Escape Games FTW!

I’m hooked and I can’t stop!

The Japanese キッズ@nifty site has a set of puzzles, categorized as “脱出 games. (Escape games.)

The basic premise is that you are trapped somewhere and need to escape the building/area.  You must rely on your intelligence, uncanny detective abilities, and Japanese skillz, to get out.


Don't let the childish look fool you, this game is challenging!

Search rooms, find hidden objects and clues, and interact with the environments to get out…or not, muahahaha!

Don’t let the ”キッズ” in the title fool you, these are pretty tough!  (I think, anyways.  Maybe you’ll think they’re cake.  Just don’t tell me, or I will be a saaaad panda.)

They require a good chunk of reading, great for immersing and not so much that you’re overwhelmed.  (And if you’re into it, it really motivates you to want to understand!)

Whatcha waiting for?  Check them out and see what you think!  I recommend starting with the easiest one (エコナライ・スケープ!) first, to get the hang of it!)

The キッズ@nifty site has lots of other great games for kids that happen to be great for immersion and learning, too!  Check ’em out!

Got any favorite online games?  Share them in the comments!


Get your read on with the next 多読!

Books, websites, movie and video game subtitles all count for reading in 多読. Already started my book stack...

Looking for a fun way to up your motivation and get lots o’ quality 日本語 immersion?  The next round of 多読 (たどく) starts January 1’st!

What’s 多読?  In short, a challenge to read as much Japanese as you can in a month- in any format you like.  Compete against others and/or your personal best, and get updates on everyone’s progress in real time.

Registration and participation are quick and easy!  It’s all done via Twitter.  To register, tweet #reg to @tadokubot.   Here’s the homepage for more info.

Why do 多読?
Because it’s awesome.  Check out my posts on why 多読 rocked my socks the last time:

Play American PS3 Games in Japanese

American version of Little Big Planet (GOTY Edition only!) has Japanese text and audio!

Did you know you can play some PS3 games in Japanese without having the Japanese version?

Yup, even ones that don’t have language setting options in the menu. If your PS3 language is set to Japanese, any game with a Japanese version on it will play it.

There’s quite a few of them, though not enough to satisfy most avid gamers.  But hey, look at it this way…

  • You can save a pretty penny over buying import versions on a few games.
  • You might already have some titles that have Japanese.  Instant immersion!

Here’s a thread on TheJapanesePage’s forum listing U.S. games that have the Japanese version on them.  (Careful!  Sometimes only one version of a game will work.  ie: Little Big Planet only has Japanese on the Game of the Year Edition.  Found this out the hard way.)

Is this true for other regions? I’m not sure, but I’d imagine it is…  If you know, please let us know in the comments!

Many thanks to Travis of V10Japan for letting me know about this awesome immersion hack!

PS: It’s been a long time, I know!  Life’s crazy!  But more posts coming soon 🙂

Improving my immersion

I just can’t get over how awesome immersion is.  Srsly.

I spent yesterday in NYC, in my two favorite places there: BookOff and Kinokuniya. I spent several hours immersed in Japanese: reading signs, sifting through book and DVD titles, reading book summaries, scanning a few pages of books I might be interested in, searching for authors, using a computer to find out if specific books were in stock…

BookOff in NYC- a bastion of awesomeness

Seven hours of this and I left with my brain anticipating Japanese and thinking in Japanese.  (ie: When I heard something, my brain was listening for Japanese, when I read something, my brain was expecting it to be Japanese.)  Another thing I noticed was that I learned a ton!  Yes, new kanji and vocab, but more importantly, new skills for learning and getting the info I need without the help of English.  I was on Japanese-learning fire!  But why?

There were three elements of this that I don’t always have in my in-home immersion that I think contributed to better, faster learning…

1. No way out but Japanese.
All the things I set out to do, from finding the pet book and cookbook sections to the paperback  村上春樹, couldn’t be done in English.  No whipping out my jisho, no turning on Rikaichan.  Time to use real skills in the real world.

2. Through-the-roof excitement.
When I go to NYC for my book-movie-music hunting, I am giddy with excitement, just bursting to sift through and find as much as possible.  I love every author-hunting  moment, every”I can’t believe I just looked up and saw this book” instant, and every little victory I get to experience while I’m there (“I just read this summary and understood it!”, or “I just read a huge chunk of this page before I hit something I couldn’t read!”, or “I found the vegetable cookbooks!”.)

3. Lots of people I could look ridiculous in front of.
Nothing like a bit of social pressure to motivate you to do your best.  Not to say that I don’t regularly look ridiculous to strangers on a daily basis, but I felt extra pressure to really know what I was doing and understand what I was reading- or figure it out, lest I end up looking for ハリー・ポッター in the 日本者 section (Harry Potter in the Japanese authors section).  There was, admittedly, some “I can do this and I’ll prove it to you!” feeling in me too.

The NYC Kinokuniya- a more expensive but still awesome bastion of awesomeness

So now, I’ll work on incorporating these apsects in my at-home immersion.

Well, the first two anyways.  Time to figure out how to limit my English “outs” when I meet a challenge, and how to get more excitement out of my immersion!

What do you do to get yourself hyped for immersion?
Do you limit your English “outs” when you’re figuring out a kanji/word/sentence?
Leave a comment and tell us about it!




Flickr, 日本語で

Here’s one more way to get some 日本語 into your day!

Make the most of your photo-sharing on Flickr (or any other site you upload photos on) by writing in Japanese for all your photo content: Titles, Descriptions, Notes, Tags, etc.

日本語 it up on your Flickr account: Titles, captions, and notes in Japanese!

Once you’re done uploading, it’s easy to tweet your photos for your Japanese-speaking and learning Tweeps to check out!

You don’t have to isolate your English-speaking friends with this, either.  Tag them and put their names in katakana.  Unless they’ve got a pole far up a place it shouldn’t be, they’ll probably think seeing their name in Japanese is at leeeast a little interesting.

I juuust started doing this, it’s fun!  Knowing people will see what you’ve written is motivation to try your best, too.

Click here to check out my Flickr.  (Just a wee one, but it’ll grow!)

J.K. Rowling’s page in Japanese is Srsly Awesome

J.K.'s wesite is a playground, and it's full of things to do and read- in Japanese!

There are different objects on this desk, which is the main page, that are “Portkeys” and will take you to different areas. There are lots of clickable/draggable things that will unlock secret goodies if you figure them out.  (Goodies = stuff like original pages from HP drafts and drawings of the characters by the author.)

It’s great immersion because it’s so interactive, there’s lots to read, and it’s damn fun.

If you’ve read “Harry Potter”, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard”, or have any interest in J.K. Rowling, you need to visit her website.

I was planning on writing a post for this link and a few others last night, buuuut I ended up playing and reading on the site until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Happy clicking!

3 Tools to Immerse On-the-Go

When you’re out and about, doing the bajillion errands life requires we do, your day can quickly become very 英語だらけ (full of English, in a bad way).

I’ve taken to carrying a few things with me at all times to help maximize my immersion, even in the Englishy-est of times. Here are a few suggestions of things to bring with you wherever you go, based on what I’ve been doing.  If you like ’em, give it a try!

Take your immersion to-go. Pack your bag with things to listen to, read, and write on.

1.  A book

Carry a book.  A good one.  Or two.  (I carry a novel and a manga at all times.)

Whip it out whenever you get the chance. Long line at the store?  Got business at the DMV?  Awkward silence in the Jiffy Lube waiting room?  Need to sit and take a break from your shopping spree?  Awesome, read!

2. Music + Podcasts

Get tunes.  Get Japanese podcasts.  Whatever floats your boat.  Don’t forget to keep it fresh.

Don your headphones and listen whenever you can: while you’re grocery shopping, at the mall, whenever you’ve got a minute and don’t want to read.  It doesn’t matter if you’re not actively listening the whole time.  When your brain wants to listen, it’s going to get Japanese.  (And I doubt you’ll miss the prime musical selections played by most stores….).

3. Paper + Pen

Pack some paper and something to write with.  Fun stationary, post-its, a plain ol’ notepad, whatever will work.

Simple, of course.  And you can just practice writing when you take a break or have a spare minute on your errands, but there are more creative and motivating ways to get writing practice, too.  My personal favorite: leaving guerrilla notes in Japanese for other people to find.

What does this entail?  Writing on a piece of paper and leaving it somewhere.  Yup, that’s it.  You could write some lyrics from a song,  a line or so from the book you’re reading, a favorite quote, a secret, something ridiculous you just thought up on the spot…  Write it down, fold it up, and leave it somewhere.  The public restroom, the coffee shop seat you were sitting on, tucked into a park bench, peeking out from a book at the bookstore, between the tissue boxes at Target…you get the idea.

Knowing someone will find it can help motivate you to write, to make sure it’s relatively correct, and to use your best handwriting. (Even if it’s someone who can’t read or understand it)

And that concludes the post! 
If you like the ideas, get packing!  Got more ideas?  Share them in the comments!

PS:  I’ll have a post on guerrilla art in Japanese in the future, because it’s  just that awesome and fun.

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