Made it to level 29!
I spent just under fourteen days on the last level. I’m very close to the halfway point in WK, as well as the halfway point in the Minna no Nihongo beginner’s textbook series!
The biggest news for me over the past couple weeks is that it looks like DDT actually has official translation going forward! Their official English account (which may or may not be run by Ash, who had been doing unofficial translation for them) started live translating the shows as well as translating all of the backstage comments, like Mr. Haku used to do! I’m so thrilled to see it!
Since we have actual translation again, I’m probably going to stop trying to translate the DDT show recaps. However, we still don’t have translation for TJPW, and it’s unclear if the person taking over for DDT will be covering TJPW in the future. I have a friend who was translating TJPW for us, but she has gotten really swamped with other stuff and hasn’t had the time lately to keep up, so I offered to take over for her.
So, going forward, I’m going to be switching gears to TJPW! Maybe they’ll improve their official English coverage, too, and I’ll be rendered obsolete, but until then, I will try my best! As hard and occasionally frustrating as this can get, I’ve actually massively improved my vocabulary from translating the DDT recaps, so I want to keep doing this as long as I can.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 1934 (and 1305 in KW!)
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
Something I realized I forgot to mention last entry is that I found a great way to learn which songs Japanese wrestlers are using for their entrance theme, haha! I was trying to find the song that Minoru Fujita entered to in DDT, but was having trouble because it wasn’t listed on any of the English language sites. Then it occurred to me to try searching in Japanese. Sure enough, searching for 藤田 ミノル 入場曲 gave me the answer I wanted. As it turns out, Japanese wikipedia has a section for a wrestler’s entrance music on their page!
I added Fujita’s entrance music to my playlist of wrestling themes. Click on that link if you want to listen to an extremely eclectic mix of music in English, Japanese, and Spanish used in 8+ different companies in three countries.
I saw this tweet from an account that translates a lot of English language wrestling content into Japanese. The tweet was for the hashtag #あなたがときめく4文字教えてください, asking twitter users to share 4文字 that make their heart beat faster. For this person, those four 文字 were 禁断の扉. I learned 禁断 from DDT, but 扉 was new to me (it’s a level 47 WK kanji). This translates, of course, into Forbidden Door, which is the term widely used by wrestling fans to refer to collaborations between companies, especially between AEW and NJPW.
I’m sure I’ve already talked about this, but the term “Forbidden Door” is commonly credited to Hiroshi Tanahashi, but he never actually said it. He said something else (in a shupro interview, I believe) that machine translation mistranslated into essentially “it will open the forbidden door.” Someone published an article about this, and naturally it went viral because that’s an incredibly evocative phrase for the seemingly (at the time) immutable barrier between AEW and NJPW. Chris Charlton tried to do damage control on twitter, clarifying with proper translation what Tana had actually said in order to temper expectations, but it was too late; the wrestling world had already run away with it.
Not long after that, Chris Jericho canonized the term (in English) in a promo leading up to his match with Tana. But before anything else could happen, the global pandemic hit. Over a year later, though, they did indeed open the Forbidden Door, and Kenta was the first person to walk through it, coming to AEW from NJPW. At this point, the Forbidden Door is real (which is fitting, as wrestling is all about fake things becoming real). If you google the phrase, most of the results are about wrestling now, haha. But I’ve always been really curious what the original phrase was that Tana had said. Maybe when I’m more advanced, I’ll try to go in search of the original interview to see if I can find out. I just find it delightful that the 禁断の扉 ended up becoming real in Japanese, too.
On another note, I really enjoyed learning this fact about why 烏, the kanji for crow (a level 57 kanji), has one less stroke than 鳥, the kanji for bird. It makes a lot of sense!
A friend of mine pointed out this hilarious incongruity between NJPW wrestler Clark Connors’ comment to El Desperado in Japanese, and his English translation of what he was trying to say. Clark’s Japanese is still at a beginning level, so he’s using very polite language, which is probably all that he has learned so far, haha! They don’t generally teach beginners how to be deliberately coarse and rude in your target language, even though this is actually very important for some professions, if your job is being a pro wrestler! I love interactions like this, though, because they show that even as a beginner, you can still communicate and get your point across, even if it’s in a way that is perhaps more endearing than you intended.
Something that’s really rewarding to me is that I’ve finally started to reach a point with Japanese where I can see something that I want to read on twitter, like a screenshot of text, and I can actually translate it. DDT shared this comment from Hyper Misao regarding the 37Kamiina produce show, and I wanted to read it without waiting for someone else’s translation that may or may not be coming, so I typed the whole thing out and translated it, and it only took like 20 minutes! In this comment, Misao basically announced that she wanted to crash the show with Mecha Mummy and get Shunma’s SeaSaunaShack so that she could heat up Mecha Mummy in their sauna room with an ocean view and make him mega evolve. (She and Mecha Mummy did in fact go on to win their tag gauntlet match, earning themselves a one day pass to the sauna…)
The title for the 37Kamiina produce show was 花より熱波, which was officially translated as “Sauna Over Flowers”. It taught me a very important word, though, which is 熱波! The37Kamiina always likes to say “NEPPOWER” but I never knew exactly where that came from. Things made a lot more sense to me when I read “熱波WAR” in the tweets made by the official DDT account, haha! As far as I can tell, 熱波 just (rather straightforwardly) means heat wave, but the sauna connotations are pretty obvious.
Also, Kota Ibushi got an instagram account! His Japanese is still frequently beyond me, but it’s still really nice to see. I was hoping that maybe this would lead to another avenue for Golden Lovers interactions, and sure enough, his first day on this new account, Ibushi shared a photo of his infamous balcony moonsault onto Kenny in 2012. I couldn’t quite figure out his caption, but a friend clarified that he ended it with basically rallying people to do stupid stuff, haha. “もうグレよう。”
This isn’t Japanese-related, but the timeline for a possible Golden Lovers reunion looks to be a little further out than we’d hoped, because Kenny still has quite a bit of time left before he’s healed enough to return to the ring. The one positive of this is that it hopefully gives time for the pandemic conditions to improve a little further (if you can call the trajectory we’re on “improvement”…), which should make travel easier for wrestlers, as well as giving me time to improve my Japanese even further so that I can appreciate that side of the story a little better when it finally resumes.
みんなの日本語 Lesson 23 – 25
I got a lot done over the past couple weeks! I finished lesson 23, did all of lesson 24, and have added the lesson 25 vocab to Anki and am about to start actually working through the lesson. Being so close to finishing the first beginner’s book has made me extra motivated.
I don’t think I have anything in particular to say about lesson 23, but lesson 24 did have the first activity in my workbook that I absolutely bombed. This is the exercise that gave me so much trouble:
I did review my notes after failing it and was able to figure out what I was confused about, and I was really relieved that I passed this next section with no mistakes, haha!
In total, I added 1,047 words from the first textbook to Anki (some of these words are repeats, as sometimes MNN will introduce other meanings later. I’ve been contemplating going through and consolidating these into the same card, but have not done so yet). That’s pretty neat!
I’m excited that lesson 25 is finally introducing conditionals! I have repeatedly looked this grammar up during my reading, because for some reason it has never managed to stick for me. So I’m looking forward to getting a little more dedicated practice. It seems like a good note for the first book to end on.
Lesson 25 will probably take me a little longer to wrap up, since after I finish it, I have a bunch of review exercises to do before I can move on to the second beginner’s book. But I’m going to be heading straight into lesson 26 afterward without taking a break.
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 24 and lesson 25 kanji! (Just a reminder that it’s possible to sort the chart by WK level or MNN lesson number, whichever is most useful to you).
All of the kanji from the vocab for book one of MNN are now in the spreadsheet! There are 530 in total, which is quite a lot! The spreadsheet does not include kanji in names or other words that were not listed in the lesson vocab (such as kanji from vocab provided in the “useful words and information” section), or kanji used throughout the textbook and workbooks to label the sections.
Having completed level 28 of WK, I have officially learned 443 of the 530 kanji (about 83.6%).
Reading in Spanish (Tempestad)
Things are still going good so far! I only finished one more chapter, but considering everything else I’m working on, I think that’s plenty. I didn’t realize that part of the story took place in a modern day setting, but it was really convenient because it means there’s a lot more familiar vocabulary in those parts.
I finished chapter 2 of 大海原と大海原 volume 3, and am about a third of the way through chapter 3! The story is definitely much darker, but it’s very intriguing, and I’m having more and more trouble stopping myself from reading another page, haha, which is a shift in mindset for me. Usually I stop reading after a few pages because I get tired, regardless of my level of interest, but I’ve had more stamina for reading recently. So far, I’m still able to get by with just my existing kanji knowledge and my ability to draw unknown kanji on the IME pad.
I also read this short manga (it has 8 pages) on twitter that a friend linked to me. I was surprised to find that it is more or less at my level! The grammar isn’t too hard, and there are only a few kanji I didn’t know. It’s a little bit sad, though, just a warning, because it’s about the lack of marriage equality in Japan.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m going to be switching gears from trying to translate DDT to translating TJPW instead, since DDT has someone more qualified doing regular translation again, and TJPW does not.
I did realize, though, that a couple DDT VOD shows from a couple weeks ago actually did get recaps uploaded on the website, and since these were before the new translator officially took over, I decided to tackle them for completion’s sake. There wasn’t really enough text in these to give me trouble, and I think I already talked about the actual highlights from those shows, so I opted not to make separate posts for them. One of them was on February 5 (it gave me 17 new words), and the other was on February 6 (14 new words).
I had been a little confused over the meaning of 白星, but as soon as I encountered the word 黒星, I figured out what they both meant in a wrestling context, haha! These terms are often used metaphorically, but they’re referring to the literal white and black marks, used originally in sumo, to represent wins and losses.
I also encountered 星取り, and when I looked it up with Yomichan, I discovered that none of my English dictionaries had an entry for it, but my Japanese dictionary did, and to my surprise, I could completely understand it without help!
Someone on the forum created a WankiKani daily discord bot! It offers a nice little recap of all of the work you did each day. I don’t really need any external motivation to keep up my streak with WK, but I do enjoy seeing how many reviews I get done, and a cumulative total of how many days I’ve been going so far.
I’m still not quite ready to try playing video games in Japanese, but I ended up getting curious and tried installing the 大海原と大海原 video game on my computer. Naturally it was far more of a pain than I expected, haha, but I did get it to work! I followed this guide to do it. One thing that is neat about this game is that a reboot came out just a couple years ago, and as far as I know, it has yet to be translated into English. I’ve stayed away from English translations of the series in general, not wanting to use any of it as a crutch, but it’s a nice extra incentive to play something in Japanese if there literally is no English option even available.
I also discovered Game2Text, which launches in the browser and basically lets you use Yomichan on other applications, such as RPG Maker games!
Obviously there is no guarantee that it’ll be able to read all of the text, and I’m sure it often makes mistakes with kanji, but it’s still a neat tool. It makes video games more accessible as a learning resource.
This program also seems like it might work with text in manga and other mediums, though I haven’t tested it yet. My main concern with tools like this, though, is that I’ll become dependent on them and less willing to try reading Japanese text in media (like print books) that I can’t use them with. At least for me personally, that’s the main danger of choosing media to read purely based on what can best be optimized for learning. I do want to learn, but I’m learning the language so that I can use it to read, not the other way around!
I did in fact manage to update the match recommendations section of the pro wrestling thread! If you’re bored or curious and want some different Japanese media to watch, check out the list here and see if anything sounds interesting.
If all goes as planned, I should be finishing book one of Minna no Nihongo before I level up again! I suppose this puts me probably a little above N5, for whatever that counts for.
Also, my coworker has been trying to get me to practice my Spanish with her, but I’ve been too afraid to try . Part of the problem is that my vocabulary is so poor, I feel like I don’t really have anything to say. It would definitely be good for me to try, though.
I feel like the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that so much of language learning is just constantly pushing yourself to do things that you don’t feel quite ready for.
Onward to level 30! 行くぞ！