I would say it’s difficult to map to JLPT terms because the JLPT is unlikely to cover organized crime slang, dialects, or things yelled during a street fight.
Since the games cover so much ground both in the main plot and side activities, there’s also just a whole lot of vocabulary in general across many subjects.
At the extreme, stuff like restaurant food descriptions or mahjong, etc. can be stuffed with speciality vocabulary (but can be avoided without compromising any of the story). For the main stuff, understanding contractions and epithets often used by aggressive men + some basic vocabulary around yakuza organizations would probably be the biggest obstacles.
There’s subtitles for everything though (without furigana).
When I played 7 in Japanese, I spent a whole lot of time pausing (note: in 7, and I think most games in the series, I remember the subtitles in cutscenes thankfully being visible when paused - I remember this not being the case with Lost Judgment though) looking up words on my phone. At the time (I had completed WK but not done very much vocabulary mining and reviewing outside of it) I would do this pretty much constantly and the amount just slowly decreases with each game I play this way (I’m dabbling with Kiwami 2 now and I think it’s my… fifth? in Japanese and I wouldn’t say I have to look up very much at all, but that’s been a long time coming…).
But I played 7 at a time when I thought for sure I wouldn’t be ready, and I’m really glad I did since I learned a ton and gained a whole lot of confidence from the process (and loved the game)!
So the high level of vocabulary can be a positive, since it’s a very fun way to jump into the deep end, so to speak, and get exposure to a lot of different topics.
Have not played them with Japanese text, but I imagine they’re about as difficult as watching a Japanese crime/yakuza movie. It’s probably helpful to note that originally they’re games designed around adult men in mind, although everyone can enjoy them.
I know Judgment (the first game) might be more difficult because it also uses medical terms on top the lawyer side of things. And Yakuza 7 is also a rpg, which probably has an effect on the writing as well.
A crime movie is probably a lot less likely to stop you and spend a few pages explaining how, say, its spear-fishing minigame works though.
Language heavy minigames (like the certification exams in 7 that are timed general knowledge quizzes, or any of the various conversation minigames) and just the general amount of text thrown at you in the form of non-voiced cutscenes, ridiculous submissions, extended side activities, interfaces, mechanics explanations, upgrade trees, etc. can add a feeling of being overwhelmed, even when the basic plot isn’t more difficult to follow than a movie and ultimately the mechanics aren’t that complicated.
(but again it’s extremely rewarding once overcome!)
I never actually take anything seriously, that way I can enjoy lots of stuff other people think is offensive. Whether I like the manga I don’t know yet but I will at least finish the first volume. Already managed to learn some useful phrases from it.
Read some more lines I’m already at the second half of chapter 2 I may even finish it this year.
Prison School Vol.1
Today was my lazy day so I only read 20 pages.
I read part 2 of yesterday’s article. If I understood it correctly, Miyazaki has been the city that had most gyoza purchases per household last year, followed by Utsunomiya and Hamamatsu, which were normally higher. I’m not sure why the counting excludes eating out, takeout and frozen foods; I’m a bit confused by that. But anyways, apparently in Miyazaki it’s super common to bring gyoza everywhere. They mentioned in yesterday’s article that they get it for pretty much any event, for presents when visiting people, and so on.
Reading news is exhausting and fun at the same time. The language is so much different from what I’m a bit more used to but I find that it’s much more “useful” perhaps, like I’m missing a lot of everyday words that I can learn from this so I will most likely keep reading news besides 星の王子さま , though I don’t know at what frequency.
February 8 update:
Today was a busy day, and although I was planning to start reading a book (for now I settled on また、同じ夢を見ていた), I had no energy for it Instead, I read another chapter of よつばと！ – chapter 15. Asagi has been a direct or indirect focus for a few chapters now, so I feel like something’s cooking.
Given how the past couple days were, I suspect that I’ll be only reading よつばと！ at least until the weekend…
Oh, I didn’t know they were on Game Pass, nice, thank you! I actually have all of the series that’s been released in the west (excluding Dead Souls and I think there was a PSP game or something?) scattered across various platforms, but no idea which will or won’t let me change to Japanese until I look into them. Also Lost Judgment, annoyingly, isn’t on PC because of a fight between Sega and the agency that manages the guy who plays the main character.
Yeah that was super aggravating even in English when I played Yakuza 7, so this game really piles on the difficulties. Kinda figured it’d be in Lost Judgment. No clue why they won’t let you disable it… as much as I love the series, I found 7 to lack all sorts of quality of life or technical things I really wanted. Seemed to have terrible audio mixing too and no option to change that.
I remain stubbornly determined to get there, but add that to pile of annoyances when it comes to things I need to be ready for with Lost Judgment, heh. Thanks for the info, much appreciated.
Some decent reading again! Some of the type of things I mentioned about conversation writing continued to elude me, though I could always more or less get the point. I read about 2600 characters across 240 lines, which is pretty decent I think. That said, at my current rate, knowing how long this game is, I’ll be reading for probably literally a year or more. Thus far, I’m having having a good time; the prospect of more doesn’t bug me, and my extra reading time is going to finishing Zoo 1 on the side (80% through! Which is actually more than that because it ends with a bonus interview). And I’ll probably speed up. But I may want to consider making more time for this game too, eventually, to cut into that enormous timeframe.
Today I met who I think might be the last main character I hadn’t encountered yet, and then the MC pushed her around on a suitcase. As you do, when meeting someone.
I think my favorite new word, which uses a kanji not taught on WK, is 穿つ (うがつ), to drill or pierce (plus various other meanings). It’s hole plus the radical Wanikani calls “fang,” which I only very recently learned. It’s not hard to get to the meaning from that combination! The reading will be more annoying to remember, but I’ll try.
I read the free sample of 夜警！I found it very readable, which was nice, no real issues except from the fact that I just randomly decided in my head that the protagonist was a woman (I think cos there is a woman on the cover…who I now realise is another character) and got excited for a moment that there was a queer relationship but no, protag is a dude lol. Gender of characters is still something I have some trouble figuring out in Japanese at times cos I don’t know that many names…luckily this writer loves to use the わ sentence ender for everything that any woman says so it’s pretty clear haha. Anyway, I liked it well enough so far so will most likely read it soonish. Although I discovered that the same author also has a long running slightly more comedic series about a detective that is scared of blood that solves crimes with the help of a cat (三毛猫ホームズ) which I am very intruiged by.
I also read a bit of 少年探偵団. I’m not sure if it was more difficult or if I was just more tired haha. Anyway, it also seemed promising. Too many things I want to read!
Today: spent most of my time setting up screen capture on my switch with Game2Text. I got it working…mostly…with ときめきGS4, but I played that game so obsessively (and used up enough time setting it up) that I only added one card to my Anki haha. Still, opens up the option to mine vocab/use yomichan on switch only games which is cool! Will read some more 鏡の孤城 before bed as I remembered how much I was enjoying that too. Books are great
I spent a few minutes staring at the first page of Chapter 2 of デスノート, and feeling like my brain was made of mashed potato. Then I flicked through the next few pages and saw how much text there was, and how much of it was unfamiliar vocab and felt rather dispirited and useless.
Then I put it down, and read a chapter of よつばと！ instead and actually enjoyed that.
A year or so ago, よつばと！ was too hard for me to read, and I was really sad about it. But now reading it is really fun so I’m glad I didn’t force myself to keep trying to read it while it was too difficult and frustrating.
Which made me decide that its probably best to drop out of the デスノート Bookclub, and come back to it when I’ll be able to actually enjoy it!
くすむ - to be dark; to be dull; to be unassuming; to be inconspicuous; to not stand out
取り合わせ (とりあわせ) - an assortment; combination
褐色 (かっしょく) - dark brown; colour of tanned skin
鶯茶 (うぐいすちゃ) - greenish brown
じっくり - deliberately; carefully; thoroughly; without rushing
Time spent: 10 min
Today’s reading was about 針供養 (はりくよう) - a memorial service for old needles. RIP, broken and rusty needles Today, people can bring their old needles (stabbed into tofu or konjac) and offer them at a shrine while praying for better sewing skills.
What else did I read?
Amount read: 4 pages
Time spent: 28 min
This book is making me feel like a kid again I love sea animals you guys
Today, we delved into why one of our orca narrator friends is white. There are actually 2 ways that you can get white orcas - you can get leucistic orcas, with less pigment but still some coloration (so you can see the normal pattern etc. on the skin), or albino orcas with zero pigment and red eyes (our narrator friend is leucistic).
Today I read some more 風つよ and played some more 999; I’m still enjoying them both a lot! Both definitely had some weird moments with like really specific vocab, but that’s okay because I could tell they were just moments
More puzzle adventures! The “escape” parts of the game are a lot of fun, though the dialogue gets a bit weird sometimes and there’s no voice acting in those sections, so that’s a little extra challenge. The puzzles are so fun though
Some of the infamous science talk happened lmao; 八代 started talking about like morphogenesis and サンタ was immediately like “just hearing that made my head hurt” so very relatable He really brought the dumbass energy today, I checked out a shower head and his response:
Sweetheart no But man I can’t escape the mushrooms huh, they followed me.
I also encountered ふにゃりんぱ, all the cool kids know what I’m talking about I have absolutely no idea, there was really a whole option to just make up a word and mess with 八代 for a while huh, this game’s wild
All in all another good day! 999 weirdly feels less exhausting most of the time (except when people start talking about science and ふにゃりんぱ and such), which is the opposite of what I would’ve expected. It’s been really great!
野望 - ambition
薙ぐ - to mow down, to knock someone off their feet
恫喝 - intimidation, bluster
強権発動 - invoking the coercive power of the state (this was in 風つよ… yeah)
鼻先で笑う - to laugh scornfully, to sneer (at)
清々しい - refreshing (refreshing-kun??? the man himself)
持ちつ持たれつ - give and take (bonus grammar point!! つ～つ being contrasting actions)
グラつく - to be unsteady, to waver
トンデモ - unthinkable, outrageous
並べ立てる - to talk a lot of nonsense
強いて - if I had to (say), by force
Thank you for such a thorough explanation! Well, by N3-N2 I mostly meant intermediate/upper intermediate level kanji and grammar. As I remember they also have plenty of dialects e.t.c., so I had a feeling these games will be tough to comfortably play.
I am far from lvl60, but your explanation gave me more info on how to tackle them. At least I need to know plenty of kanji reading without furigana. Good luck with Kiwami 2, it is a pretty intense one, Ryuji is a remarkable fella.
P.S. I’d like to recommend you Yakuza 0 and 4 (if you haven’t played them).