but ended up posting about it in the spring read every day challenge thread instead because the topic came up there . But basically, I skimmed my way through a book called Research on Dictionary Use in the Context of Foreign Language Learning: Focus on Reading Comprehension by Yukio Tono. It’s from 2001, so newer research might have supplanted it, but I was curious enough about the subject, I ended up reading some of it. In the post linked above, I share some of the things that most leapt out to me.
There was a recently released study on readers and non-readers of BL as well as gay and bisexual men. The study is currently only in Japanese so far, but if you’re interested, it can be read here. My friend who is fluent in Japanese read through it and picked out some of the more interesting bits, and something that stood out to me is that even though the majority of women reading BL were straight, 8% of them were asexual, and the number of bisexual women was similar. I’d be interested to go back and revisit it someday when it’s easier for me to read, but by then, it’ll probably be translated into English, haha.
Not going to lie, I’m feeling very, very down right now. This update was really hard to finish. Kota Ibushi was one of the two wrestlers whose work got me into pro wrestling, period, and he’s ultimately the reason why I’m studying Japanese right now.
Watching NJPW crush the love of pro wrestling out of him was awful. I’m determined not to let that take my love of pro wrestling away from me, too. I’m going to keep trying to translate for TJPW, and keep studying and working on my Japanese.
I hope Kota is able to fully recover (both physically and emotionally), and I hope he’s able to find a way back to his love for pro wrestling someday, in whatever form that takes.
I did greatly appreciate this tweet from Kenny Omega afterward, which, like most of his tweets in Japanese, is almost certainly in reference to Kota (whose symbol is a phoenix). I was very relieved that I could read it (though machine translation does okay with this one), because it gave me some peace of mind. He says that the flame of resurrection will burn hot again someday, and until then, everyone, 頑張りましょう.
I’m going to keep going, and keep doing my best.
So, onward to level 36. 頑張りましょう。
I read some of your post before in the pro wrestling thread on this. Sounds like a lot, sorry :\ . I can relate – I’ve had times of feeling disenchanted myself with the various exploitation and abuse surrounding the stuff I like. I post a lot here about movies or videogames and both industries are pretty much full of more horror stories than I could manage to enumerate. I think it’s sadly inevitable with a lot of root social problems I’m going to cut myself off from starting to describe here, haha.
But yeah for whatever bit it’s worth, I think as much as you can, the attitude you’re taking towards it is a good one. There are of course the people with good intentions involved in things like wrestling, but also… of course I think we agree it’s not like “the ends justify the means,” just treat people better heh, but the wrestling, the art itself, as long as it’s not triggering those bad memories for you too much, can and probably should exist as its own thing. I hope you’re able to take whatever good you still can out of it.
Thanks, this comment means a lot . And yeah, the video game industry and film industry certainly have all sorts of labor issues that frequently horrify me, too (not to mention manga and anime…). The entertainment industry as a whole is just full of exploitation, unfortunately. I guess it sort of comes back to “there is no ethical consumption under capitalism”, which, yeah, basically the point you made at the end of your first paragraph, haha.
Pro wrestling sometimes feels uniquely bad (I think I went into some of the reasons why in my other posts in the other thread), but many of the worst aspects of the industry are present in one company, which just so happens to be the industry juggernaut (WWE…). The one hard line I’ve drawn is that I won’t watch WWE, haha. There have absolutely been some positive shifts in the American wrestling industry at least, since AEW came into existence a few years ago. They allow for a much healthier work schedule with a lot more time off, and seemingly place no pressure on the wrestlers to return before they’re ready.
I feel like in America, there’s just more transparency (due to less strict adherence to kayfabe) and room for wrestlers to speak out about injustice (whether or not they’re actually believed after the fact is another question…). So far, Japanese wrestling really hasn’t had that happen. Kota is the first wrestler I have seen speak out about it, though I’m sure the things he’s talking about are occurring in other companies, too. I keep hoping that his bravery will encourage other wrestlers to also speak up.
I guess at the end of the day, the best we can really hope for is that things will continue changing for the better. There was a thing the Golden Lovers started to say as like a catchphrase before AEW existed, “change the world,” and Kenny said that after saying it enough, he felt like he had to actually live up to it, which is part of what motivated him to help start that company. He said that there are a lot of problems in the world that he can’t really do anything to fix, so he wanted to change the world through his wrestling, which is the one thing that he knows that he can do really well.
I’m proud of Kota for trying to change things, too, even if he doesn’t manage to succeed. I think sometimes trying is enough. Even if you can’t create change on your own, you can create a future opportunity for others to enact change based on what you did.
Hey I was going to comment on another thread but then realized you had a study log
What’s it like being a translator? I’ve always considered becoming one, but I thought it might be difficult to find work and such
Oh, I am extremely doing it as a hobby haha and not professionally at all. The only people really reading my translations are my friends. I sort of accidentally got into it because I lost my source of official translation for a few of my favorite pro wrestling companies, so I started trying to do it myself. I’m very much still a beginner . From my understanding, this is how a lot of people start out, though. But I personally don’t have any interest in doing it as more than a hobby.
Actually, I’ve been having a lot of thoughts on translation, and the ethics and responsibility of it, and just the weird place that fan translators occupy in the world, so I guess I’ll make more of a proper post.
I can really only talk about this with regards to translation for Japanese pro wrestling specifically. Other industries/communities might operate very differently!
(cut for length and some discussion of depressing topics)
I’m personally friends with two people who do regular (unofficial) translation for Japanese pro wrestling. One of them is fluent in Japanese, and the other one is not fluent, but is significantly better at Japanese than I am (and her translations have been promoted/approved by the people who provided the original Japanese). I’m also friends with several other people who have dabbled at least a little in doing fan translation work, usually just translating occasional tweets, cleaning up DeepL translations, that sort of thing.
Fan translation with wrestling is weird. I guess I don’t really know enough about other industries to conclusively say that it operates differently, but to me at least, it feels like it does. Obviously translators have a massive amount of power over shaping the narrative that non-Japanese speakers experience, but with wrestling, this especially seems to be the case, because it’s a very global yet also very small world, and the line between fan and actual employee of the company can be very thin.
Lots of fan labor ends up shaping the actual wrestling narratives. A huge chunk of the translation ends up happening in real time on twitter, which means that it’s all pretty public and in the moment, and stuff occasionally goes viral. Translations get wildly spread around to the point where occasional mistranslations will become literally real.
It’s also a world where everything is connected, so even though translators generally have one particular company (or maybe a couple) that they cover, it all ends up getting kind of woven into this huge, messy tapestry of storytelling, where someone provides a few threads over here, and someone else provides a few from another side, and somehow it all combines to form some sort of coherent picture, except no one is getting exactly the same information, and because we’re all working through language barriers, it’s very easy for rumors to propagate. It’s impossible for one person to follow absolutely everything. You sort of just follow the threads that most interest you and let that shape your overall experience.
And because it’s all connected, and because it’s all happening in real time, there are so many twitter beefs. The distinction between official and unofficial translator sort of stops mattering here. The official Stardom translator is notorious for blocking people from viewing the official Stardom account, and NOAH’s unofficial fan translator has gotten into fights with one of my friends before. I’m in a discord server with one person who’s doing sort of sanctioned DDT translation, and a friend of mine met one of the people who’s currently running the official English translation account for one company.
It’s also a world where starting out doing unofficial fan translation can absolutely net you a job at a wrestling company. I’ve literally seen it happen to someone. And I think (though I could be wrong, as it was before my time) Mr. Haku originally got his job with CyberFight because he started out doing translation for them just as a fan, and then was brought on as an actual hire.
Translating pro wrestling is actually an incredibly tough job because not only does it require fluency (if you want to be able to do live translation at least), but it also requires extensive knowledge of the company. You need to know all of the wrestlers very well, and understand and recognize their moveset, and be familiar enough with their history (often stretching years back) that you can talk about it on the fly. It honestly really requires you to be a fan. You have to really truly love it to have that depth of knowledge. And you also have to be extremely proficient in both English and Japanese! It’s a very tough job to fill!
Then there’s, well, all the stuff with Kota Ibushi lately. That has been a whole nightmare for lots of reasons. But two of the people who have really bore the brunt of it are two individual fan translators on twitter who have chosen to translate his tweets into English.
Currently, this is the only way for English-speaking fans to hear Kota’s own words on the matter, as English language reporting on the situation is missing key details or directly contradicting some of the things he’s saying (an early English language report said that he was angry at NJPW for preventing him from returning to wrestling sooner, when he has repeatedly said the exact opposite over and over on twitter).
It’s also uniquely horrific and traumatic for both of those translators, who are suddenly having all of their intentions and their character heavily scrutinized and judged by all of the fans who are following what’s going on with Kota, and who are looking for reasons to absolve NJPW so that they don’t feel guilty continuing to watch the company.
People will say that the fan translators are clearly biased in his favor because they’re fans of him, so therefore their translations are one-sided and not trustworthy, etc. The translators suddenly have to become very careful about sharing personal thoughts on their own personal twitter accounts because some people will hold up the translators’ own biases or personalities as a reason to discredit what Kota is saying about the exploitative labor practices that he’s experiencing.
There are other ethics issues, too, like the choice to translate Kota’s 反社 tweet, and the discourse that followed as soon as that translation spread through twitter and hit reddit and a whole bunch of westerners suddenly became experts on the topic of yakuza .
After that, the translator who’d shared that one initially took down his translation and said that he regretted it. There was another more recent tweet from Kota that was similarly scary, which both of the translators initially tweeted a translation of, then deleted their translations shortly after because they didn’t want more panic circulating among western fans while we still don’t have all of the information.
And of course, there has been discourse about the act of translating the tweets itself, and what should or shouldn’t be considered public knowledge, and what liability translators risk by getting involved. I’m in agreement with this thread, personally.
The translator quoted in that thread apparently has some sort of beef with one of the people translating Kota’s tweets, hence the stance he’s taking here. The source of their disagreement was apparently because that translator told him that the way he was translating news about joshi wrestling was giving people the wrong impression because he tends to selectively translate or omit information to look other promotions look better or worse. Which, yeah, I agree that that is irresponsible!
So, yeah, there’s a lot in this post, sorry. There are differing opinions on what it means to be responsible as a translator, and what non-Japanese speaking fans are or aren’t owed, and there are all sorts of attempts at shaping narratives (or trying not to intentionally shape anything, but being heavily scrutinized for it anyway).
I’m particularly mad at Chris Charlton, an official NJPW translator, at the moment, because the way he has selectively chosen to translate random Kota Ibushi quotes on twitter over the years has directly shaped the impression that western fans have of him, and has influenced how receptive (or not receptive) they are to Kota’s very serious tweets now.
I just think these topics are important to think about not only as someone just starting to venture into doing this sort of thing myself, but also as a fan who regularly engages with the work of other translators, both official and unofficial. Translation is a massively important job because it is the lens through which potentially thousands upon thousands of people are viewing the stories and the characters. And with something like pro wrestling, the line between character and real person, and story and real life, is so thin, it means that your work has so much extra weight.
Ooh I see! We’re kind of in the same position, then. Still interesting to hear your thoughts
Oh wow! That’s quite a lot of drama and complexity
It certainly must be difficult to translate with that much pressure on you. It’s completely normal to make mistakes or wrong assumptions every once in a while, especially when translating from a lower-context to higher-context language (+ with translating pro wrestling needing so much knowledge). But in this case, someone else’s reputation is relying on your every translated word.
It must be hard for fans, too. Cause you can’t tell what you’re missing or if you’re missing anything at all unless you can speak Japanese.
At first I thought you were going to talk about more ethics in terms of whether or not it’s ethical to translate works that are themselves morally questionable, but I guess that might not come up as much in pro wrestling.
Yeah, the more Japanese I learn, the more capable I become of noticing the flaws and omissions in other people’s translations, and there certainly are plenty. Sometimes they’re honest mistakes, and sometimes they’re deliberate efforts to shape the narrative. But it’s frustrating to see so many other fans just accepting translations uncritically without considering the possibility of being given misleading or incomplete information, or misinterpreting nuance (or not realizing that a wrestler is or isn’t speaking in character…).
Mr. Haku has a shirt that he made as a joke, haha, which says “I could be feeding you complete BS and you’d never know.” I think his translations are generally very trustworthy, but it’s still a good reminder for fans.
Oh yeah, the question of “is pro wrestling ethical?” is a whole different can of worms, haha . There are absolutely people acting unethically in the industry, and there are many storylines that I would consider racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. (especially in WWE…), but the way it all works, it’s a bit different than, say, a fan choosing to translate a morally questionable manga. In wrestling, those storylines (and real life industry things) are happening simultaneously and in context with so many other things, and I think it’s important to be fully aware of the issues so that they can be criticized and talked about instead of swept under the rug. Unlike with translating a questionable manga, I don’t think that translating it means necessarily condoning it.
Pro wrestling is also interesting because it’s a world where translation issues go both ways. I feel like generally, for most media, questions of access to information and translation are fairly one-sided, but in wrestling, Japanese fans run into the exact same problems and barriers that English speaking fans do, except of course with different information.
This was really apparent during the Speaking Out movement in 2020, when wrestlers were getting named left and right on English-speaking wrestling twitter for perpetuating sexual abuse, and Japanese-speaking fans were missing the entire conversation except whatever small pieces of it filtered down to them.
As a result, wrestlers who get outed for abuse in one country can often find work in a different one because the fans missed that conversation due to language barriers. I can name English-speaking wrestlers currently working for Japanese companies after being essentially blacklisted from the industry in the English-speaking world due to allegations against them (some are also working in Mexico for the same reason).
On another level, there’s also the matter of translating really heavy content like personal stories the wrestlers tell about their own experiences, which often involve severe depression, addiction, etc. Hearing those stories is important because they often inform the wrestlers’ lives and their work, and clearly they want it to be talked about if they’re publicizing it, but there’s a little extra pressure on the translator with that kind of thing. I’d want to be basically fluent before attempting to translate that, just because I wouldn’t want to make any mistakes with something with such high stakes.
One example from the English to Japanese side is a translation someone did of Eddie Kingston’s article (here’s his response, links to both versions in the thread), and an example from the Japanese to English side is TJPW’s Hyper Misao talking about attempting suicide before she discovered wrestling, which she herself translated into English. I wouldn’t attempt to translate either of those things, at this point, but am very glad that translations do exist of both.
Basically, wrestling is a world where fan reception can and does make or break careers, and access to translation heavily affects fan perception of wrestlers (both positive and negative).
Interestingly, though, one thing that isn’t much of an issue for wrestling translators is copyright. In many other industries, fan translations have to be distributed via underground websites because they involve the unauthorized distribution of someone else’s intellectual property, but in wrestling, a large amount of translation work is happening quite openly on public spaces like twitter because the content that is protected is the footage of the matches, not quotes from the wrestlers rendered in text form.
There’s a bit of a grey area, though, with translating published articles that are locked behind a paywall (like shupro articles). Technically, this content is not publicly available. This doesn’t really stop people from doing it anyway, though, and as far as I’ve seen, no one has gotten in legal trouble for doing it. Usually it just means that interviews and articles are able to reach an audience they wouldn’t have been able to reach anyway.
There’s honestly a rather long tradition, in wrestling, of people accessing content through semi-illicit means, haha. Occasionally it’s even encouraged by the people producing the content. There’s one fan-run twitter account that is dedicated to keeping the English-speaking world updated on lucha libre (Mexican wrestling), and when AAA had all of their content geoblocked so that it could only be accessed from Mexico (due to a lawsuit they were in over the rights to their content), this twitter user streamed AAA’s Triplemania show on twitch using a VPN.
It was a really fascinating experience because tens of thousands of people watched this stream from all over the world, including many English language wrestling reporters, and everyone was posting openly about it on twitter, but technically none of us were supposed to be able to watch the show. One of the wrestlers who was in the show even tweeted a gif from his match afterward that bore the watermark from that illegal twitch stream. AAA itself was probably very grateful that this fan (illegally) streamed their show and promoted it for them, because they clearly wanted to attract international attention with it, but their own hands were tied due to the lawsuit.
Of course, there are still always potential legal risks with unauthorized translation, especially if it’s affecting someone’s business or career. That has come up a few times as a reason why one fan translator doesn’t want to translate any of Kota Ibushi’s tweets. But again, I have not seen any examples of a fan getting in legal trouble for translating wrestling stuff.
For the most part, companies and wrestlers (and interviewers) actually really, really like it! It helps get their work out there to a new audience, and it usually serves to bring in more fans and boosts interest in what they’re doing.
In that sense, it’s great for practicing your translation skills because you don’t have to do it on the sly. The community is generally very welcoming and eager for whatever you have to offer, and it’s easy to find more experienced people who are happy to mentor you. There are even pathways to go from doing unpaid fan translation to officially working for your favorite company for pay.
But, yeah, there is that other flipside to it, because some of this concerns real information about people’s lives, or otherwise can affect people’s careers. And there’s always the chance that your machine translation of an interview that mistranslates a phrase as “open the forbidden door” could go majorly viral, and then over two years later, it leads to a huge show featuring both companies which is named Forbidden Door .
Made it to level 36!
I don’t have a super encouraging follow-up to my last post, but at least I made it. I spent just under thirteen days on the last level.
It’s kind of funny how I do measurably worse on my reviews depending on how stressed I am. I understand logically that stress affects my brain’s ability to function, but it’s amazing seeing it physically represented in my WK stats. Usually there’s a bit of a delay, where I feel like it takes about a week for me to notice it.
But, just like I was able to do before, I’ll slowly recover from it. As long as I keep pushing through, the review numbers will drop back down again, and soon things will be more normal.
And hey, at least this time my study log update wasn’t so late .
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 2856 (and 2031 on KW!)
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
Didn’t watch as much wrestling as usual these past couple weeks due to skipping NJPW. I did really enjoy the new joshi freelancer group Nomads’ first show, though! I couldn’t watch it live, but it was nice to see Mr. Haku back for live translation on twitter, and my Japanese has gotten good enough that I could actually figure out the exact moments his translation tweets were referring to just from listening.
Interestingly, from what I could tell from the engagement with the tweets on the Nomads account, the audience for the show seemed pretty solidly split between Japanese fans and English-speaking fans. The numbers on the pair of tweets promoting their next show seemed comparable, at least. There was also at least one Japanese-speaking fan commenting on the English live translation thread and asking for more tweets in Japanese, haha. All of the match graphics onscreen in the venue seemed to be entirely in English. I’m excited for their next event, and am glad that their first show was such a huge success!
Kind of following up on my last study log update (as well as my last few posts on wrestling translation and ethics), there has been a lot of conversation on twitter about, well, translation and ethics. I’m not going to link to the tweet, but one particularly well-known fan translator shared some screencaps of some DMs that a much newer fan translator sent him, which were criticizing his approach to translation because the newer translator found his choice to omit certain information to be unethical. The conversation between them was in Japanese, and I didn’t take the time to attempt to read all of it because I just don’t have the mental energy to spend my Japanese reading time on twitter discourse that I can’t even use Yomichan on, but I was at least able to figure out what the DMs were about by skimming them.
In some ways, Japanese wrestling fan communities differ from English-speaking ones, but in many ways, they’re exactly the same.
There have been a few updates on Kota Ibushi, and the situation with NJPW. See my post in the pro wrestling thread for more about that. Once again, not the most fun or encouraging reading practice.
On a much lighter note, I was delighted by TJPW wrestler Suzume’s excitement upon trying on her new light-up shoes. In this tweet, Suzume said that she recommends light up shoes because they make life more enjoyable.
Suzume and Arisu are also co-parenting some tamagotchi now. Arisu referred to her and Suzume as マン working hard to raise children together. I was a little confused by マン, haha, because the only definition coming up was “man”, but I wonder if maybe she’s saying “mom”?
I was also absolutely thrilled to see Asuka/Veny and Mao win the tag team titles in DDT! I loved this tweet from Yoshihiko afterward. He was especially proud of Veny (she’s the first woman to hold the DDT tag titles), and said that it seems like tears and awe, unbecoming of an inorganic thing, will overflow.
That DDT show also had a moment that touched some unexpected emotions in me. At the beginning of the second match, which was a tag match involving the Pheromones, DDT’s most polarizing faction, an insect flew into the ring. The wrestlers stopped wrestling to attempt to catch it, and Yuki Iino finally managed to capture it. Cupping it gently in his hands, he walked right out of the ring and took it outside. The match resumed without him, and he rejoined it as soon as he came back. I don’t know why it left such an impression on me, but it did.
I laughed at this tweet from a fan after the insect incident. The fan commented on the kindness of the DDT wrestlers—despite the fact that the company shares its name with an insecticide.
みんなの日本語 Lesson 31 – Lesson 32
One of the lesson 31 exercises asked me to talk about my dreams for the future, practicing different ways to talk about things that I want to do or intend to do. I started getting a little more playful with my answers, maybe because doing the senryu translations and the TJPW translations is inspiring me a little. I’m sure this is not the best way to phrase it, and I’m playing a little bit with grammar I don’t fully understand, but here were my last two sentences: “3６歳までに、生活したい生活しているつもりです。庭を持っていたり、毎日書いたり、新しいことを続けて習ったりしようと思っています。”
Someone on the forum said, concerning DeepL, that it gives them some peace of mind when they put some of their writing into DeepL and it spits out a coherent sentence that matches what they’re trying to say, because even though DeepL can and does smooth over errors, if it’s able to guess your meaning from what you wrote, it’s likely that a native speaker would also be able to figure it out. Sure enough, when I feed those sentences into DeepL, it does translate how I intend it to, so I’m choosing to interpret that as “good enough.”
I only just barely got through lesson 31 before leveling up, but I did get through it (and have pre-learned the lesson 32 vocab already). There’s another kanji that isn’t in WK: 牡.
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 32 kanji!
Reading in Spanish (Wonder: La Lección de August)
I’m on the last part of the novel! I’m on page 346 currently, so I have like 70 left to go. I think I’m going to come very close to finishing the book by the end of the read every day challenge, but won’t quite get there unless I push myself more than usual.
Still hanging in there with the read every day challenge, though sometimes the only things I’m reading are a few tweets and senryu and not really anything substantial. The Spanish side of things is going pretty strong, though.
I attempted a few more senryu translations! We had some interesting discussion over what determines syllable count in English, and whether or not 17 English syllables is equivalent to 17 Japanese mora (long story short, experts seem to be leaning toward “no” on that one, so we changed the rules for the daily senryu translation thread to aim for 4-5-4 or 3-5-3 in our translations instead of 5-7-5).
Here were the senryu I attempted (links go to my translations):
誕生日 ローソク吹いて 立ちくらみ (mine was actually the translation selected for this one!)
I’ve noticed that some attempts at the senryu are better translations, and some are better poems. It’s a fine line for sure, and not an easy one to walk. I think mine tend to hew closer to the direct meaning of the Japanese, but as a consequence, can come across as rather plain or boring. Maybe as I gain more confidence in my Japanese and more familiarity with the poetic form, they’ll start to become a little better and more creative as poems and not merely translations.
I also ended up trying my own hand at writing a senryu (in Japanese). I shared it in the senryu thread here. Read on for a couple translations and a bit of discussion. Here is my poem:
Is it far too early for me to be attempting to write poetry in Japanese when I can barely string together a sentence? Yes. Will I let that stop me? No. I’ll probably look back at these in the future and maybe wince a little bit, haha, but for now I’m having fun.
Once again, no more progress on 大海原と大海原. It’s my last priority, so as long as I still have work to do on a TJPW translation, I don’t get any of it read, and since my progress on those has slowed down recently, I still have work left to do.
Here is the one TJPW translation I finished (I just have one show left to go, and it’s a short one, so I’m not actually that far behind ).
2022.05.05 TJPW GO GO DO IT — (15 words added)
In total, my wrestling deck contains 701 words, though I still don’t have all of the cards in circulation quite yet. I held off for several days to go through the next batch of textbook vocab, then when I was done with that, I decided to put a temporary pause on adding new cards in case of the very likely chance that I’m going to come down with covid. I wanted my flash cards to be as easy and painless to complete as possible in that case.
A WK user put together a stats aggregation tool for Japanese language learning apps (Wanikani, BunPro, Anki)! The website is here. It’s similar to wkstats, but has a different presentation and offers some graphs and data that wkstats does not have.
My two favorite parts are the review accuracy and total items graphs. I don’t think other tools have offered visualization for this kind of data before, so it’s cool to see! Here are my graphs:
You can really see the benefit of consistency with them. My first few levels were done very sporadically and inconsistently, and my review accuracy was all over the board. As soon as I started doing a consistent number of lessons each day, and timing them according to the first couple apprentice stages, my accuracy shot way up. It has gone down over time as more and more items have entered circulation, but I’m still doing better than I was at the very beginning with the easiest levels, haha.
I appreciated Brave-foot’s post reviewing the Kanshudo program. I think I’m past the point of really wanting or needing an all-in-one Japanese language learning resource like this, but it seems like it has a lot to offer, and I like how well-rounded it appears to be. Maybe it’s something to recommend the next time I have a friend express an interest in learning the language.
Also, here’s a blog and some other articles/videos on gendered Japanese vernacular. Lots of great information here, and it’s explained in a really clear and compelling way.
It has been another stressful past couple of weeks. In addition to all of the stress I’ve been experiencing over Kota Ibushi’s situation, my own family contacted covid, and it’s probably only a matter of time before I come down with symptoms myself.
I woke up on Sunday to the news that my mom had tested positive and she’d gone to quarantine with my dad at my uncle’s cabin, and then I went from that to watching Kyoko Kimura put on a memorial show for her daughter, and then the news about Kota Ibushi’s mom hit right at the end of the show. I think maybe there’s a limit to how much mother-related grief and stress one person can deal with in one day, and I certainly reached it.
But, well, I guess you eventually get sort of used to a baseline level of stress. I’ve been able to get back into most of my usual study habits, and I even started writing poetry in Japanese. I think I like senryu because they’re a bit like a puzzle in addition to being a poem, so my brain enjoys chewing them over.
I’m considering trying to write more pro wrestling themed senryu, if more ideas come to me. It seems like a fun way to stretch my brain a little with regards to thinking in Japanese, as well as a way to possibly document some of the interesting experiences and emotions that wrestling invokes in me. I’m better prepared to come up with actual interesting vocab to use for these (as opposed to non-wrestling themed poems ) thanks to all of the words I’ve tossed into Anki, and all of the tweets that I scroll past on a regular basis.
Here’s another one that I’m still workshopping a little (I can’t decide if it’s breaking the 17 mora rule a little too badly):
Maybe I’ll eventually make a zine out of them or something, haha. I doubt there’s much interest in extremely niche amateur poetry with probably incorrect grammar, but they’re a fun distraction. I think I’ll probably stop bugging the senryu thread folks with these, but if anyone here wants to attempt a translation or interpretation, I’d love to hear them!
Onward to level 37! 行くぞ！
Maybe this is a problem with how translation tends to be perceived? I’ve heard a lot of people who aren’t familiar with translation think it’s a lot more straightforward and hard to mess up than it is
I love that shirt man
That was all really interesting to read! Thanks for taking the time