[How To] Learn Japanese with Manga

We all know them: cringy weeaboos who say nothing but “kawaii”, “sugoi” or “daisuki”, because they picked up those few words while watching anime and think they just learned Japanese. Don’t be that cringy weeaboo, study USEFUL Japanese instead and become so fluent that no Japanese will ever tell you “Nihongo jouzu desune!” anymore.

Now, there are quite a few online courses for you to choose from, but like with all foreign languages, you need to practice them in order to actually be able to use them. And the one thing you need to practice the most is kanji. Kanji, kanji, kanji, there are just too many of them and let’s be real, you will never learn them all, not even Japanese know all of them, they regularly use dictionaries instead.

But we’re only motivated to study when it’s fun, amirite? so why not study by reading manga in Japanese, amirite? But there are SO many manga, how could we possibly find the one that’s right for us?

My first tip for anyone who has just started studying Japanese and wants to practice basic grammar and vocabulary is that they should imagine themselves on the same level as a Japanese elementary schooler. Of course, actual Japanese kids are more fluent than you, but these kids use easy words and easy grammar. A logical conclusion is that manga with many young characters will have lots of dialogues with easy grammar. So choose manga with many young characters.

My second tip is that there are many manga with furigana, which means that next to the kanji will be text that will tell you how to read that kanji. These manga are ideal for beginners. Furigana are common in manga targeted at a young audience, like shoujo manga or shounen manga. But shounen manga, which regularly have an adventurous or magical setting, will use lots of weird words you won’t need or will actually learn in the beginning of your journey. And romance shoujo manga have a lot of characters using slang, which isn’t really useful for you in the beginning either.

My third tip is to use a translation app like Google Translate or Yomiwa (only iOS but my favorite app tbh) to translate words you don’t yet know.
With Yomiwa you can make the app translate words directly from your camera or an image on your phone, and it has a database of words with usage examples.
And here is how you use Google Translate to translate text from your phone’s camera.

In order to help you find your way into the world of manga in Japanese, I’ve made a list with a selected few titles consisting of 1) manga with kids, 2) boys love manga with kids and 3) boys love manga that just have furigana for the heck of it.

(At the Amazon links you can usually find sample pages you can check out in case you want to get any of them from CDJapan!)

Manga with kids

Sodatechi Maou! by Iijima Kosuke

What happens when three demon kings raise a little human kid in the underworld? They become pampering, hilarious daddies of course 👀 A series completed in 8 volumes about three guys trying to raise a toddler together. My personal highlight is the tiny romance later in the series.

Get it on:
CDJapan
Amazon
Kindle

Gakuen Babysitters by Tokeino Hari

Some of you might know the anime, and if you don’t, I definitely recommend it! It’s pure sugar with a side of many many adorable babies! Gakuen Babysitters is about a pair of brothers, older brother Ryuuichi in middle school and younger brother Koutarou just learning how to talk, who lost their parents and are now taken in by an old lady who lost her son and his wife in the same plane accident. The lady is the principal of a school with a babysitter club where the members take care of the teachers’ kids, and Ryuuichi becomes the first and only club member. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, but most of all it makes you squeal because all the babies are so cute! The series currently has 19 volumes and is still ongoing.

Get it on:
CDJapan
Amazon
Kindle

Maou-sama to Shun-kun by monaca

Some of you might know author monaca by her other pen name Nanoka with works like Shiawase Gohan – Maki to Hanazawa! Shun-kun is a toddler who lives with his grandparents, and Mao, a demon lord who’s head over heals for the cute kid (not in THAT way, you little scoundrels) and abandons the demon world to play with Shun-kun every single day. This series currently has 3 volumes and sadly updates very slowly ;-;

Get it on:
CDJapan
Amazon
Kindle

Boys Love manga with kids

W (Double) Kosodate Riiman no Nichijou by Nanjo Tsugumi

Single daddies? Single daddies! I love BL stories about single daddies! And there’s even two of them in this manga! Okay, one of them is actually the kid’s uncle who took the boy in after he lost his parents and at the same time the ability to speak, but that just makes the story a little more interesting, right?

Get it on:
CDJapan
Amazon
Kindle

Hinadori wa Shiokaze ni Madoromu by Minazuki Yuu

This manga is about two brothers who lose their family in an accident and move to an unknown seaside town. Tired by the move, they stroll through the neighborhood looking for something to eat and find a little restaurant with a charming owner. This one has a bunch of drama and a really good story, very unlike most of the other manga in this list!

Get it on:
CDJapan
Amazon
Kindle

Sekai wa Shippo de Dekiteiru by Honjo Rie

Riku is one of the last two Japanese wolves (wolf people who can shape shift) after his parents die in an accident (wow that’s a popular trope in this post lol). In order for him to learn what he needs to know as a wolf, a young man from the bureau of animal people affairs (I guess that’s how you could translate it?) brings the young boy to the second wolf man, a good-looking author who lives in the forest, to receive help from him. And he falls in love with the author’s fluffy tail, I guess.

Get it on:
CDJapan
Amazon
Kindle

Boys Love manga that have furigana just for the heck of it

Tanutanu by Nekono Mariko

Dude with a dramatic past runs over a tanuki with his bike and takes it home to care for it and OBVIOUSLY the tanuki can shape shift into a cute young man, duh. After said young tanuki man pressures the guy into letting him live in his apartment because he is oh so hurt after the accident, what could possibly go wrong?

Get it on:
CDJapan
Amazon
Kindle

Ganbare Moroboshi-kun by Natsuki Zippo

Hmmmm… I guess the best way to describe these two would be Kashima-kun and Hori-chan-sempai from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, but gay? Moroboshi-kun is the school prince, adored by all the girls who chase after him 24/7, so in order to be able to go home in peace, he hides in the gym’s storage room after school. Until one day, another guy climbs in through the window and Moroboshi-kun promises him to help him confess to his crush.

Get it on:
CDJapan
Amazon
Kindle

Renchin! by Kakine

This chin is the chin you are expecting, you little pervert, it’s the sound a microwave makes when it’s finished heating up your food! (“to microwave something” literally translates to “chin suru” lol)
A construction worker who lives alone and makes his lunch box by himself every day suddenly gets a visit from a TV announcer who says he wants to try his food. The dude gets hooked on it despite having a hard time actually telling apart what tastes “good” and “bad” and visits the man on the construction site he works at to sneak a bite from his lunch box.

Get it on:
CDJapan
Amazon
Kindle

Fudanshi-kun no Honey Days by Yodogawa Yuo

A dirty, dirty book about a dirty, dirty high school fudanshi getting his hair cut by a dirty, dirty hair stylist. This one was pretty popular when it first came out, but do you know that it got a second volume called Fudanshi-kun no Citrus Days not too long ago?? (They both also have two really good drama CDs I listened to a lot when they came out!)

Get it on:
CDJapan
Amazon
Kindle (if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get the first volume for free!)

I also recommend reading manga together while reading the drama CD, which is basically the manga as an audio book performed by Japanese voice actors! But that is for another post ;D

If you like my post, consider subscribing to this blog by entering your email address in the sidebar to receive updates when I write a new post!

[Tutorial] How to buy stuff on Amazon Japan

If you’ve followed me for a while on Twitter, you may know that in recent years I’ve bought most of my manga on Amazon Japan, be it physical copies or ebooks. They have pretty much every manga you can think of and provide super fast worldwide shipping with DHL (and if I say super fast, I mean 2-3 days fast!). Amazon and DHL will even handle customs for you, so you’ll never have to pay any extra fees or taxes for your packages again! Granted, CDJapan’s cheapest shipping option is VERY cheap indeed, but those packages can take up to 3 months to get to you and even then you can’t be sure if you don’t have to pay extra customs and taxes. And EMS is hella expensive compared to Amazon’s DHL shipping, not as fast and, you guessed it, customs and taxes aren’t taken care of either.

I know that most of you are intimidated by Japanese websites, even if Chrome browser has a built-in website translation feature. But be afraid no more! If you have a credit card or access to Amazon Japan gift cards, there’s literally no reason why you couldn’t buy from Amazon Japan!

What many don’t know is that you can set Amazon Japan to use English in just a couple of clicks!

Hover over JP and the globe in the right half of the top menu, then click on English

Hover over JP and the globe in the right half of the top menu, then click on English.

Now you can browse Amazon Japan in English!

Now you can browse Amazon Japan in English!

But how do you do that if you don’t know Japanese? Well, you’ll usually know how to write the Japanese title in western letters, right? Amazon has an incredibly useful feature that will try to convert anything you write in the search bar into Japanese, like so:

If you type letters into the search bar, Amazon will automatically try to convert it into Japanese for you! (not translate, just convert)

Here’s a few tips on what to look out for when you type in a title in letters:

  • Don’t use spaces! Japanese rarely uses blank space between words, so don’t press that space key!
  • Actually do use spaces! If a manga title has a comma, period or exclamation mark in it, leave the comma out and use the space key instead, since Amazon apparently has trouble converting these guys properly! Confusing, right? but you’ll get used to it!
  • Some western versions of Japanese titles use a slightly wrong version to make it easier for us to read, like there’s づ and ず which are both written and pronounced as “zu”, but a slightly more correct version would be “du” for づ and “zu” for ず. If that confuses you, try looking up the title in Japanese on websites like Baka-Updates Manga and copy-paste that into the Amazon search bar.

What about ebooks though? Well, ebooks are a GREAT way to read manga, if you want to save money, want to read the stuff you buy immediately anywhere and want to save space (and trees that won’t have to be cut down to print the manga instead) or you can simply support your favorite author after you’ve read a scanlation and there’s no official translation in your language yet! Some people are worried that the stores they buy from will be out of business at some point and the money they spent on their ebooks will be in vain and the books will be gone, but let’s be real: there’s no way Amazon will go out of business in the next 20 or so years, so it’s still a good investment!

You can read Amazon ebooks on either your Kindle (there’s even a special Kindle Paperwhite for Manga being sold in Japan), in the Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet or even computer, or, and this one’s new, in the browser. If you read in the browser, you won’t have to download additional software before reading, but I tried reading Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori on Safari/Mac and the browser reader was full of bugs, so I’d recommend using the Kindle or Kindle app instead!

I don’t have a Kindle, but here’s some tips for reading your ebooks from Amazon Japan on your Kindle app:
Before you start the app for the first time, set your device’s location to Japan (you don’t have to set the whole thing to Japanese, just the location is enough!) to make your app connect to your account on Amazon Japan instead of your country’s Amazon (in my case it would be Amazon Germany instead).

Once you’ve created your Amazon customer account and have added your credit card or gift card credit, you’ll be able to buy ebooks with just one click! Ebooks are usually a little (sometimes even a lot!) cheaper than physical copies, and if you want to save even more, you can sign up for kindle unlimited with a trial period of 30 days, after that it’s ¥980 a month for thousands of manga (granted, they’re not the latest or hottest shit, but they’re free entertainment 🤷).

Once you’ve purchased an ebook, it’ll show up in your app’s list and if you click on it, it’ll be downloaded to your device. Your reading progress will be saved online, so if you start reading it on your tablet, but have to take a break in the middle of reading because you have an appointment in town, you can just download it to your phone and continue reading on the train where you just left off without spending minutes looking for the last page you read!

And if you’ve made your account, but don’t know what to buy first, maybe check out the current Boys Love ebook ranking with both paid and free ebooks!

I hope this article helped you out and will make it easier for you get your hands on the manga, anime and other merchandise you’ve always wanted! 😀
If there is anything that’s unclear or if you have further questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me a tweet!
I even have a Facebook page now, so maybe leave a like there as well :3

[How To] Ten Count Smartphone Game “Another Days”

After the release of the Ten Count smartphone game “Another Days” for Ameba (a Japanese social media/blogging platform) got postponed again and again, the developers dropped the bomb and released the game without any prior notice yesterday. Instead of making it an app on its own, the game was built as a website and can be played if you have an Ameba account. In this short(!) How-To I’ll show you how to make an account and how the basic functions of the game work. The game works pretty much like your regular Dating Sim for the story part, so there’s a lot of clicking and reading involved, but the bad news for some of you is that the game is entirely in Japanese. I’m not sure if anyone will translate the game’s main story or not, but I’m too busy and will not.



Create your Ameba account

First you need to click on this link: a1-341-6-sp.arithgame.jp/index.php

From there you’ll scroll down a little and see this page:

The easiest way to create a new account is to login with facebook/twitter/whatever else is available on there. Creating an Ameba account is free, you will only be charged if you want to buy extra content.

After you’ve given Ameba permission to access the info of your social media account for the login, you’ll be prompted to complete your profile:

Your icon and username will be taken from your social media. Next are your date of birth (year/month/day!), gender (the first one is female, the second one is male) and the last field is for your email address. Once you’ve completed inserting your information you’ll be able to press the grey button and proceed to the game’s page.

Tutorial

Once you’ve finished making your account, you’ll be directed to this page:

Click the green button to get to the game’s page. Click the pink button on the next site to start the game:

The game will ask you how you want to be called. The first field is for your last name, the second field is for your first name:

Next you will be asked if you want to turn on the sound, this will likely increase the load times for the game, but you will be able to change your decision again later in the settings:

The options are: ON, OFF or SKIP

And now you finally get to start with a bit of story!

Navigating through the conversations is done by tapping the screen, if you are prompted to make a decision during the conversation, you can do so by tapping on it directly.

Your first task in the game is to dress up Shirotani-san! You can choose his facial expression and which shoes he’s supposed to wear with his usual suit!

Click the upper button on the last page to go with your decision, click the second button to go back and choose again.
Afterwards Kurose-kun explains that you can only dress up Shirotani-san, but you can receive other characters in various matching outfits you can add to Shirotani-san as decoration (lmao).

You’ll then receive 5 scenario tickets. These are used to proceed in the main stories. You’ll receive free tickets at 4 am Japan time per day, but they’ll expire after a day!

You can make Shirotani-san take “lessons” in order to raise his charm points. These lessons are exhausting and burn up stamina points, so you there’s only a limited number of times you can take them per day! To be very honest, I’m not very sure how they work: You’re presented with two differently dressed Shirotanis and are then supposed to click one of the two icons under them. Just know that 大成功 means success and 失敗 means failure. Sometimes if you’re successful you will sometimes receive “Dias”(?) (Google translates this as “deer”, but they’re basically in-game coins you can use to buy items) and will be able to raise your lesson level.

Then it’s time for your first mission! Your first mission is to buy Shirotani-san’s “normal coat” for 600 Dia which will increase your charm by 10 points. Well done, you did a shop!

As a reward for this you’ll receive more scenario tickets. Reward items are sent to your inbox and you can either accept them one by one by clicking the tiny pink button right next to the item, or you can be a smart person and receive them all at once by clicking the big buttons at the top or bottom of the item list.

In raising mode you can use your raise points to raise Shirotani-san! By raising your affection level in the examination room you’ll be able to receive special avatars and voice scenarios! Your affection level also helps you make up for wrong decisions you make during the story play. These invested affection points will not be reset if you switch between two stories, but there are special reset tickets which will be able to do that for you if you’re not satisfied with your progress.

It’s then time for you first lesson. As previously explained, you will see two sometimes differently dressed Shirotanis and have to choose one of the two icons below as your lesson partner to raise your “Ten Count Level”. Below the two icons you will see your left stamina points and how many stamina points will be deleted during the lesson in the brackets.

Afterwards Shirotani-san explains that during the story play your lesson level influences if you will enter the normal ending route or the happy ending route of the story. Which ending you receive depends on your choices during the story, your lesson level and your avatar’s dress up which will gain you items needed for the story’s progress.

The game’s twitter account mentioned earlier today that you will receive bonus stills for completing both endings!

Congratulations, you’ve completed the tutorial!



How To Play

After completing the tutorial you get to choose one of two storylines for the story mode: Shirotani Tadaomi: Lost Child (top) and Shirotani Tadaomi: Dinner (bottom). Confirm your choice by a click on the pink button, change your choice by a click on the blue button.

There are a bunch of items you might receive after this, they’re free login bonus items you will receive for logging in for days in a row and items that are given out during campaigns. While I’m writing this post you will receive a complete wedding dress up set to celebrate 80,000 pre-release registered users (The set also comes with a dressed up Kurose-kun)! You will be able to accept the items you received in your inbox.

Here’s what your main page looks like. In the top bar you see your icon, the name of the story you chose, your current progress in the story, your affection level in the heart and a menu button. Under it you see your current dress-up, the present button in the top right corner is your inbox where you can accept and receive items. Under that are the buttons which will get you to the lesson mode, raising mode and story mode.

The menu has the following buttons:

My Page, [in preparation]

Shop, Chip, Gacha, Dress up
My Data, Inventory, Scenario album, Change route
Friends Top, Ranking, Login sheet, Change name
Help

Gacha currently has two themes: Japanese tea house in spring and Ornaments!

After choosing one theme you’ll learn how long the theme will be available, the Japanese tea house in spring theme will be available until April 8, 2018. Under the pink button you’ll see how many gacha tickets you have left.
Click the pink button to turn the gacha, the left grey button to view the items and the right button to buy tickets (probably with real money, I’m not sure how you buy items on Ameba though…).
After clicking the pink button you need to confirm that you want to spend your gacka ticket.
If you scroll down you’ll see a list of the theme’s available items divided into a first section with rare items and a second section with normal items. Scroll down a bit further to see a list that tells you how likely each item will drop. (I suggest copy-pasting this list into Google Translate)

Dressing up Shirotani-san is fairly easy. Under the avatar you see how high you charm points are and how many slots in your closet are occupied. Seems like you can only carry 20 items, but since some of them may be relevant to the story you need to choose well which ones to keep and which ones to delete.
The two pink button direct you to either the avatar shop (left) or the gacha (right).

To dress Shirotani-san in an item, click on it and choose the bigger pink button. Choose the smaller button to throw away this item!
To take off an item you’re already wearing just click on the item and then the one button displayed.
When you click on an item, you’ll also see how many charm points the item will add to your outfit.

And lastly, to change your sound setting, go to My Data in the menu, then click the grey button at the bottom of the page and click the grey button on the following page to turn on the sound.

I hope this will be of help to some of you guys!