Hi everyone! This is my first time making a thread like this, so bear with me if it’s a bit rambly or awkward! If you want to cut to the chase, click here. Otherwise, a little backstory.
Harvest Moon (localized today as Story of Seasons) is a series of farming lifestyle games made by Marvelous and known in Japan as 牧場物語. They’re cozy and charming, and one of my favorite timewasters. The first one I ever played was Harvest Moon 64, and let’s just say its translation leaves something to be desired. This is partially due to being translated by a Japanese native, and partially due to technical constraints like a fixed-width font and only a couple spare kilobytes for text on a jam-packed cartridge.
Because of the lack of space, a few things were cut. Some were fairly minor, like the map and leaderboard, but one particular cut stuck out to fans. The game’s television had 4 channels: Weather, Education, News, and Variety. The first three channels served gameplay purposes, letting the player know the next day’s weather, tutorializing itself, and notifying the player of upcoming festivals. The final channel (which features 7 shows included just for fun), however, was cut in localization, leading to no end of rumors as to how to unlock it.
The absence of this channel and the overall roughness of the translation is the genesis of my interest in Japanese, and today marks a very special occasion for me. Today, I’m confident enough in my Japanese abilities that I believe I can not only understand it, not only translate it, but teach others to do so, as well. To that end, I’ve started a significant undertaking.
This is an ongoing translation of Harvest Moon 64’s variety channel.
Rather than a simple translation, however, I want readers to get the same spark I did. So, not only did I transcribe and translate the entire set of shows, not only have I added cultural notes, but I also have established resources to help readers learn Japanese themselves. I’ve created an Anki deck and an item-by-item spreadsheet in the vein of the ones made for the book clubs that can be found elsewhere on WaniKani.
I’m not vain enough to think I can fully teach this on my own, so the Anki deck also links to many external resources, such as articles/posts from Tofugu, Maggie-sensei, Imabi, briefjapanese, and many more. I generally organize these links by complexity. I know when I learn something new, I typically need to check at least three sources before feeling that I’ve begun to grasp the gist of it, so it seemed critical to me to provide multiple sources particularly for grammar points. You can see an example of that implementation here:
I recommend using the Anki deck, but if you’re used to another SRS-style resource such as bunpro or KameSame, I also created an item-by-item spreadsheet.
My ultimate goal with this project is to create a resource that a learner can approach and use to kickstart their Japanese-learning journey. To that end, I also hope that anyone reading this offers feedback to help improve it. I’m still learning Japanese, myself, so, while I’ve tried my best to make the explanations clear and thorough, I have to imagine I’ve made a mistake somewhere in the >1,000 items.
All that said, please take a look at this effort to tie up this 23-year-old loose end. Links in the next post.