Fallynleaf's study log

publishing stuff

Thanks for sharing your perspective! Yeah, I’m aware of other authors who have succeeded outside of the Amazon ecosystem. It’s definitely possible, though it often takes more work. I used to be pretty plugged into the discussion surrounding the publishing world, but I’m admittedly not as plugged in lately.

Truthfully, my problems stem from so many sides :sweat_smile::

  • Amazon and pretty much all companies range from being very evil to somewhat evil (in terms of environmental issues as well as labor stuff).
  • Current copyright law is incredibly draconian and I want people to be free to create fanworks based on my stuff without fearing legal repercussions (for either me as the author reading their fics or for the fic authors haha).
  • I want my writing to be accessible to as many people as possible. This is more important to me than making money. I don’t want to become one of those bitter authors who goes after the Internet Archive or rails about piracy or makes it hard for librarians to do their job or whatever.
  • Print on demand saves work and cost on my end, but comes with significant trade-offs in terms of aesthetics and higher cost per individual item, plus I have very little control over the production in terms of environmental cost and all of that.
  • Small print runs give me substantially more control over the materials and production process, and is cheaper per individual item, but has a high up front cost and requires me to store and ship the items. It also has a chance of losing you quite a lot of money if your books don’t sell.
  • Self publishing in general often has high up front costs, in terms of needing to pay for art/cover design, editing, ISBNs, and various other assorted costs.
  • The best way to be able to actually be successful with your writing career is publishing on a regular basis, because it’s a good way to build a regular audience, and your new books effectively promote your old ones. This is hard to do when your mental health is as inconsistent as mine is.

Possible solutions?

  • To avoid relying on unethical companies, host your own website with your own store, offering special perks perhaps for books purchased through it. However, this requires fulfilling the purchases yourself, and reduces access to your books. Your entire business model also relies on funneling people to this one hub.
  • To avoid draconian copyright law, publish your stuff under a creative commons license. Nice, this one actually has an easy solution! My preferred license is this one. I can see possible scenarios where people could republish my stuff and I’d lose money or whatever, but my main philosophy is that that shouldn’t be as much of an issue if I can offer something of unique value with my books that’s difficult for others to reproduce. In any case, it’s more important to me that transformative works are protected, and that my work isn’t locked away forever under copyright law.
  • To increase accessibility and render piracy a moot point, publish my stories for free on my own website (also helps attract viewers to the website!). Serialize them in order to slowly build an audience over time, then make edited print and ebook versions available for purchase after the serialization has finished. If the print and ebook books are designed well enough, fans of the stories will want to buy them despite the story being technically available for free.
  • Print on demand might be a necessary evil? For selling on platforms like Amazon, at least (if you favor the put your eggs in more than one basket strategy), and getting your books in libraries and bookstores. Though you can make them an option without making them the core of your business.
  • Small press print runs could possibly be crowdfunded? Assuming you could raise the money, you wouldn’t have to worry about funding the run or storing most of the books, since most of the copies have buyers. If any titles prove to be really popular, you could do another printing, possibly with different aesthetic decisions so that each run feels special and unique (and people feel more incentivized to buy your books).
  • A lot of costs in general could be taken care of by crowdfunding, assuming you build a large enough audience. Patreon is also a possible funding avenue. You could make advance chapters of your stories available there to incentivize people to sign up, etc. I tend to favor the argument that says that if you have like 1,000 devoted fans of your stuff, that’s really all you need to stay afloat. You don’t need to aim for making bestsellers. So I’m mostly interested in fostering community around my work, I guess, and trying to be interesting as an author. I do have the bookbinding and papermaking and such going for me, in terms of things that might be interesting to readers, haha.
  • Don’t really have a solution to mental health stuff making it difficult to publish on a regular basis, unfortunately :sweat_smile:. I keep hoping that with more stability in my life (now that I’m done with school), my writing habits will stabilize, too, but then a pandemic happened, as well as increasing unrest in my country and the world :sweat:. For the time being, I’m trying to stockpile my manuscripts in the hopes of eventually having enough of a backlog of stuff that I feel like I could actually attempt to get this whole venture off of the ground.

That’s where my head is at with all of this at the moment, basically. It’s hard trying to balance ethical concerns with aesthetic ones (as a bookbinder and book designer in addition to being a writer) and with, well, the practical realities of life (costs and marketing and storage and shipping and all of that). Hence why I’ve largely stalled out on this as a primary career option.

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I’m gonna be quoting a lot to reply, but not everything.

Environmental and labor stuff

To things about environmental issues and labor issues, I’m not particularly plugged in. There are a lot of bad stuff in the world on these issues and it sucks, but my personal stance is that I can’t avoid them entirely. How many things are made in china for example. Are store employees ever treated well by their employers? What about earning a living wage? If I start taking all of that into consideration for my life. I think I’d have to stop buying anything but locally made stuff that I could truly look into if those issues exist, and make everything else myself. Basically start a farm, and live off that. Except I’d probably need machines, and I can’t build those myself and probably can’t find a local maker that isn’t attached to a bigger company that will probably not be perfect. (Also, I don’t want to be a farmer, I have other dreams for my life.)

So instead, I do what I can to make better choices (like picking local, like not buying from Amazon if there are other alternatives that won’t bankrupt me, etc.), and I advocate for better rights and so on. And for the rest, I recognize that I have to make a living, and my happiness is also important.

And still, I’ve been thinking about whether I could for example stop buying things made in china, but that isn’t always something that is written on product information online, and I don’t want to have to buy everything in a physical store.

So I just thought I’d put that up front and then focus on specific things.


Publishing stuff

Actually nowadays, Amazon is a place you have to put in a lot of work to have success in too. Now that ads for books is a thing. The golden age of just slapping things up on Amazon and selling have not been around for a while now; the amount of work it takes to have success on Amazon have grown bit by bit and is quite significant now.

I’m not sure why this is a problem? Copyright is not like trademark. You don’t have to defend your copyright (nor will anyone else), and unless you license your rights to someone else, no one else is gonna go after anyone for your stories. So you could license under creative commons for sure. Heck, there is nothing stopping you from putting your own works into the public domain from the moment you’ve finished them. (At least I’m pretty sure you can sign over your stuff to the public domain.)

But also, I don’t think you have to. I think there are authors who even write guidelines for fan fiction authors on their personal websites. And I’m pretty sure you can put in any will of yours that your stories go into the public domain upon your death, if you want that.

You should look into Cory Doctorow who gives away their books for free online (at least they did a few years ago, see a short interview here), I’m not plugged in more than knowing that, so I can’t say exactly how they do it, but you should be able to find more info. They are also a successful author as far as I know.

As to anyone making fanfics from your works… Well, that is another thing entirely. CC licenses have something about what license a derivative work needs to be under, I think (to be legal I guess). But I’m not entirely plugged into that.

Personally, I won’t go after fan fiction works/writers just for writing fanfics of my work and posting them online for free. I see no harm in it. If they start to try and sell them for money, or such, then I might do something.

The aesthetics are a lot better these days. PoD is booming and quality is up. Although price per copy is still high (even higher now because paper prices are higher). In one aspect, the environmental cost is less: books will only be printed when someone orders one. So no unnecessary/unwanted copies and associated environmental costs will happen.

All I’ll say is no. You can find royalty free art for pretty low costs on sites such as Dreamstime, Depositphotos, and such places. Designing can be learnt to do yourself, but even if you don’t at least you can find cheaper options now because indie publishing is so big. ISBNs I’ll grant you, but you might not need one (ebooks don’t); US authors is getting screwed here, because in Sweden I get ISBNs for free…

As to editting, copyediting is all you need, and you should be able to find that for a reasonable price. I don’t know how exactly, because I can’t just go to my local library and finding someone who’s good at English, nor go to a local college and see if an English major want to earn some extra coin (or English professor).

Look for cost articles on Dean’s website. He’s blunt and doesn’t mince words. But don’t let his tone fool you. He’s mostly angry because so many people get screwed. :frowning: (Although probably don’t take his advice on what designing software to use to make covers, because there are cheaper and free options out there. But keep in mind his comments on fonts, because someone made those fonts and they should be licensed properly for what they are used for.)

Self publishing can be fairly cheaply done. It can be done more or less free if one really wants/needs. Even with small investments (such as getting a design program that costs a little, and/or paying for copyediting, etc.), it can be done well.

It is much better to get them out there. Even if they don’t make much or anything. Because the more things you have available, the easier it is for someone to find you, and if they find you and like your stuff, they’re likely to buy everything you have available so you want as much available as possible. Regularly publishing can help for sure. But the best way to sell more is to have more out there. Holding back because you don’t have the mental well being right now to figure it out is absolutely a good reason; holding back because you think publishing something once a month is better than it being out there already potentially earning you money is not such a good reason.

I’m pretty sure that libraries when it comes to ebooks could never buy direct from you right now, or you’d have to get very famous for that to be a consideration. When it comes to print books, they also mostly (only?) buy through certain channels, so if you want your stuff in libraries, you might have to make your books available in those channels.


The best way to build an author career is having many years before you need to make money at it. So starting slow, getting things out there bit by bit is the way to go. And marketing really isn’t that useful until you have at least 10 novels/collections out there, because until then even if you convert someone to that one book, well, if there is nothing else for them to buy after, so it is hard to make the marketing worth it.

Another truth is that you will make mistakes. And you learn from them, and fix them as you can, and then you move forward. I haven’t gotten very far in my career, but I’ve already made plenty of mistakes. Comes with having your own business, and life in general.

Edit: Wanted to add that I know how much work it/this is. I think the only thing I’ve done these past couple of years is keeping up with the industry and not much else, except sporadic writing. The pandemic with the fear and such has played several numbers on my mental health. (Along with moving and trying to settle in a new place.)

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publishing stuff

Gonna preface this with a Robert Bringhurst quote (from “Why There are Pages and Why They Must Turn”): “Many writers, of course, had no more desire to start designing and setting their books than they had to start building their own houses, growing their own food, and making their own clothes.”

Let’s just say that I am that kind of writer :sweat_smile:. I’ve dabbled in all of these things. It’s definitely not how all writers are, but it is how I am.

I think you gain a bit of a different perspective on the material reality of books when you approach bookmaking kind of sideways, from the bookbinding/papermaking/printing/design side of it and not the content creation side. And then add librarianship and book conservation and general archival concerns on top of that, and well… you will find yourself spending a lot of time in your life thinking about paper :sweat_smile:.

In my opinion, the best era for paper in terms of quality (for printed books specifically) as well as environmental concerns was the 15th century European papermaking industry, when the vast majority of paper was made out of old linen and hemp. This paper still holds up beautifully to this day. Of course, this era was not so great about labor issues.

In the modern day, we simultaneously have more and less options for paper. It’s impossible to reach the same level of quality (and, well, recycling) that existed in the 15th century because that industry is entirely gone now. But there is a lot of really nice paper out there, and there’s more awareness of archival concerns than there used to be, so like print on demand books are trying to think about these things and all of that. However, you still don’t get very many choices for the paper your books are printed on, with print on demand. All of that is completely out of your hands.

When I talk about aesthetics, this is the kind of thing I mean. The ability to choose and heavily customize the physical materials that make up your book. Obviously I don’t have the ability to make the kinds of choices I was able to make with my custom edition of Moby Dick, which I digitally designed myself, made my own handmade paper for (complete with a harpoon watermark), printed the book onto the paper via a home printer, and will ideally eventually bind myself (I have a specific plan in mind, but was unable to finish the book before I graduated and lost access to the studio space I was using).

But with any book I’m making, I do care a lot about paper: what does it feel/look like, how long will it last, where did it come from, what materials was it made out of, who made it? I care about it from an aesthetics perspective, from an archival one, from an environmental one, and from the perspective of labor issues.

Granted, print on demand has improved in many ways. They’re much more archival now, for one thing. The conservator emeritus at my old university actually helped some companies improve in this regard. Aesthetically, they’ve also improved a lot (though you’re still quite limited in terms of choice). But the rest of it… well…

For one thing, printing on demand is just more inefficient than printing in a larger batch. That’s just how it is. No matter how much the technology improves, this will always be the case. It takes more energy/resources/time to print 1000 individual books on demand than if you did a small print run and did them all at once. Environmental concerns aside, one perk of doing print runs is that I’d be able to offer my books for cheaper, or make more per copy without having to hike up the price unreasonably for customers.

I think this is where we differ, in terms of aesthetics and such :sweat_smile:. I’m actually legit trained in book design, so I don’t have to pay anyone for that, but for stuff that goes beyond fonts and layout, like cover art and illustrations, I’m not a good enough artist to produce work with the quality that I would want. I’d much rather commission an artist to get a nice illustration in the style that I want, which I can use on the book as well as on the website, and in any crowdfunding campaigns I might attempt and such.

As far as ISBNs go, without one, you’re limited to publishing in print through Amazon’s POD service, since they give you one of their ISBNs for free, but it’s sort of not a “real” ISBN, and my understanding is that if you use theirs, you’re kind of stuck in their system, and also bookstores won’t carry you, and most libraries won’t, either. Maybe this part has changed in the past few years. In any case, I already purchased plenty of ISBNs, so it’s not an issue for me.

If I do try print on demand, I’m currently favoring IngramSpark over the free options, just because the quality is better, and it’s way better for wide distribution (plus freeing yourself from Amazon). However, Ingram absolutely does have more upfront costs than other POD services. It also requires an ISBN, but thankfully that one thing is not a problem for me.

As far as editing goes, I’d absolutely want to pay someone to do it, and that could easily run you a decent bill. If I serialize my stuff for free first, though, I think I could probably get away without paying an editor until the book has finished serialization and is about to be published. So it’s another thing that crowdfunding could potentially help cover.

My main concern is that if I want to make Patreon part of my business model at all, and with serialized web content, you do need to be pretty regular about updating. It’s less of a concern if you’re not going down that route.

I don’t think I’ll ever in my life be someone putting out one book a month, but I think it’s reasonable to want to get to a point where I can reliably get a new book done in the 20 weeks or however long it takes to serialize the previous one :sweat_smile:. If I’m at least a few books ahead, in terms of finished manuscripts, that would give me more of a buffer so that I can stay on schedule with publishing even if I fall a bit behind on writing.

With libraries, it’s… complicated. There are so many issues with libraries and ebooks, and libraries and self-published books. I’ve come at this one from both directions (the perspective of a librarian and the perspective of an author).

Unfortunately, a lot of it comes down to publishers being very greedy and afraid of piracy (several major publishers won’t even let libraries carry ebooks of their books, and of the ones that do allow it, they often charge a lot of money per book and limit the number of uses), and basically deliberately doing what they can to make it very hard and expensive for libraries to carry ebooks.

The system that is currently in place is very frustrating to me because it basically tries to eliminate every single positive quality that ebooks have over print books (extremely low cost of production, ease of distribution, lack of decay of physical condition, ability for more than one person to read the book at the same time, etc.) by attempting to reproduce the exact same conditions of print books.

Something I’m interested in doing, actually, while I work at a library, is trying to find other solutions that make it easier for libraries to carry ebooks, and ways to do it that aren’t so mired in DRM. I’d literally make ebooks of my own books available for free to libraries if they wanted to carry them. I’d love to find a way for authors who think similarly to be able to get their books into libraries like that. Of course, libraries might not be interested in carrying them (even ebook collections must be curated), and there is a certain prejudice in some libraries against self-published material (some reasons are valid, and some aren’t), but it would be nice to forge an alternative pathway that makes things easier for everyone, including patrons.

Yes, the creative commons license that I use allows for sharing (copying and redistributing the material in any medium or format) and adapting (remixing, transforming, and building upon the material for any purpose, even commercially), as long as I’m attributed, and as long as any derivative work is distributed under the same license as the original.

Your intentions are good, but here’s where things get sticky. The most famous example is probably this one. I’ve seen many authors, like Neil Gaiman and such, say that they don’t engage with fanworks of their stuff at all for this reason.

Part of the reason why I use the creative commons license that I do is because it renders situations like this a non-issue. Regardless of what may or may not happened in that specific situation, I don’t want fans of my works to feel afraid. I also don’t want to feel afraid to engage with fanworks of my stuff as the author.

And as far as people making money off of fanworks goes, it’s a really tricky situation because the vast majority of the time, people who take fanfiction commissions and all of that are doing it because they need money to survive. Current AO3 policy forbids asking for money for your work or linking to places to take donations because they’re afraid of a legal battle happening over this, which could prove disastrous for fanworks, depending on how it goes. I think it’s going to inevitably come to a head at some point, as more and more people slip into poverty and get more and more desperate.

In any case, this is another occasion where I don’t want fans to feel afraid. If someone takes a $20 commission from another fan and writes them a fic based on my book, I want them to be able to do that without fearing retaliation from me.

For theoretical use cases beyond that, if someone writes an 80k spin-off fic of my book or whatever and wants to publish it for money, as long as they credit me and publish their stuff under the same CC license, I don’t have a problem with that. I’d rather put ideas out in the world that get picked up and used by other people and become part of the wider story fabric, rather than getting locked away in a copyright vault somewhere for like a century.

I think all writers (for fic and original fiction alike) have different things to contribute, and our work cannot replace each other’s. A fic writer’s take on my stories will be different than mine. Some people will prefer that other person’s version. Their version making money would not be taking away from me.

And the more of us are writing in the same world, the more exciting and fleshed-out that world becomes, and the more other people will want to play around in it.


This is getting long as heck, sorry! Props to everyone who made it this far :sweat_smile:.

I guess to sum up my overall position on things, the business model I currently favor, and which I think is most conducive to the kind of lifestyle I want to live and my ethics in terms of accessibility and all of that, is publishing my novels digitally by serializing them on my own website for free, with a Patreon set up that people can subscribe to to get the next week’s chapter available in advance, as well as extra goodies like occasional free book downloads, wallpapers maybe, and additional content.

I think digital content wants to be free. If you don’t provide it for free, someone else will. But if you offer regular, quality content, people will be happy to support you, especially if the cost barrier is very low. If you have 1000 readers paying $1 to you every month, that’s a decent chunk of money, and you’ll make more than if all of those people purchased 2.5 ebooks a year from you. And some of them might also buy an ebook from you at the end because they want to own the book in a more convenient format, or they might buy a print copy (or both!). I just think digital content should be treated differently than print books, and should be monetized differently. Otherwise, you’re just going to constantly run into problems with libraries/archives and piracy and all of that.

As far as print books go, I treat them sort of like special art objects. If I’m going to be putting print books out there in the world, I want them to be worth everything it took to produce them. I think if you offer a very high standard of quality and uniqueness with your print books, people will want to own them as objects. This is something that other publishers will struggle to reproduce, even if someone takes the text of your book and tries to do their own POD edition of it or something.

A lot of upfront printing costs can be taken care of with a successful crowdfunding campaign, which is essentially guaranteeing sales of your book by having people preorder copies. If the printing step comes at the end, after your book already has a dedicated audience via serialization, it should theoretically be easier to get it funded.

I guess maybe it’s kind of a weird, somewhat contradictory position, because I’m informed both by the zine world as well as the book artist world. I want my stuff to be very accessible and free, but also high quality. And I want it to last, and be available in libraries. It’s a lot to ask for :sweat_smile:.

My goal would be to foster a positive community around my work where people could engage with it however they wanted, without fear (and without needing to spend money), and would feel encouraged to spread and remix the stories in their own words. And ideally, the thing that would keep them coming back to me would be the quality of my writing as well as the quality of the production, which I do believe are things that are unique skills of mine, which cannot be reproduced exactly by other people. I think if you cultivate for yourself a small community of people who truly love your work, they’ll stick with you, and with time, that community will likely continue to flourish and grow.

But, well, my mental health being what it is and all of that, I guess for now, I’ve picked the easy path (working as a librarian without trying to make it as an author). But ideally, I do want to eventually try to get this all going, even if it ends up being a huge failure.

For now, though, all of my spare time/energy that could be going into writing is definitely going into studying Japanese instead :sweat_smile:. But I hope that once I reach a more advanced level, I’ll be able to introduce a little more balance back into my life and study Japanese more on the side rather than as a primary hobby.

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Publishing

A lot of what I wrote was because there is a lot of misinformation about self/indie publishing and most think it has to be expensive. However it doesn’t have to be. But you seem aware of this and instead wants to choose certain aesthetics and such that will make it expensive. Just be aware that you’re making it a lot harder to make a living at it, if that is what you eventually wish. But I think you know that. ^^

You know a lot about paper. :eyes:

I’d to just mention that the quality of illustrations and such you can find on the royalty free sites is great. It won’t be custom obviously, but there is a lot of variety there. But perhaps you’ve investigated them already and know that. ^^ In any case, you seem to have a very specific vision and for that you’ll probably need custom art.

Currently I think the recommendation is (to reach the most readers) is to go with IngramSpark but turn off the Amazon channel, and use Amazon’s PoD for Amazon (and only Amazon). I also know the distributor Draft2Digital has PoD in beta right now, and it’ll be interesting to see how that one works.

True, Patreon and serial models certainly work a lot better with regular content. However outside that, it is generally better to publish things sooner rather than later.

I know. What trad publishers are doing is just stupid when it comes to ebooks both to libraries and the market in general. They seems to think their business is print books, not selling books in general. Despite them earning more per ebook copy than they do paper copy.

Not engaging with fan fiction will be my stance too. For legal reasons, it is just safer. I’ve never been engaged with fanfictions, I’ve read a handful in my teens and that is about it. I always wanted to write my own stuff because it is much easier to make things up, than trying to play within someone else’s restrictions, in my opinion. (Aka I find it much harder to ape someone’s style, or write their characters true to how they appear in another work, than make up my own characters.)

I don’t think I’ve heard of this practice.

Well, it will take work. And while I don’t know if someone else is currently doing the specific combo you want to do, I’m sure you can find examples of people serializing on their websites/Patreon and then selling the books; and same with people making books as art.

There is a wide world out there. :earth_asia: Forging your own path in it is seldom easy, but hopefully it will be worthwhile. (I don’t necessarily mean worthwhile as in successful but satisfying, fulfilling, and hopefully successful.) I certainly hope it will be for me too. :blush:

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publishing stuff

Yep, I’m very aware :sweat_smile:. But I guess I just know too much now, I can’t really compromise my ideals. I kind of sit at the intersection of all of these different worlds (writing, fanfiction/copyright, bookbinding/papermaking/printing/design, libraries/archives), not to mention zines and artist books.

Before grad school, I was coming at this from just the writing (and fandom) side, but I picked my school specifically because of their fanzine collections, so I ended up studying all sorts of stuff through that angle (zine librarianship, the material composition of zines, and basically the history of self-publishing, as well as the history of many subcultures that ultimately moved from zines and became internet subcultures) during the course of my library science degree. At the same time, I was learning bookbinding and book conservation and stuff like that. Came out of it feeling like I was literally destined to self-publish my own stuff, haha, but then also felt myself getting pulled in way too many directions, I wasn’t sure how to even go about it.

What’s funny about this is when I first started learning book arts, naturally I signed up for a bookbinding class, because that was the most interesting skill to me by far, but I was surrounded by lots of MFA book arts students who’d specifically come to that school to learn papermaking, and I thoroughly Did Not Get It. They’d pick up a sheet of handmade paper and just marvel over how nice it was, and I’d pick it up, nod, and be like “ah, this sure is a sheet of paper.”

I put off learning papermaking until my last year in grad school. I felt like I was obligated to cover all of the main bases (I’d taken four bookbinding classes, box-making, letterpress, calligraphy, book design, book preservation, and book conservation, but no papermaking yet). My class was on Nepalese, Islamic, and Japanese styles of papermaking, with a particular focus on Japanese papermaking, which was my professor’s specialty. It utterly blew my mind and transformed my entire way of thinking about books.

I came out of the semester with the realization that I had become one of those paper people :sweat_smile:.

Yeah, I’d want the art to be a strong focus for promoting and illustrating the website and any possible crowdfunding campaigns as well as the book, so I’d want something that’s very tailored to the work, which can become part of its unique identity. Plus, I know a lot of really talented artists who I’d love to commission :blush:.

This is extremely by design. People who take fanfic commissions do them very much under the table because they don’t want to get sued for them. The commission solicitation posts often talk about it with very vague language that gives the authors plausible deniability (like people promising they’ll write you a “story” with the unstated implication being that it will be a fanfic).

Like I mentioned earlier, people aren’t even allowed to talk about it at all on AO3, so you won’t usually see it mentioned on the fic websites. The vast majority of people doing this kind of work are people who cannot work a regular job for whatever reason (often they’re disabled), and this is a last resort for them to earn a little bit of money so that they can scrape by. It’s not a lucrative industry by any means.

It’s… kind of a disaster waiting to happen, in my opinion. If an author did find out about it and sued the fan writer for it, I think it would probably be really disastrous for all involved, and for fanfic in general. Personally, I think it would be very cruel for an author to go after a fic writer for doing it, because the person in question is likely very poor, and is not taking any money out of the author’s pockets or anything (if someone is paying someone else for a commission, they’re doing so either to financially support that person, or because they want something that wasn’t in the original work anyway).

I hope so! And yeah, I hope you manage to find success with your own writing, too.

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Made it to level 41!

I’m officially 2/3rds of the way through WaniKani, so that’s exciting! Level 40 took me about thirteen days. My personal life has been relatively uneventful, thankfully, so I’ve had more energy for Japanese.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 3515 (and 2536 on KW)!

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

Here’s an interesting discussion about translating accents, which I thought might be of interest to some folks here.

I also reached a personal milestone, which is that I was able to debunk a fishy seeming DeepL translation of a Tokyo Sports article that was going mildly viral on wrestling twitter. Here’s the original article. I talk more about in in this post, which is also linked below.

I was glad that I was able to understand the joke in this tweet, thanks to a word I learned from DDT :sweat_smile:.

Speaking of DDT, I’m proud to announce that I understood my first Gon the Fox joke without needing the translation. 金玉 proving its usefulness once again :sweat_smile:. Hilariously, I understood the dirty punchline but was not familiar with the word it was a pun on, which was presumably たーまや (or たまや). Apparently these are shouts used when viewing fireworks.

Here’s a really funny kanji joke that I think many of us around the world can relate to right now. あっっっっっっっっつい indeed :hot_face: :pensive:.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 36 – Lesson 37

Was on a bit of a time crunch for lesson 36, due to basically having no time for textbook study my first week of this level thanks to translation deadlines :sweat_smile:. I did finish it in time, though!

One of the audio exercises for this lesson asked me if there’s anything I do to avoid getting sick. Thanks to covid, my perspective on health and safety has changed pretty drastically, so all I could think of for this was “大勢の人がいる所は行かないようにしています” :sweat_smile: :sweat:.

The last exercise of the lesson asked me to talk about a kind of transportation/vehicle I wanted to exist, and being an American without a drivers license and with pretty significant train envy concerning other countries, I just talked about Japan’s train system, and said “いつかアメリカでもそんな電車が乗れるようになるかもしれません.” We can hope…

I didn’t technically finish running through all of the lesson 37 vocab yet because I started it a little late, oops! But they’ve all been added to my main deck, and should be all in circulation within the next couple days.

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 37 kanji!

Reading/Listening:

Spanish (Reading: finished local history parallel text book, started Antes de Ser Libres by Julia Alvarez) (Listening: Duolingo podcast)

I finished the local history book! I started a new book called Antes de Ser Libres by Julia Alvarez, which is a young adult book that is fairly short. So far, the writing is very straightforward, the vocab isn’t too difficult, and the story is compelling. It’s going very well! I’m 46 pages into the book (there are 184 total), so I might even finish it before my next update.

So far so good with the read every day challenge. Almost halfway through it with no missed days!

Once again, no further progress on 大海原と大海原. I had the opportunity to read a little more of it, but prioritized a different book :sweat_smile:. On the bright side, the longer I wait, the better my language skill gets, so the manga becomes much easier to read.

I had a little more time last week, so I translated some more senryu again!

株下がり何故かうれしいわたしたち

離婚後も同居続けるへんな仲

晴天がやけに空しい月曜日

祖母が居て「もったいない」を孫覚え

I also got into some fights in the senryu thread about translation, because as you might guess, I have some opinions on the matter, haha.

As far as TJPW translations go, I had another very busy week (and then a second much less busy week)! Here’s everything I got done:

2022.07.16 TJPW 東京プリンセスカップ — (28 words added across this show and the next)
2022.07.17 TJPW 東京プリンセスカップ
2022.07.18 TJPW 東京プリンセスカップ — (8 words added)
2022.07.23 TJPW 東京プリンセスカップ — (12 words added)

My wrestling deck is up to 923 words (116 of which still aren’t in circulation). I’m hoping to gradually make up ground when there’s a little bit less activity and when I don’t have textbook vocab to work through.

The books I ordered months ago finally arrived! Including the NJPW English book, which took so long to get here, by the time it arrived, I had stopped watching the company… awkward :grimacing:. It still seems handy for translation purposes, though.

Here’s a post where I shared some photos of all of the books, along with links to buy them and short descriptions. I also got ごんぎつね, in honor of me understanding my first Gon the Fox joke in DDT (This is a lie. I ordered the book months ago, and it just so happened to arrive last week). I included a picture of the book in this post.

My tentative reading plan is looking something like this:

  • Now (late 2022):
    • Finish 大海原と大海原 volume 3 (then the 大海原と大海原 video game)
    • 新日本プロレス英語入門
    • 世界が広がる 推し活英語
  • Early 2023: Finish Minna no Nihongo 2, and start Tobira. Reach level 60 in WK.
    • Read the MNN novel
    • Read the Read Real Japanese series
    • Dive into manga in earnest, starting with Flying Witch and Yotsuba&! and then try out some of the literal hundreds of free manga I’ve gotten from Bookwalker
  • Late 2023 or early 2024: Finish Tobira.
    • Start reading 365日にっぽんのいろ図鑑 at the beginning of 2024
    • Pick up some wrestler biographies or other longer form wrestling stuff that I’d been hoping to read. Maybe get a shupro subscription.
    • Try out some regular novels in Japanese
  • ?

Timeline is of course flexible, and I’m liable to read stuff ahead of when I originally plan on it. But if all goes as planned, I’m hoping to be comfortably past N4 at the beginning of 2023, and comfortably past N3 by the beginning of 2024. The whole time, I’ll be continuing to build up vocab in Anki, as well as learning more kanji outside of WK.

Unless TJPW gets a proper translator again, I’m planning on continuing with the translations, though I’m hoping to get much faster at them (and have a lot less translation questions) as my language skill continues to improve.

On that note, I started reading the NJPW English book! It’s going surprisingly well so far? I somehow got through the first, uh, 64 pages in one sitting. I’m very much reading extensively and not intensively, so I’m basically skimming it and skipping a lot of details that aren’t interesting to me. Here’s the post I made about it. There’s some griping about translation in that post, too.

It’s an interesting experience because I wouldn’t recommend the book to most beginners (anyone who can’t easily read 90% of the kanji they come across will probably have a bad time), but it’s set up very well for my particular strengths (very high kanji, moderate vocab, and low grammar). I’m nowhere near this fluent in other genres, but for wrestling, I know quite a bit of specialized vocab, plus have an overall familiarity with the characters and such, which helps a lot with overall comprehension.

I’m planning on skipping ahead to the glossary section and reading that next. Poor 大海原と大海原 might get put off a little bit longer because I think this book will help me with translation decisions, which is a little more urgent.

New resources (pronunciation-related):

Continuing the pronunciation section laid out in this guide… I started studying pitch accent!

  • Watched my first Dogen video: Japanese pitch accent in 10 minutes. Exactly what it says on the tin, pretty much. Kanshudo’s guide is also pretty good. Here’s (64m) a series of videos that’s basically a crash course on pitch accent and intonation. I was particularly fascinated by the fact that い-adjective pronunciation is changing! The new way is a lot easier to memorize :sweat_smile:. I don’t think my listening comprehension is quite there yet, but if I can, I’m going to try to listen to which style of pronunciation my favorite wrestlers use for い-adjectives. I suspect the new style? Could very well be proven wrong!

I think I’d put learning pitch accent about on the level of learning how to write kanji, in terms of how it benefits your overall comprehension. Studying pronunciation is to listening what practicing writing is to reading. You can listen and read very proficiently without a background in either, but having some experience does help you recognize sounds/characters. Of course, if you wish to become a very proficient speaker or writer, you’ll obviously need to practice more than the basics!

I’m planning to go a little bit further with this, until I finish getting through that section of the guide. We’ll have to see what the future holds beyond that.

New resources (not pronunciation-related):

I’m so thrilled to share this one. The Japan Foundation launched a new digital library consisting of broad genres such as manga, literature, Japanese language, art, history, culture, society, cooking & food, etc. There are 1,800 titles total, and they’re completely free to read! I’ve barely looked at this yet, but it sounds like an incredible resource! Many of these books aren’t in Japanese, but they do have some that are. I’m not sure anyone has shared this one on the forum yet, so maybe I should make a thread about it after I’ve had the chance to check it out?

Tobira (and the workbook) also arrived in the mail along with my other books! I’m not exactly sure how fast I’ll be able to get through each chapter of the book, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Two weeks per chapter would be ideal, but three weeks would be a fine pace. The book seems to be a great resource, though the overall design is rather dry :sweat_smile:. I’m a little spoiled by how visually appealing MNN is.

I caved and implemented an unofficial fix for the Anki Forvo downloader addon, since there still isn’t an official update for it. The fix works fine so far. I also found the Yomichan Forvo Server addon, which allows Yomichan to pull audio directly from Forvo. Handy!

Next steps:

I think the next level should be a little less busy for me? I hope so, at least. If so, I’m aiming to get more reading done outside of the translations, and hopefully get around to some of the other things I’ve been wanting to do, like posting in the tools thread and making that Hiragana Muscle Anki deck.

I’m also hoping to finish up my foray into studying pronunciation! I’m weirdly not getting bored of it yet, despite what I’d assumed, but it’ll be nice to have some of that time back, haha.

Onward to level 42! 行くぞ!

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Made it to The Answer (level 42)!

Kind of a fun little milestone, which coincidentally ended up marking an actual real milestone in my Japanese journey? Sometimes time is weird. In any case, I spent just shy of fourteen days on this last level, and boy were they eventful!

It wasn’t all good, unfortunately. Got some more bad news at work and found out that my favorite coworker is leaving, which will make things a lot tougher, and which will also make work a lot less fun for me. This sort of re-triggered my depression, but I ended up managing to push past it, largely thanks to distracting myself with the new project I just started…

Which is a public twitter account I created to promote my Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling translations! I’ll talk about this in more detail later, but yeah, my translations have a proper audience now, beyond just a handful of friends and scattered readers on a pro wrestling thread on a language learning forum. It’s very scary :sweat_smile:!

It’s also a new avenue for small, occasional opportunities to practice producing Japanese, which is fun! I’m still feeling out the identity of the account, and what exactly I want it to be, but in addition to sharing translations, I do want to use it to participate in fun TJPW hashtags, and occasionally comment on wrestlers’ posts, and that sort of thing.

This update was a couple days late because I had a pretty busy weekend, with two large TJPW shows and a DDT show as well. I spent a lot of my remaining time trying to get as much done on the translations as I could. The sheer amount of work ahead of me scared me at first, but I think I’ll be okay :blush:.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 3667 (and 2648 on KW!)

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

Something I’ve noticed is that my ability to pick up stuff from wrestling shows is increasing. I’m able to catch a lot more from Namba’s announcements at the beginning of TJPW, and the announcements in DDT, and that sort of thing. Still missing Raku’s train of the day in almost every show, but I did manage to catch that the last one was the さくら 新幹線!

Regarding the TJPW translation twitter account, I started it after I read another major story misinterpretation on twitter and finally snapped :sweat_smile:. There is a fair amount of misinformation out there because English-speaking fans aren’t understanding that many of the things happening in matches are deliberate character decisions, not signs of athletes acting irrationally because of unknown power struggles backstage. I love wrestling because the storytelling can be so wonderfully subtle, but that’s also a double-edged sword because it asks a lot from the viewer, and not all viewers are willing or able (due to language barriers) to put in the work.

But, well, my account is out there now for the people who do care about all of that. It’s intimidating having 60+ people reading my work now, though :sweat_smile:. It’s also intimidating because the wrestlers themselves can also find and interact with my translations now :sweat_smile:. Pom Harajuku and one of the dream on the ring candidates have found and liked a few of my tweets already :sweat_smile:. My fear is that I’ll accidentally teach them weird English or something. Like when my predecessor accidentally taught Maki Itoh the word “cuck” thanks to how he translated one of her backstage comments.

One of the first things I did with my account was write up a very, very long thread sort of summing up major story and character moments from earlier in the year. I went back through all of my old translations and pulled out what I thought were important highlights. And wow, it was a lot of work! I was a little bit floored by just how many of these translations I’ve done. Incidentally, the first person who liked this thread was actually a Japanese fan, so I guess some Japanese fans are frustrated by the misinformed discourse among the English-speaking fandom, too.

Something that was kind of fun was that TJPW posted (in Japanese) asking fans to post under the #ぽむがんばれ hashtag with words of encouragement for Pom Harajuku, going into her match with the terrifying Max the Impaler. I ended up composing a tweet in Japanese:

難敵ですが、ぽむさんはトリッキーな動きと世界で一番最強なスネ蹴りを持っています!
ぽむさんを信じています。幻惑して倒して!海外から応援しています。
東京女子でみんなを応援できるように、日本語を勉強しています!

Pom did in fact see it! I also ended up making a post explaining what the hashtag actually meant so that English-speaking fans would understand what they were saying when they used it. That post received a lot more appreciation than I was expecting, and I had someone ask me to explain the difference between 頑張れ and 頑張って :sweat_smile:.

I’m being very upfront about my actual Japanese level on this account so that people don’t treat me as an actual authority, but I don’t mind answering easy questions like that. I’m far enough along in Japanese that I’m already forgetting that even extremely easy stuff like “ぽむがんばれ” is inaccessible to most English speakers. So I’m going to try to be more cognizant of that and try to bridge that gap a little whenever I can.

So that was my big update! Everything else is just the usual small stuff, haha.

Max the Impaler posted a very simple Japanese tweet after their three scheduled matches in Japan were over, and I was charmed by all of the Japanese fans responding to it with just incredible delight that Max had had such a good time there. One fan said that when they saw the tweet, they almost cried because Max’s character isn’t really the type to say positive things in Japanese, so it was heartwarming that Max chose to convey their love anyway.

I really liked this tweet from the woman who does most of the photography for TJPW and DDT (as well as photographing a fair number of independent wrestlers in Japan). She talks about how happy it makes her to receive positive comments about her work by the wrestlers, staff, and fans, and how she’s even happier when her work gets used as inspiration for fanart. She said: “創作の種を手渡せた事って、光栄すぎる,” that being able to hand over the seed of creation is an incredible honor.

Whenever I see stuff like that from creators, statements that are just so full of love and respect for fanworks, it warms my heart.

The other thing that gave me encouragement was a few more tweets that Kota Ibushi made. He said that he does in fact want to come to AEW at least a few times, and tag with Kenny Omega as the Golden Lovers again! Of course, this is all if his health permits it, which is not a guarantee. His shoulder still has to heal. But it was really encouraging to me to see that he at least wants to continue their story if he’s able to.

The Golden Lovers live on after all…

みんなの日本語 Lesson 37 – Lesson 38

Barely managed to finish lesson 37 before publishing this update, but I did get there! Since I’ve already gotten started on the lesson 38 vocab, I think that puts me about ½ of the way through MNN 2? And ¾ of the way through the entire beginners series. That’s a neat milestone!

I did want to mention that I’m really glad that I’ve been doing the production exercises despite not initially having an interest in that aspect of Japanese, because that practice has really come in handy with my new twitter account. Practicing production definitely does slow me down, but I think in the long run, the time I’ve spent on it is really beneficial.

Even if my Japanese currently is a little awkward or stilted, I feel like that’s better than not trying at all, y’know? I’m sure my Japanese still reads like “person who has gone through a beginner’s textbook” Japanese, but I’d rather that than it come across as too informal and impolite :sweat_smile:.

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 38 kanji!

Reading/Listening:

Spanish (Reading: Antes de Ser Libres) (Listening: Duolingo podcast)

Did not get a whole lot of Spanish read (or listened to), but I did read at least a page or two every day, so I technically have kept up with the challenge :sweat_smile:. I’m currently about 75 pages into the book, and the difficulty remains at a pretty good level.

I didn’t get any 大海原と大海原 read, but I did read some more from 新日本プロレス英語入門 when I didn’t have any TJPW translations to work on at the moment. Here’s my post about some interesting things I found in the glossary for the NJPW English book.

Regarding TJPW, I ended up switching things up slightly because I found out that 週刊プロレス has more complete transcriptions of the post-match comments and some of the in-ring promos available on their mobile site if you have a subscription! That’s the content I really want to be translating (instead of just gleaming what I can from the official recaps, which are available for free), so I took the plunge and signed up for it. It’s kind of hilarious because I literally just said in my last post that maybe I’ll get a shupro subscription in… 2024 :sweat_smile:. Jumped the gun on that one a little. I’m probably not going to try to read much of the actual magazine yet, though, because that’s just too deep of a rabbit hole. But I do technically have access to it now, as well as quite a number of back issues…

So far, I’ve finished two show translations with the full backstage comments. When I translated these, that’s when I really started feeling like I’m truly doing this for real now.

2022.7.31 TJPW 東京プリンセスカップ — (8 words added)
2022.08.07 TJPW 上福ゆき地元凱旋興行~kewlest town is 湘南台だべ!~ — (10 words added)

My wrestling deck currently has 940 words in it! A solid 100 or so still aren’t in circulation yet, but I’m gradually making up ground.

The words added count on those individual show translations is a little deceptive, in terms of how much work these were for me. With this new style of translation (focusing purely on direct quotes from the wrestlers and not match recaps or anything like that), there are less new words for me, but more characters in total to translate.

It’s interesting how it’s simultaneously harder and easier. It’s easier having proper context for everything instead of having to puzzle out lines in isolation, but it’s harder because there are just more lines to translate, period.

I have quite a bit of work ahead of me from this weekend because TJPW had back to back Korakuen Hall shows :sweat_smile: :cold_sweat:. I was really overwhelmed after the first one, just looking at all of the work I had to do, but I managed to get a decent chunk translated before the next show, actually, and felt a bit better about my ability to actually do this.

New resources (pronunciation-related):

I’ve made no new progress on this front! Simply did not have time. Maybe next level? :sweat_smile:

New resources (not pronunciation-related):

I found a tool for reading epub files that lets you take advantage of Yomichan while reading: Book Manager | ッツ Ebook Reader. Have not tried it out yet, but it seems really handy. I’m probably still a year out from properly attempting novels, but at this rate, who even knows…

Next steps:

My immediate priority is to get caught up on the TJPW translations. Everything else will have to take a bit of a backseat to that, as usual. I do want to get around to the other things I’ve been talking about wanting to get around to doing, though :sweat_smile:.

I’m trying to stay wary of burnout and all of that, but so far, I don’t think I’m in danger. Honestly, translating is a pretty good distraction from other stress, and it’s nice in a way because it can help me get a little distance from the emotions of the stories as well as bring the emotions closer to me, if that makes any sense? It’s like I’m looking through TJPW from two different lenses, one as a fan who is invested in the characters, and the other as a learner using it as a study tool. When one of those lenses becomes harder, for whatever reason, the other one often serves to get me through.

Onward to level 43! 行くぞ!

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There’s nothing wrong with that! We all gotta start somewhere. That’s how we improve.

Good for you for pushing yourself to manage a Twitter account that shares content that you’re interested in and can help others who aren’t quite at your Japanese comprehension level! That’s a big motivator because you’re so passionate about the topic and that means you’re bound to improve more and more as long as you keep at it. :slight_smile:

By the way, look at you at battling through WK like a pro while managing your main interests! That takes a lot of effort! You’re doing great!

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Thank you!!

Truthfully, I don’t think I’d be nearly this far in WK if I wasn’t so strict about keeping a consistent daily schedule, haha. I’ve been doing this for long enough, I feel like I’m not going to have any problem riding out the rest of the levels. It’s just second nature now to wake up and do my daily lessons. And if I keep doing that for enough days, one day I will be done :blush:.

And as far as doing all of this while managing my main interests goes, well, my strategy there is called “being autistic” :sweat_smile:. It’s very easy to put in the work when you have a hyperfixation on a Japanese language thing which developed into a hyperfixation on learning the language itself. It makes studying genuinely an enjoyable way to spend your time.

My main fear is what will happen if I lose the hyperfixation, so I’m trying to get as far as I can while I still have all of this energy and motivation to do it. I’ve definitely fought past some real low periods, but so far, nothing has stopped me yet! The further I get, the easier it is to keep going.

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Made it to level 43!

It took me just over fourteen days. I dragged my feet a little over logging out and logging back in again because I didn’t want to lose access to the secret subforum… :sweat_smile:

Something kind of fun is that the kanji that brought me over was 荒, wild, which is the first kanji in TJPW wrestler Yuki Arai’s name: 荒井優希. Remembering the reading for that one was easy as pie, haha.

Been a busy past couple weeks for me. I’ve been working pretty hard on translating. But I’ve been able to keep up with things thus far!

Something a little sad, though, is that GM Imabayashi’s DDT contract is ending, and one of the consequences of that is that Hiragana Muscle is also going to be ending after their next show (which will be the seventh in the series). I’d dreamed of one day being fluent enough that I could watch Hiragana Muscle and understand without needing the live translation threads on twitter, but it looks like I won’t be able to achieve that with new entries in the series :pensive:.

But, well, it is what it is. It’s the same lesson that pro wrestling has taught me over and over. I made myself this meme as a reminder to myself:

On a happier note, though, Kenny Omega made his return to wrestling! I’m hopeful again for more Golden Lovers stuff down the road somewhere, barring further health issues getting in the way of things. Kenny’s new entrance is full of blue and white stars, an incredibly blatant homage to the Golden Star Kota Ibushi, and it left me completely overcome with emotion. That night, Kota liked at least three tweets about Kenny’s return, including Kenny’s own tweet about it.

It felt sort of like Kenny was returning for both of them. If Kota’s injury never recovers to the point where he can wrestle again, Kenny will carry Kota’s legacy with him for the rest of his own career.

Another instance of getting the bitter along with the sweet. But that’s just wrestling.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 3087 (and 2755 on KW!)

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

This section is quiet this level. I’ve been keeping very, very busy with Japanese outside of WK, but most of that has been active immersion.

I did start venturing a bit into the #TJPW hashtag on twitter, though I’m trying to keep an eye on my own habits so that I don’t spend too much time in there. Mostly I’ve been curious about how Japanese fans are perceiving things as opposed to how western fans are perceiving them. It’s interesting because there will be a bunch of English-speaking fans posting a lot of negativity, especially toward Yuka Sakazaki, and then the Japanese tweets surrounding them will be really positive and excited about the matches and stories.

It does further my hunch that many western fans watching without the ability to understand the Japanese are, well, sort of missing the entire point of the stories the company has been telling this year :sweat_smile:. Obviously there are plenty of western fans who are still very excited about things, but there is a certain… narrative, shall we say, that often dominates the discussion.

TJPW just got a new logo, which was intentionally chosen with an eye toward helping them expand internationally. I’m ambivalent about the design, but have enjoyed the memes that fans (and the wrestlers themselves) have been making based on it. Their new logo has no Japanese in it, just the letters “TJPW”.

I wonder if they’re looking for a new translator… Seeing how it went with DDT this year, I’m guessing yes. Well, if they do find one, that’ll free up a lot of time for me haha. I do believe pretty firmly that they have no real hope of reaching a substantial English-speaking audience without reliable translation. I feel like the discourse has been proof of that…

I really enjoyed TJPW’s last show, which had an all-women audience with free tickets! This was the third show of this type that they’ve done, but it’s by far their biggest one yet (it was at Korakuen Hall), and it’s the first one to actually allow crowd vocalizations. As soon as the ring announcer Namba heard the female fans cheer, she started crying immediately.

The wrestlers, too, were all clearly excited about it. It was so much fun seeing their reactions upon hearing so many women cheering for them. I loved Maki Itoh’s “Who’s the cutest in the world?” spot especially, which received a very loud “Itoh-chan!” cheer from the female audience. I really appreciated that TJPW clearly has a huge interest in expanding their non-male fanbase, to the point where they chose this show to be the one where they unveiled their new logo and sort of launched the company in a new direction.

Namba gave little introductions before each match where she briefly described the wrestlers, and I was delighted to be able to understand a decent chunk of these! That felt very cool!

みんなの日本語 Lesson 38 – Lesson 39

Lesson 38 was really easy, which I really, really appreciated, haha. I was so busy with other stuff, I didn’t have a lot of time for textbook exercises, so I was really glad that these ones didn’t take as much time as they usually do for me.

I did spend more time than I really needed to working on the last exercise in lesson 38, which asked me to compare the personalities of my family members. I talked about my brother and I, and I wanted to end it with basically: “Maybe the two of us are more different than I thought.” It did not take long for me to realize that that sentence was a little overly ambitious for my current grammar level, haha. My best attempt at it was: “たぶん2人は思ったより違いがありますね。”

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 39 kanji!

Reading/Listening:

Spanish (Reading: Antes de Ser Libres) (Listening: Duolingo podcast)

Didn’t get much listening done because it has been too hot and there is too much wildfire smoke to spend a lot of time walking. Also did not get too much reading done because, well, you’ll see how much Japanese translation I had to do, haha.

I did want to comment a little bit on the content of the book. It’s a good book so far, but also kind of a stressful one to read at a time when there is increasing unrest in your own country… I feel like I’m relating a lot more to the protagonist, but in a way that’s kind of depressing. I’m feeling very “may you live in interesting times” about, well, 2016 onward, but especially the past few years.

Reading-difficulty-wise, it’s still pretty doable. Often all I get read in a day is a page or two, but I’m still making steady progress.

Still going strong with both languages in the read every day challenge! It’ll be over in a few days, and then I think I’ll be switching gears to listening on the off month.

I did find the time to attempt a few more senryu translations. Here are the poems I translated:

イチローを越えたと二浪の息子言い (this one sparked a lot of discussion because the punchline is based on a pun which does not translate at all easily into English)

一番湯パパの後には入浴剤

おねだりの孫の電話に陰の声

アレどこだ!? アレをコレする あのアレだ!

I didn’t get any 大海原と大海原 read, but I did squeeze in a bit more of the 新日本プロレス英語入門 glossary on the one day I had when I didn’t have any TJPW translations to do.

Here are the three show translations I finished. The August 13 and 14 Korakuen shows smashed my old record of most characters translated in a short period of time, haha. Between just those two shows, I translated over 11,000 characters in just over a week.

2022.08.13 TJPW 東京プリンセスカップ — (part 1 and part 2)
2022.08.14 TJPW 東京プリンセスカップ
2022.08.21 TJPW PERFECTION

Completely lost track of how many words per show I added :sweat_smile:. Not that this information really matters to anyone else, but it helps give me a sense of things. My wrestling deck currently has 963 words in it, so I suppose I probably added around 23 total? About 90 still aren’t in circulation, though that number is lower than last time, so I am slowly making progress.

New resources (pronunciation-related):

Made no progress on this front this level. Maybe the next will be easier, but looking at the translation workload I have ahead of me these next couple weeks, I’m not optimistic :sweat_smile:.

New resources (not pronunciation-related):

I checked out a book called Japanese–English Translation by Judy Wakabayashi from the Japan Foundation library! I’ve only finished the first chapter so far, but it seems quite handy, though I technically don’t meet the minimum qualifications it suggests at the beginning haha (my Japanese is neither N2 nor N1) :sweat_smile:. I also figured out how to open these books using the ebook reader I linked in my last update, and lo and behold, I can indeed use Yomichan on it, which is so handy! This will make Japanese novels so much easier to read in the future. Even with this translation book, honestly, it’s really helpful to have Yomichan for it, though obviously not as essential. I’m contemplating buying myself a copy of this book.

Here’s a twitter post with a few slang words that are commonly used but not generally taught in textbooks.

Apparently Hideo Kojima decided to provide an English version of his podcast? I haven’t listened to either version, but it might be another avenue of practice for anyone who’s a fan of his work.

Next steps:

Going to be another busy couple of weeks! TJPW is doing a big burst of shows, so I have a lot of work ahead of me there, though it looks like things are calming down a bit after next weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to get around to more of my other goals after this current level.

There’s also a decently strong chance I get a full-time job soon. Basically either I get a full-time position, or my part-time job will end in December and I’ll be unemployed again :sweat_smile:. Lots of mixed feelings on that. I really need the full-time job, but it’ll be an obstacle with studying Japanese for sure… Well, I guess we’ll just have to see how things go!

Onward to level 44! 行くぞ!

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Made it to level 44!

Took about fourteen days. I’d love to say that they went great for me and I got a lot done and am feeling very hyped and encouraged, but, well, life had different plans for me :sweat:. I’m still here, though, and I did actually get a fair amount done, but there were some major roadblocks in the way as well.

The first was a positive one: my brother was visiting, and I got more or less only bare minimum studying done while he was here. He left right before AEW’s All Out pay-per-view started on September 4, and I thought, “Great! I’ll be able to get some studying done tonight after the show!” Wrong!

The show itself was fairly average, as far as AEW PPVs go. Not their worst, not their best. Then the post-show media scrum happened, and that’s when all hell broke loose…

I’m not sure we’ll ever actually know the full details of what happened that night. It’s looking to be this generation’s Montreal Screwjob. But let me tell you, the dirtsheets (which feed the wrestling rumor mill and which are written by the closest thing pro wrestling has to actual reporters) had a very, very busy week, and I got very little sleep and did not have a very fun Labor Day :sweat:.

Last month, I wrote a post in the pro wrestling thread where I rambled about mostly TJPW stuff, but also touched on a repeated metaphor in AEW, where the wrestlers known as the Elite are figuratively referred to as the “walls” of All Elite Wrestling. Well, on September 4, those walls were seriously shaken, and it was the biggest threat to the company’s existence that they’ve faced so far. For a company that survived a pandemic that happened in its literal second year of existence, that’s saying a lot.

I’m going to put a longer explanation under a cut so that people who don’t care about wrestling drama can skip it. Yes, this actually is important context for my Japanese language journey!

Here’s, like, the shortest possible explanation I can give. It’s still long :sweat_smile:.

In August 2021, AEW managed to convince the retired wrestler CM Punk to join the company after he’d spent seven years out of the wrestling industry due to WWE leaving him physically, mentally, and emotionally burned out. Him joining AEW was A Big Deal. They sold out an entire stadium for his debut based on the mere rumor that he would be there. In the few months that followed, the company reached new heights of popularity that it has yet to reach since, including getting some major ratings victories over WWE, their main competitor and the global industry juggernaut.

CM Punk was from an era of wrestling that was well before my time, and even while he was at AEW, my main focus was on other stuff, mainly Kenny Omega’s ongoing storyline, and then all of the sideplots that sprung off from that while Kenny was out of action for many months to recover from a bunch of surgeries and lingering injuries he’d had.

But I did start paying more attention to CM Punk when he had a really great feud with MJF, a wrestler I don’t typically like, and then Punk went from there to challenging Hangman Adam Page for the AEW championship. A bit from that feud is alluded to in the post I linked above, but basically part of the crux of the story was that Hangman essentially said that he, as someone who built the walls of AEW along with the rest of the Elite, was going to save AEW from CM Punk.

But it was not to be. Hangman lost to Punk, dropping the AEW title to him, and then before Punk could do anything with the belt, he got injured and had to step away from the ring for a few months to heal while they crowned an interim champion. Punk came back just a couple weeks ago, and right after he returned, he lost within minutes to the interim champ Jon Moxley in the match to unify the titles. The week after that, Ace Steel, Punk’s old friend and mentor, was introduced to the audience when he cut a rousing promo in the ring to rally Punk and convince him to challenge Mox again at All Out, the PPV that weekend.

So Punk vs Mox happened again, and this time it was a proper match, and Punk managed to win! MJF, who’d been away from the company for months as part of a worked shoot storyline (a blend of real and fake), came back at the end of the show to challenge Punk, evoking some lines from one of Punk’s most famous promos in Ring of Honor years ago.

The media scrum started pretty much immediately after the show. Punk still had blood on his face after his match. Right away, things started going off the rails. Punk went on a tirade about his former friend Colt Cabana, with whom he had a very public falling out with many years ago, and then he started to lay into the EVPs of the company (who are the three core members of the Elite: the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, who had coincidentally just been crowned AEW’s first trios champions that night), as well as Hangman Page and MJF. He made all of them as well as the company as a whole look very, very bad. Notably, at one point later in the scrum after Punk’s part is over, a security guard can be seen absolutely booking it out of the room.

After Punk left the scrum is when everything imploded. All the details we know were reported second or third hand through the dirtsheets, so the specifics are probably not quite right, but essentially the EVPs went to confront Punk in his room, bringing with them the head of legal and the talent relations representative, and things devolved. Punk punched Matt Jackson (one of the Young Bucks), and Ace Steel knocked out Nick Jackson (the other Buck) with a chair, and then bit Kenny (who’d reportedly saved Punk’s dog and then ran back into the room to try to break up the fight only to get bit by a human man).

It’s one of those cases where I didn’t even believe it was real at first. A press conference devolving into violence is one of the oldest wrestling tropes in the book, and a literal chair getting used as an actual weapon is just incredible. The whole conflict was also exquisitely foreshadowed, with basically everything every single one of Punk’s opponents said about him coming true. Someone on reddit actually predicted the whole thing (as an intentional storyline) almost flawlessly, and with Punk’s “You stupid old man. I’m a snake” line getting repeatedly referenced, it just seemed almost too perfect. And with MJF already doing a worked shoot storyline, and with Punk having a history of doing them as well, it all seemed to point toward this just being a very messy and complicated work (i.e. a storyline and not a real altercation).

But, well, I guess it just turned out that the reason why it was foreshadowed so perfectly is because the wrestlers were bringing real stuff into it. Hangman’s conflict with Punk was real. Punk’s threat to AEW was also real. Maybe repeatedly hearing all of that from all of the wrestlers he feuded with, even though it was kayfabed, made Punk feel like he could never escape the narrative that was told about him, so he just gave into it.

Reportedly most of the locker room is very angry at him, and it seems likely that he will be fired (if he doesn’t quit first). He actually got injured again in the title match at All Out, and won’t be able to wrestle for several months regardless. Currently, his status with the company is unclear. The status of the Elite, too, is unclear. It’s possible that they leave the company, or get their EVP jobs stripped from them, or they could come back fundamentally unchanged.

The “fracas”, as the dirtsheets are referring to it, is currently under investigation, and all of the wrestlers who were part of the altercation are currently suspended while they investigate, including Kenny (right after he just came back, too, :pensive:), and Punk and the Elite all had to vacate the titles they just won. It’s a tough time to be a fan of the company, because it feels like in many ways a betrayal of what AEW stood for at the beginning. Punk brought with him a deep bitterness and resentment that festered within him until there was nowhere else for it to go but out.

As of right now, this is all we really know. AEW is at a bit of a crossroads. Maybe Punk gets fired, and the wrestling world goes back to being a world without him in it, only this time he’s reviled as a villain instead of hailed as an anti-establishment hero for the people. Or maybe Punk and the Elite manage to mend fences somehow, and the whole thing becomes a legitimate worked shoot using this real conflict as a springboard.

Pro wrestling is a weird world where people hating each other can actually generate a massive amount of hype for a match and sell loads of tickets. But it’s also a world that requires immense trust between opponents (who quite literally have each other’s lives in their hands), and wrestlers have said over and over again that their worst matches are with people they don’t like (because there’s no trust there), and their best, most brutal and most spectacular matches are with people they actually love.

This is why Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi is the only match other than a G1 final to sell out Budokan Hall in the past 15 years, and they did it twice. Wrestling is at its best when the wrestlers genuinely love each other. Hate sells tickets, yes, but I think love actually sells more.

I’m extra bummed because this is the second major obstacle in the Golden Lovers storyline this year that stems from depressing shoot (a.k.a. real) stuff happening in their companies. I’m sure that they’re still determined to continue the storyline if at all possible, and I have faith in them finding some way, somehow. But it has been a very long 3+ years.

Obviously I missed Punk’s first, second, third, etc. go at things in the wrestling world, but at the same time, I feel like I got to live the entire CM Punk Experience, contained in this tiny microcosm of a year. I get why people hated him. I get why they loved him. It’s hard to fully unravel my emotions concerning AEW because its timeline matches up almost perfectly with my own timeline as a wrestling fan, and I’ve been following the company for essentially its entire existence, through its (many) growing pains and all of its biggest triumphs as well as tragedies.

But, well, I’m still here. And wrestling is still here. AEW is still here. The Golden Lovers are both still here, reaching constantly for a reunion that’s always just out of their grasp. I guess for me, the lesson is that, as always, you just have to love the things that you love while you still have them. Nothing is unshakable, and just because something is good now doesn’t mean it always will be. プロレスは諸行無常.

On a more positive note…

I used my Japanese ability to help out a real life friend! I also had my first actual conversation (in writing) in Japanese! So despite falling behind in some aspects of my studies due to all of the distractions, I did manage to actually use Japanese in some really cool and productive ways this level.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 3963 (and 2852 on KW!)

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

One of my friends was doing some genealogy research, and she discovered that one of her ancestors appears to be a Japanese woman who had a love affair with an American soldier during the Korean War. My friend was trying to track down more information about this woman, but all she had was a name, photo, and an address (written in romaji) from old letters. My friend asked me if I could help her track down more information about her. One of the biggest obstacles is that “Margie” is what her name is on the letters, and no one is sure if that was her actual name or just what he called her.

It was hard (and frustrating, haha) working with only romaji, but I think I did manage to translate it into an actual usable address, thanks to my kanji knowledge from WK. But Kokura City changed pretty significantly in the 60’s, and it looks like the neighborhood and establishment where the woman lived no longer exist. My friend was super grateful for the help, even though it feels like I actually did very little. I hope it’s enough to at least give her a place to start when looking for other resources.

Figuring out the city and district wasn’t too hard, but I was initially confused with “Ryokufuso. Tonary.” Then I realized that it was probably saying she lived next to, “(となり)”, an establishment called “Ryokufuso”. The one thing I couldn’t figure out was “Ōsonocho”. I wasn’t getting any results for おうそのちょう in that area, so my best guess was that it referred to the block or the street where she lived, which seems to be no longer there. I wondered if maybe it was “おうそ の 町”, perhaps “大曽の町”. I offered to help my friend with it some more if she gets stuck again. Hopefully there are English-language resources out there to help people who are trying to do this kind of research. In any case, having at least the prefecture/city/district/etc. pinned down should at least help her figure out who to ask to get more information.

In other news, I spent a bit of time looking at posts from Japanese fans regarding the AEW stuff. There are a few fan accounts that translate English-language wrestling news and occasional promos and such.

One of the most popular fan translation accounts made this tweet in reaction to the news that Kenny Omega had been suspended along with everyone else, and that the Elite had to vacate the trios titles. It actually really helped me understand the concept of 建前 haha, and it taught me the word/concept of 本音 in contrast to that.

On the surface (建前), the fan was talking about giving credit to AEW’s president for punishing both sides, because as an EVP, if Kenny doesn’t take responsibility if he caused trouble in some way, that sets a bad precedent for the other wrestlers and staff. But the fan’s real thoughts (本音) were dismay and disappointment that it had to happen haha. Judging from the number of likes, this was a relatable sentiment among the Japanese fanbase.

The episode of AEW after the media scrum was a pretty important one because it established the immediate direction the company is taking after all of this. A few wrestlers cut promos that were super vital, and I’d worried a bit that the Japanese fans might be missing them, especially if Michael Nakazawa isn’t going to be subtitling the episodes while he’s suspended. So I was really happy to see at least one fan translation of those promos circulating.

I ended up scrolling through that fan translator’s account and I found this essay they wrote on MJF and his AEW story. Reading the full essay is still a little bit out of reach for me unless I dedicate a lot of effort to it, but I was super impressed with what I did read. I read a lot of wrestling essays of this type written in English, but I hadn’t had much luck finding that same kind of essay in Japanese. I was really happy to see this one.

MJF is probably the most inaccessible wrestler in AEW for non-English speakers, in my opinion, since his main skill is his ability to talk (in-ring, he’s more or less just okay). Following his story this year has all kinds of additional complications because of the way that it blends work and shoot, and getting the full picture requires at least a little bit of awareness of what’s being reported in the dirtsheets.

It’s hard enough as a native English speaker to navigate the labyrinthine mine of rumor and myth (and frequent mistranslation) that is the wrestling dirtsheets. I can’t imagine trying to do it as a non-native speaker.

So I was super impressed by that essay because it weaves together MJF’s onscreen storyline with some of the backstage rumors that inform it, as well as incorporating a bit of CM Punk’s Ring of Honor history from well over a decade ago, which keeps getting referenced and paralleled in AEW’s shows. Writing an essay of this type requires a deep understanding of English-language wrestling history and fandom, not to mention the ability to translate MJF’s frequently slang-loaded and kayfabe-breaking promos. I’m glad that Japanese fans are getting to experience this story a little better thanks to this person’s efforts.

I ended up reaching out to this person with my TJPW translation account because I wanted to tell them how much I appreciated their work and offer some solidarity as another fan translator coming at this from the opposite side. And I had my first actual conversation with another person in Japanese!

I noticed after the fact that I’d made a typo in one of my tweets haha (that’s what I get for composing it while I was also watching DDT :sweat_smile:), but the person was super appreciative and really encouraging. They said they saw my TJPW blog, and I did great :blush:. They said, “東京女子プロレスの情報を発信されているということで、応援する団体は違えどもお互い頑張りましょう.”

I wasn’t exactly sure what level of politeness was appropriate for this kind of interaction, so I went in with what I understand to be sort of “default politeness”, a.k.a. using です/ます. The other fan responded to me with even more polite speech haha which was honestly above my level of understanding :sweat_smile:. But overall I think the interaction went very well! I feel less scared talking to someone who is also learning English, because I feel like we’re sort of on the same level, and there’s a lot of forgiveness for mistakes.

I had a bit of a hard time figuring out how to word this (I learned that a verb cannot in fact be passive and potential at the same time): “MJFの話を訳するのは特別に難しいので、日本人のファンも感動れられてもらうことができて特に嬉しいです!” A few hours after I sent it, it occurred to me that I had made the mistake of posting a public tweet with notorious vanity searcher MJF’s name in it. But I think the tweet being in Japanese saved me haha.

So, yeah, there was at least one positive thing that came out of the whole mess.

Another thing that was amusing to me is that Mugiko Ozaki, my favorite wrestling interviewer, talked about the English language diaries she’s doing with her English teacher, and she mentioned that her teacher is also a wrestling fan, so they spend a lot of time talking about wrestling haha. She wants to get better at English so that she’s able to conduct English-language interviews and such. She’s very dedicated to wanting to spread her love of joshi wrestling. One of my friends has been translating all of her interviews into English, and Ozaki is so delighted by this.

In non-wrestling news, I enjoyed this cup that someone shared on twitter. This was actually the second time I saw the word 珈琲 written in kanji that week. The other time was on the packaging for a fancy coffee accessory that my brother owned, haha. I don’t think I saw the word spelled in kana a single time on the packaging, only the kanji. Neither of those kanji are in WK, and I guess now is as good of a time as any to add them to Anki. I remember reading some debates about this word in the forum before (probably since it was included in a WK example sentence), with at least one person arguing that 珈琲 is rarely used in everyday life.

Yet another lesson that you can’t really make absolute statements like that about Japanese :sweat_smile:.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 39 – Lesson 40

I was lucky to get any textbook study done at all this level :sweat_smile:. But I did finish lesson 39 :triumph: (though I was technically a bit late…).

I don’t think I have anything in particular to report about this level, except that I used some of the grammar in this right away haha in my aforementioned twitter interaction. So I guess it came at a good time after all.

I think lesson 40 was the first level where I knew all of the kanji in the vocab? It’ll be interesting to see the numbers when the spreadsheet is complete.

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 40 kanji!

Reading/Listening:

Spanish (Reading: Antes de Ser Libres) (Listening: Duolingo podcast and La Casa de las Flores)

I made it 100 pages (out of 184) into Antes de Ser Libres by the end of the read every day challenge. I’d been hoping to get a lot more read, but, well, life had other plans :sweat_smile:. I did manage to faithfully read at least something every single day, though!

When September started, I got back into watching La Casa de las Flores! Since I’m refocusing on listening for a bit, I resumed where I left off in season two of the show. It’s still going pretty well, though I’m still missing a lot. It’s kind of funny because I’ll be pretty sure that something is happening in the show, but won’t be entirely certain that I understood it correctly, and then I’ll need to wait until the climax when everything comes together to find out how well I picked up on what was happening, haha.

I think I might honestly be at a point where I could move on from the Duolingo podcast? I’m not going looking for something else quite yet, because I do like the podcast, and figured I might as well listen to the remaining episodes, but I don’t really have trouble comprehending it at this point. That’s pretty cool!

I finished the summer read every day challenge with a perfect score! Didn’t miss a single day with either Spanish or Japanese. Click that link to read my recap post for the challenge. Those past two months were by far the most productive months I’ve had so far. I finished 11 show translations, and I think I translated more than 37,000 characters total.

When September started, I hopped back into the listen every day challenge for the off-month (again aiming to do both Spanish and Japanese). I’m not really doing anything particularly special to practice this time, except I am making an actual effort to watch every single TJPW backstage comments video and follow along with the shupro transcript. I’m a bit blown away by how much my listening has already improved since the last time I tried that challenge, honestly! I guess all of the translation work I’ve been doing has really been paying off.

No additional reading done this level on 大海原と大海原 or 新日本プロレス英語入門 or anything else. I couldn’t even get my bare minimum translation work done! :sweat_smile:

Finished just two show translations this level. The August 28 women-only show was another long one!

2022.08.27 TJPW PERFECTION — (4 words added)
2022.08.28 TJPW Go Girl 3~女性限定無料興行~ part 1 and part 2— (15 words added)

My wrestling deck is up to 978 words total. Still not all in circulation yet, mainly because I put a pause on adding new cards while I was busy. I’m on track to catch up within the next few weeks and be able to easily keep up with future additions from the shupro transcripts. I’d considered adding cards from other sources, possibly non-wrestling ones, but I think I’m going to hold off until my job situation is more stable, and until after National Novel Writing Month at the very least.

Depending on how things go, I might have to take it easier with Anki until I’m done with WK, if I do end up getting a full time job. Thankfully the wrestling cards do seem to be somewhat tapering off, partially thanks to me choosing not to translate the actual match/show recap parts and only translating the wrestlers’ comments, which use a more limited set of words.

New resources (pronunciation-related):

No progress here yet again! Too busy/distracted with other stuff :sweat_smile:.

New resources (not pronunciation-related):

Here are a few Japanese-English translation resources, which I have not actually looked into at all yet, but wanted to hold onto the links regardless. I still have no interest in doing this as a career, but I’ll take any resources I can find.

And here’s a book that seemed interesting: 江戸文化から見る男娼と男色の歴史 (“History of Male Prostitutes and Homosexuality Observed Through the Edo Culture”). Definitely not something I have the ability (or the time) to read currently, but I do like reading historical information about LGBTQ people in various cultures, so I might try picking it up a few years from now.

Next steps:

I’m really hoping that this next level is less eventful for me. I’m going to have to spend a decent amount of time working on a job application, but I’m really hoping that’s the only distraction I have to deal with besides normal work stuff.

My main goal is to be actually caught up on the TJPW translations by my next update. From there, I actually can start to think about other projects again. Of course, we’ll be heading into October, and I usually try to do some sort of drawing challenge during that month, haha, so my time for Japanese might be a little more limited, but I’m going to try to work with the time that I do have.

Onward to level 45! 行くぞ!

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If it helps at all, my guess would be the の is probably part of the name, and the reading makes me think 大園町, which appears at least to exist in a few places (albeit not necessarily the specific one you’re looking for). Not necessarily a sure thing though of course!

edit to add more pondering: my best guess for the kanji for “Ryokufuso” would be 緑風荘, which seems like a plausible establishment name, in the sense that there are establishments named that. (working backwords from 荘 seeming like the most plausible “so” at the end of a name like that to me)

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I don’t frequent this community very often but when I do I always check out this thread. You are doing great work and I appreciate everything you are doing. You are a real inspiration to プロレス fans studying the language for the sole purpose of knowing what Hyper Misao is saying.

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Thank you! I’m really glad that it’s inspiring! I’m also glad that you’re appreciating the translations! Truthfully, they wouldn’t be half as good as they are without rodan’s extensive help, haha :sweat_smile:.

My goal with Japanese is to learn the language well enough that I can eventually help someone else who’s learning Japanese for wrestling in the same way that I’ve been helped :blush:.

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Oh yeah also thanks to @rodan as well. I love when ye discuss the meanings and interpretations with each other. It’s things like that I find really useful and helpful for thinking out how to read sentences.

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Made it to level 45!

Took about thirteen days. I even managed to get my job application submitted, too, though it took some time away from other things. There was also another major distraction :sweat_smile:.

This next part is going to sound so strange after the despair and hopelessness in my last post (if you’ve been following the pro wrestling thread, you know what’s coming), but the thing that got me into pro wrestling in the first place, the thing that ultimately inspired me to want to learn Japanese, the thing that I have been waiting 3+ years for…

It finally happened! :sob:

The Golden Lovers reunited!!!

They kind of did, uh, the equivalent of eloping :sweat_smile:? In the sense that the reunion happened very suddenly and on twitter (not in the ring anywhere), and it happened while both of them are currently being punished by their respective companies. If we needed a reminder that the Golden Lovers story is theirs, and it doesn’t belong to any company, well, there you have it (I talk more about the industry stuff (and where that leaves them) in this post, if you’re curious about it or are just deeply nosy about backstage drama).

Something kind of darkly funny to me is that the level 38 kanji 懸 came up for review a few days ago, and I realized that Kenny Omega, who is currently suspended, had given me a new mnemonic for the kanji meaning “suspend” with the reading “けん” :sweat_smile:.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 4088 (and 2952 on KW!)

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

This is going to be mostly the Golden Lovers reunion section, haha, sorry in advance!

unbridled_joy

The reunion happened because Kenny was in Japan (for the Tokyo Games Show) for the first time in years (thanks to the pandemic), and I guess he and Kota got tired of keeping kayfabe (can’t say I blame them) and didn’t want to do the sneaking around and seeing each other in secret that they had to do the last time their characters weren’t on speaking terms.

Here was Kota Ibushi’s original tweet from September 14 (September 15 in Japan… Kirk/Spock Day…), with photos of him and Kenny and Michael Nakazawa. He also replied to a few tweets from fans, and his replies were very sweet (and sad), and the Japanese is easy enough, I didn’t have any trouble reading them :pleading_face:.

For those who don’t know the deep Golden Lovers lore, they’ve been having dinner dates like this for fourteen years, and Michael Nakazawa has been third-wheeling them for fourteen years. He served as their translator at first, but he has said (many times, but here’s a recent one) that his translations were unnecessary, haha, because even when Kenny couldn’t speak Japanese, the Golden Lovers were still able to somehow understand each other.

Kenny posted a reply to Kota’s tweet the day afterward. Thanks to his tweet, I learned the phrase 温故知新(おんこちしん), which is apparently a proverb about developing new ideas based on study of the past. Based on the context (the photo is staged pretty clearly like it’s meant to imply a date, with the candle on the table and the two straws in the drink), it seems like he’s saying that the Golden Lovers are giving their relationship another try, with the intent of not repeating the mistakes they made in the past.

Michael Nakazawa lightly poked fun at Kenny’s tweet when quote-retweeting a reunion of his own, fulfilling the time-honored tradition that there must always be a DDT parody of any Golden Lovers reunion.

cheese_kota

This exchange is also the first time that Kenny has interacted directly with any of Kota’s tweets since maybe early 2019. The last time they exchanged tweets (January 2021), Kenny actually replied to Nak’s translation of Kota’s tweet, not the tweet itself. So he was still using Nak as a mediator, almost like he was afraid to speak directly to Kota.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier to add a word to Anki than I was to add “温故知新”. Every time the card comes up, it just makes me smile.

I’m looking forward to being able to learn more words from Golden-Lovers-related stuff in the future. I guess one small benefit of this reunion taking so long to happen is that I had the time to start learning Japanese in the meantime, which means that I’m better able to appreciate the story that we’re getting now, as well as the past.

In non-Golden-Lovers news, Jun Kasai had a match with El Desperado, which I did not watch (deathmatch stuff isn’t my cup of tea, though this one was apparently extremely good, according to everyone I know who did watch it). Someone pointed something out in this tweet (warning for, uh, photos of a deathmatch :sweat_smile:) from Jun Kasai that is super cool: he spells the word for match, 試合(しあい), with 死愛(しあい) instead. Death and love…

That really embodies so much about both Kasai and Despy, and about deathmatch wrestling and wrestling in general.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 40 – Lesson 41

I thought I was finally wise to the ways of counters and rendaku, but one of the workbooks tested me on 冊, 個, 杯, and 本, and I did alright on all of the 1s, 3s, and 8s, but messed up ろくさつ and よんほん haha because I was expecting tricks and there were none :sweat_smile:. I also missed the whole row of 10s, as well as なんばい and なんぼん. So, clearly I need more practice! I put everything in the rows I failed into my MNN extras deck in Anki, which mostly consists of various counters that I have trouble with.

An exercise in lesson 40 asked me to talk about a famous or interesting incident that I know about. Well, you see, there is a man named CMパンク… :sweat_smile: :sweat: (プロレスファンとして、大変なときでした。)

Judging by some of the vocab for lesson 41, I suspect I might soon be rereading one of the stories I read while listening/reading to some 童話 a couple months back…

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 41 kanji!

Reading/Listening:

Spanish (Reading: Antes de Ser Libres) (Listening: Duolingo podcast and La Casa de las Flores)

Got pretty much zero reading in Spanish done besides just incidental stuff and I guess reading my own transcription of a bit of Spanish audio, but I had a pretty cool breakthrough with Spanish listening that I will talk about a bit later!

I also finished La Casa de las Flores! The main show, at least. I found out there are a few specials on Netflix in addition to the main three seasons. So I’m planning on watching those as I’m finishing up the listening challenge this month.

I actually really liked the show, though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to everyone. The show likes to play with telenovela tropes (for better or for worse), and depending on your tolerance for those, you might get more or less out of the experience. I will say that it’s a great show to watch if you like your media having lots of central LGBTQ characters, but the characters do experience a fair amount of transphobia and homophobia, and there is some very intense anti-gay violence in the last season, so just a warning for that.

By the end of the show, I was wanting to binge the rest of the season, haha, but I forced myself to ration the episodes so that I could watch one each day to fulfill the listen every day challenge :sweat_smile:. I’m still not exactly sure what I’m going to use to fill out the remainder of September, though I do have plenty of episodes of the Duolingo podcast left.

The listen every day challenge is still coming along somehow! I haven’t missed a day yet with either Spanish or Japanese. I think I am definitely improving, though it’s especially hard to say with listening.

I did somehow find the time to translate a few more senryu:

猫に手を貸したいくらい今はひま

答案に「お願い」とだけ書いてあり

そっと起きそっと出かけてそっと寝る

That first one ended up sparking some debate in another thread, mostly over the concept of the contrastive は. It was an interesting conversation that was a better lesson for me on the concept than I could probably get from any textbook, haha. The best way to learn is when you’re either getting corrected on your own grammar or are correcting someone else on theirs, I think :sweat_smile:.

No progress on 大海原と大海原. It’s looking like it might be 2023 before I get around to finishing it, at this rate :sweat_smile:. I guess maybe December will offer another window of opportunity…

Also, I didn’t plan on doing this, but I did end up finishing the glossary chapter of 新日本プロレス英語入門. I ended up using that chapter to create a glossary of pro wrestling terms for use with the CAT software Smartcat (more on that in a bit), so I decided to finish reading the whole thing.

Here is the NJPW English pro wrestling terms glossary I created, if anyone wants it for any reason. I ended up including 207 terms, which is a lot more than I was expecting! I left out some words that didn’t seem necessary to include, and included some that are probably more useful from the other direction (English to Japanese), but I figured it’s still a neat reference to have.

I might add more terms to it from elsewhere in the book once I get around to reading more of it, but I’m not sure when I’ll next have time to read it :sweat_smile:.

Here are the TJPW show translations I got done (these were all pre-CAT, so I don’t know yet how trying out that software will affect my overall process):

2022.09.03 TJPW AUTUMN TOUR ’22 — (6 words added)
2022.09.04 TJPW CITY CIRCUIT~名古屋公演~ — (10 words added)
2022.09.11 TJPW INSPIRATION — (10 words added)

I learned a new non-WK kanji while translating that I really liked! It’s , which I encountered when Saki Akai used the word (さかのぼ)る, which means to go upstream or to go back (to the past or origin). Those are basically the main meanings that the kanji is associated with. I found it interesting that Japanese also associates swimming upstream with going back to the past. 遡河魚 is apparently the word for anadromous fish (fish that migrates upstream, e.g. salmon).

I also had probably the most interesting translation experience of my life so far. I talked about it a bit more in the TJPW Inspiration post, but basically, two wrestlers from the Mexican company CMLL, Dalys and Stephanie Vaquer, came to TJPW for a one-off match, and naturally they did their post-match comments in Spanish. So I had the Spanish video and then a Japanese translation of it to work from, and I had to get it into English somehow!

I ended up transcribing the Spanish audio, then translating from that, after getting my transcription double-checked by a friend who’s fluent in Spanish to make sure it was correct. That same friend double-checked my translation, too. It was a real test of my Spanish listening comprehension, which has thankfully improved substantially since I started doing the listen every day challenge! I made several mistakes when transcribing, but did better than I expected. It’s funny, because I don’t think the Japanese translation of the Spanish on the shupro site was actually very good :sweat_smile:. Mine was better!! :triumph:

My pro wrestling deck on Anki just passed 1005 words! 83 still aren’t in circulation yet, so I can’t quite claim to have learned 1000 words from pro wrestling just yet, but we’re getting there.

New resources (pronunciation-related):

No progress again, though hopefully I’ll have better luck on this front over this next level, now that I have a little more time!

New resources (not pronunciation-related):

This is more of a resource for, uh, professional translators than language learners, but one of my friends recommended I use Smartcat for my TJPW translations, because it has been helping speed things up a lot with her own wrestling translations. I’m still very new to the world of CAT (computer-aided translation), so I’ll probably make a more detailed post about it later, after I’ve learned the ropes a little, but it seems like a neat program! It’s web-based, so Yomichan still works on it, and the way it splits everything up line-by-line is pretty helpful. It’s also free, which is awesome.

It learns from your previous translation choices, which is really handy for stuff like wrestling, which machine translation and dictionaries often struggle with. You can also upload your own glossaries (like the word list I made from the NJPW English book). The cost of it being free is that your own translations get used to train machine translation, but honestly with wrestling stuff, that’s almost more of a plus :sweat_smile:. Ultimately my goal is to prevent false rumors and such from spreading, and the better machine translation gets, the less that happens.

Something that’s especially fun about Smartcat is that it tells you what percentage of the text you’ve translated, so it’s really handy for tracking overall progress and splitting up the workload into more manageable chunks, and it’s good for the part of my brain that likes to watch numbers go up, haha.

This isn’t a direct resource in the sense that I normally use this section for, but I wanted to link to Vanilla’s post on consistency because I feel like his advice is very solid, and every single item on his list is something that has helped me achieve consistency in my own Japanese language journey, though obviously I’ve only been doing this for about a year and a half, compared to his five years.

If you’re following my log and struggling in your own studies, I highly recommend giving that post a read. Though, the steps that require mindset changes are probably more difficult to do than simply changing up your routine. I’m not sure exactly what to suggest trying if you’re struggling with those, except for maybe creating a study log?

It’s great to have a place where you can talk about Japanese content that you love, acknowledge your language failures with fondness, celebrate your small successes, record really cool and interesting things you’re learning about the language, and cultivate much smaller goals to work toward than “fluency”. I’ve mentioned this before, but I actually really look forward to updating my study log every level, haha, and I take a lot of notes on things I want to include throughout the level. Finally getting to share those things is my reward for making progress.

Next steps:

I’m going to be doing a drawing challenge during the month of October again (and then NaNoWriMo right after that…), so I’m fully expecting to have a lot less time to study very soon :sweat_smile:.

I’m hoping to finish studying the basics of Japanese pronunciation/pitch accent before I get swamped with everything else. I’d also like to work on my various other projects, but, well, we’ll see. As always, my priorities are keeping up with SRS, the TJPW translations, and making progress on my textbook. Everything else will just have to fit around that.

Onward to level 46! 行くぞ!

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Hey, just wanted to mention that briefly talking about you being into wrestling made me remember I have a friend really into wrestling so I forwarded your Twitter account his way.

“yo, total japan!
It’s hard to get comprehensive details on storylines and characters over in japan because of the language barrier
so this rules”

So I’m happy to say I know one new person who appreciates what you’re up to :slightly_smiling_face:

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Oh that’s awesome, thank you! I’m glad your friend appreciates the account! :blush:

It’s actually kind of funny, because I’ve been retweeting some English-language interviews with the TJPW wrestlers to my translation account to help promote them, and I’m not sure who those publications have doing those translations, but, uh, most of them are not that great :sweat_smile:. My own translations (even without rodan’s help) are better, and I’m not saying that as a compliment to my own work.

When reading them, I sometimes can figure out what the wrestlers were probably saying in Japanese just because I can recognize common ways that machine translation usually interprets it.

It’s kind of a shame to me that for many people, those interviews are probably all they really have to go on for understanding the motivations of the wrestlers. I hope those publications are eventually able to find better translators if they want to keep publishing interviews.

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Yeah, you’re welcome! It’s a really cool thing you do!

Translation standards really are low, huh? I guess when you know your target audience doesn’t know the original it’s not hard to feel like a low point is “good enough.” I’ve always experienced that from videogames, there’s a certain Japanese voice to all but the best translations, where a final pass of localization didn’t quite happen and there are speech patterns that just don’t come up with native English speakers really, even though it’s all essentially coherent. Your examples may be even worse though.

You know I was actually thinking about you nudging me to do translation recently, heh. I’ve been mentioning how much I’m playing Splatoon 3 – stumbled onto a guy who makes educational content for the game talking about how there’s a real need for translation. Japanese meta tends to be very different from the things western players gravitate towards, and the Japanese players (really both solo queue and the very top teams) are, quite frankly, just known to be better. Western teams sometimes emulate that stuff through simply what they see in tournaments, but yeah.

I considered giving it a quick look at least, though I was a little disappointed to learn that the kind of Japanese guides he was talking about are likely usually video rather than written, which is definitely harder for me. And there wasn’t a real precise place given. I’m not hooked in that much with the competitive community. They advised checking out a specific recurring league and then trying to chase down the players for Youtube accounts and whatnot, but I haven’t spent the time going to all that effort, at least so far.

Ehh, who knows :melting_face:

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Oh that’s super cool! I’m pretty out of the competitive gaming loop (for all games and in all languages), but my brother is into it, and I have lots of friends who are as well, so I hear bits and pieces about what’s going on in various scenes.

I’d never even thought about the need for translation there, but that totally makes sense! That’s really interesting. I wonder if the youtube autocaptioning feature could help you out there. I bet even if you tried to translate just a little, it would improve your own playing, and also lots of people would be very grateful, haha. It would be cool to sort of bridge those two worlds a little.

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