Games and my saga

I’ve began to learn japanese so i can one day play my favorite games of all time (The Legend of Heroes: Trails saga) in japanese. I’m the kind of person who learns a language by diving into content, this is the way that works the best for me and i dont get discouraged when it goes very slow, i did this to learn english and Italian (im brazilian). But japanese is on another level, my biggest frustration is that i simply cannot read anything in japanese because the differences are so massive. I have two questions for you guys, if you could help me i would really apreciate it. If anybody knows at wich level can i play my favorite game, second, when is the earliest time i can ger myself in some kind of content (anime, books, but mainly games).
Thank you all for your help.

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I can’t say for sure, but I heard people around level 40 are getting the hang of reading.

At level 25 I can already read quite a bit but there are still many unknown kanji in everything I try to read. It’s still worth practicing, though. I just need to have a dictionary available.

There isn’t one moment where you can suddenly read, along the way you have to put a lot of effort into practicing. It is difficult but gets easier the more you do it and the more levels you advance in WaniKani. (Don’t forget to study grammar as well, WaniKani does not teach it.)


Hello hello, welcome!

I started reading when I was somewhere in the WK level 20s, with a grammar knowledge equivalent to about low N4. Because it was a game I had played before, I could know where I was in the story from catching loose words and the bits of grammar I knew. But it in no way felt like playing a game - it felt like intense Japanese studying.

Grammar level of at least mid-to-late N3 was necessary for reading to start feeling like reading for me, rather than merely picking out random bits. I also felt like a lot of useful vocab was spread in levels 25-50 on WK. I kept encountering newly learned words in short order.

Also remember that WK is a kanji learning website - there is a lot of essential and fundamental vocab out there that is kana only. Or common compound words not covered on WK, because the vocab here is chosen to reinforce kanji knowledge, and not intended to be a full and comprehensive vocab source. So having a study diet of WK, additional vocab work (like a deck of most common kana only words, for example), and grammar would probably be best if you want to read ASAP.

What you can read at what level of course also depends on what you wish to read. Manga or games that aim to include a younger Japanese audience often have full furigana, so a lacking vocab repertoire is easier to deal with in that case. If you wish to read a political novel aimed at adults, you’d probably need N2 and N1 stuff under your belt, along with very extensive vocab knowledge (or a lot of patience and dictionaries, I suppose.)

Best of luck! I’m sure all the hard work will be worth it when you can sit back and enjoy your favourite game in its original form! :mechanical_arm:


I haven’t played it myself but I know about the series. It seem quite text heavy and has lots of fantasy vocab. Probably no furigana.

I started playing an RPG in Japanese after passing JLPT N3 around wk lvl 30. I had no problem following the story and figuring out what to do but I wouldn’t lookup all of the rpg items and resources. It was just too much unfamiliar kanji.

Now I’m playing Persona 4. It’s a level higher. Everything is written in kanji, there’s a ton of slang and literary expressions. I wouldn’t have been able to play it comfortably right after passing N3. Now I’m closer to N2 though.

So, as a guideline aim for JLPT N3 as a minimum requirement.


Well i am the kind of person who dont learn grammar studying in textbooks, i usually take an language learning app to get the basic grasp of the grammar and after that i dive into content and the grammar naturally falls into place, if i find somenthing that i dont really get it naturally then i do some study on that subject. The Little of grammar that i know right now, leads me to think that japanese grammar is not as complicated as the language biggest hurdle (the writting system, mainly kanji, wich is very different for us western people). Waiting until like lvl 20 or 30 will be a torture for me as i like to dive right in content.

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People who can play it says that It has a lot of obscure kanjis. My thing is that i learn the language through content, if i dont find some content to train and entretain myself i dont think i will really learn(when i learned italian, i’ve began Reading a book, and i couldnt read more than two pages a day because i needed to look up at the dictionary all the time, then in a week i could read a chapter, then in two weeks It became a lot easier) i really need somenthing easy and fun as soon as possible (lvl 30 Is Just too long for me)

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You shouldn’t compare you experience learning Italian as a Portuguese native speaker to learning Japanese. Italian and Portuguese are from the same language group and have similar grammar and a lot of shared vocab. English another case too as it’s so ubiquitous and has fairly simple grammar.

Japanese grammar is pretty different, which makes it difficult. There’s a lot of cases when you think you understand something but you get it wrong because the the words in an certain combimation are a grammar point with some specific meaning.

And of course kanji… Well, you just have to study them, and it takes time. Looking them up as you play the game is only realistic once you know most of them already. Otherwise, imagine drawing tons of characters on your phone to understand every sentence.

I don’t like textbooks too, so I didn’t use them. But you need some form of formal studies. Learning a completely new language is tough. I’m afraid you can’t just start playing you favourite games in Japanese and learn it.


Too bad, i guess i’ll have to suck it up and grind It. I’m still having loads of fun learning even if it’s not attached to some real life content. Thank you for your help.

I’ll disagree a little bit with d-hermit and omun.
To me, their suggestions definitely seem like the most efficient path for you. So that is worth keeping in mind.

Personally, I’m now at a point where reading and playing video games is turning over from a rough grind to a more enjoyable reinforcement of study and source of new vocab.
But I started consuming content way above my ability early on, which it sounds like you are eager to do OP.
I started playing Pokemon Sword maybe a month after I started WaniKani. I didn’t understand most of it, I had to either look up almost every word, or skip a lot.
But I did still enjoy it, because the enjoyment of the gameplay was enough to keep me going. Additionally, I was able to start picking up on some basic grammar, even things that my grammar textbooks didn’t tell me. (like colloquial verb endings, and peculiar particles like ぞ as a sentence ender, and it is definitely good katakana practice).
Slogging through native content early falls in the ‘immersion’ bucket. If you enjoy it, I think its worth spending some time on, but your more formal study and WK will push you forward faster for quite some time (still the case for me)

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I heard that Nintendo games are reasonably beginner friendly snd have furigana options. So you should be able to start playing them sooner.

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hey, I’m a big fan of Trails too!
I don’t really have any advice regarding actually playing the games (I’m pretty sure that even at my level, I would probably have a terrible time reading everything) but have you considered just watching videos of it in the meantime? the biggest advantage is probably that you can rewind and skip whenever you want, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally missing things.

you don’t even have to be properly watching in order if you don’t want to, you can just skip to your favourite parts or have it on for background noise while you do other stuff.

here’s a non-commentary Let’s Play of the first game, in the Evolution version so it even has voice acting:
and I’m pretty sure that channel also has the other games if you wanted to see any of the rest!

in addition, there’s this neat site: that has all of the dialogue lines in both English and Japanese, which I think could be a GREAT tool for learning- just make sure not to take the English too literally, since they’re often quite indirect translations to add personality.

in the end, I find WK level can be useful for a broad variety of kanji, however - if you dive straight into native content you’re bound to naturally and quickly learn its specific kanji and vocab far before its WK level, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it!


Trails are on the higher end of the difficulty scale, definitely. There’s a lot of obscure kanji’s with no furigana, and a ton of weird made-up vocab. The casual conversations aren’t too different, but the political stuff, formal tones, and the sheer amount of text can be daunting.

I remember seeing some reddit threads on the falcom subreddit when I was considering it myself. Here’s a few I found now: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

TLDR; It’s probably going to take a few years of daily study to be able to follow it in a way that’s not painful, and that you’ll get something out of it.

Well, as soon as i get like 25% of things i Will grind myself on some simpler games, right now Is more like 2% (lol). Doing WaniKani and other apps is a load of fun so i guess i’m entretained right now. Thanks for your help.

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Number 2 Is my post. Lol, thanks that’s very helpful.


Man that’s awesome, thanks for your help.

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