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Pokémon in Japanese

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Hi everyone,

I'm not sure whether this is the right place to post this or whether it's appropriate to post this anywhere, but I have been wondering recently about users who play the game in Japanese, particularly if they are not natives of the language. Moderators, if this thread is in the wrong place, or indeed if it isn't appropriate, please move it.

As my nick suggests, I am very into studying languages - I speak a number of languages to varying degrees of fluency and therefore understand just how difficult it is and how much time and effort it takes. Japanese is a very different language to my native languages of English and Welsh, which would make it quite difficult, at least initially, for me to learn Japanese - it has three alphabets (or four if you count Romanji) and the grammar is altogether quite different.

So finally I get to my point - How many of you who play Pokémon in Japanese as foreigners can understand it well? Did you learn Japanese and then begin to play the game, or do you learn (or perhaps just muddle through?) the language while playing the game? I've been curious about this for quite some time so it'd be great to read your responses. Also as a sort of secondary question, if I buy a foreign Pokémon cartridge, perhaps from France or Germany, would it play on my UK DS? I apologise for my technical ignorance :]

Thanks,
LanguageSponge
 
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I've played a couple of the games it Japanese, and it really isn't too difficult. Considering how they aren't even particularly story driven, learning the names of moves and Pokémon should be enough for just battling. Assuming you have learned the scripts and have an average vocabulary and knowledge of structures, you should be fine.
 
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I just mash the A button and beat the game. None of them are story driven, and BW is even easier due to it's linearness. To know your items, you use images, so games after FRLG are easy.

If you know your items and prices, then you can even beat Gens I, II, and RS with little knowledge.
 
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Hi everyone,

-post-

Thanks,
LanguageSponge
First Pokémon game I played in Japanese was Gold, when I hardly understood anything at all. Found out later that I actually named myself something like YOYOYOYOYO and my rival FUFUFUFUFU hehe. Wasn't too enjoyable on its own.
Ended up learning Japanese unrelated to Pokémon, and revisited the Japanese games with the release of DP, and together with a dictionary to check words, playing through video games in Japanese has helped me expand my vocabulary.

Compared to some games, Japanese Pokémon games could be said to be 'easy' to read the Japanese in, they only use hiragana and katakana (the two phonetic syllablaries) until BW, which you have an option to set it to include kanji (the pictographic characters). In that way you only ever have 100 or so characters to deal with instead of potentially thousands. I don't know any other languages but English and Japanese, so I can't really comment on learning Japanese as a second language compared to learning something else as a second language.

And yes. The only exception is BW, which you can't play non-English BW on non-local DSi/3DSes, but they still work fine on DSes worldwide. All five European languages are in the same local region though, so even if you have a UK 3DS, French and German would still work, though Japanese wouldn't.
 
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I started playing a Japanese game when I got HeartGold, and my second was Black (where they introduced kanji). I've learned a lot of Japanese Pokemon names and move names this way. Even before I got HG, I've been studying Japanese on-and-off; I already had hiragana and katakana memorized. I guess it was relatively easy for me, especially since HG was a remake.
 
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Compared to some games, Japanese Pokémon games could be said to be 'easy' to read the Japanese in, they only use hiragana and katakana (the two phonetic syllablaries) until BW, which you have an option to set it to include kanji (the pictographic characters). In that way you only ever have 100 or so characters to deal with instead of potentially thousands. I don't know any other languages but English and Japanese, so I can't really comment on learning Japanese as a second language compared to learning something else as a second language.

And yes. The only exception is BW, which you can't play non-English BW on non-local DSi/3DSes, but they still work fine on DSes worldwide. All five European languages are in the same local region though, so even if you have a UK 3DS, French and German would still work, though Japanese wouldn't.
Thanks for your answer, bluesun. Now, once again overlooking my complete technical ignorance, if I wanted to play the game in Japanese, would I need to buy a Japanese DS? I assume the answer is yes - but would it work in the UK? Would I have to buy anything else to make it work? I didn't find learning hiragana and katakana very difficult so I would be able to muddle my way through if the game were set to only use kana. My knowledge of kanji is truly shameful however. I like to make learning languages fun, since that's how we learn fastest, so struggling through kanji on the game for a while would be a good way for me to do that. Starting to learn Kanji will open a whole new can of worms, though, so I'm a bit apprehensive about it :] Since I'll have played through the game at least once in English before attempting Japanese, it will make it slightly easier, I think.

Thanks for all of your responses, I found them interesting :]

LanguageSponge
 
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Japanese DS games work in any Nintendo DS or DS Lite, but they only work in a Japanese DSi, DSi XL, or 3DS.
 
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Japanese DS games work in any Nintendo DS or DS Lite, but they only work in a Japanese DSi, DSi XL, or 3DS.
And that's only if they have TWL in the game ID. If the game card starts with NTR, then it will play on a US DSi.

If you have a JP game and a US DSi, you aren't out of luck. You can use an ARDSi and load the game with that, and the DSi will play it in DS mode.
 
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I'd like to get my hands on a Japanese copy sometime just to see how well I could play. I don't know very many kana but I know a lot of movepools by heart, so I'd probably be able to manage Ruby...
 
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I've played trough the Japanese version of Black and didn't find it hard at all since B/W are very easy games.

One thing is actually better when playing Japanese Pokemon:you don't know which Pokemon NPCs are going to send,so it's more challenging like competitive battling.
 
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Thanks for your answer, bluesun. Now, once again overlooking my complete technical ignorance, if I wanted to play the game in Japanese, would I need to buy a Japanese DS? I assume the answer is yes - but would it work in the UK? Would I have to buy anything else to make it work? I didn't find learning hiragana and katakana very difficult so I would be able to muddle my way through if the game were set to only use kana. My knowledge of kanji is truly shameful however. I like to make learning languages fun, since that's how we learn fastest, so struggling through kanji on the game for a while would be a good way for me to do that. Starting to learn Kanji will open a whole new can of worms, though, so I'm a bit apprehensive about it :] Since I'll have played through the game at least once in English before attempting Japanese, it will make it slightly easier, I think.

Thanks for all of your responses, I found them interesting :]

LanguageSponge
As others have said, only DSi and 3DS are region-locked for games such as BW. So if you have an ordinary DS, from any country, you're fine importing Japanese BW, although you obviously can't use the videochat. If you did decide to import a Japanese DSi or 3DS you'd need either a replacement charger or a power converter, plus I believe the menus are all locked into Japanese. As for kanji if you're interested in learning through video games or similar, I'd recommend to look for one with furigana (kana over the kanji to tell you the kana reading of it). Unfortunately due to the DS' small screen, not many DS games do support furigana, the only ones I can think of offhand are the Zelda ones, where you can touch a kanji and the kana will popup. Due to the increased resolution, it's a bit more common on home consoles, although regionlocking is more common there too. :/ Due to the age-group it's aimed at, I think most Pokémon manga has furigana though. But anyway, that's just my advice. ^^
 
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As others have said, only DSi and 3DS are region-locked for games such as BW. So if you have an ordinary DS, from any country, you're fine importing Japanese BW, although you obviously can't use the videochat. If you did decide to import a Japanese DSi or 3DS you'd need either a replacement charger or a power converter, plus I believe the menus are all locked into Japanese. As for kanji if you're interested in learning through video games or similar, I'd recommend to look for one with furigana (kana over the kanji to tell you the kana reading of it). Unfortunately due to the DS' small screen, not many DS games do support furigana, the only ones I can think of offhand are the Zelda ones, where you can touch a kanji and the kana will popup. Due to the increased resolution, it's a bit more common on home consoles, although regionlocking is more common there too. :/ Due to the age-group it's aimed at, I think most Pokémon manga has furigana though. But anyway, that's just my advice. ^^
You don't need a replacement charger if you live in the US, they take the same voltages and outlets. In fact my US adapter has both JP and US markings. If you live in the EU though, you should just get another charger.

The menus are locked into Japanese, though.

As for home consoles, only the PS3 is region free for PS3 games, the 360 is partally region free, and the Wii is locked. The menus are not locked into Japanese on the PS3 and 360, and you can even use a Japanese 360 with US Xbox Live, and vice versa. Same with the PS3. You will need a power converter for the PS3, and a replacement brick for the 360 and Wii if you live in the EU or a country with 220 power.
 
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You don't need a replacement charger if you live in the US, they take the same voltages and outlets. In fact my US adapter has both JP and US markings. If you live in the EU though, you should just get another charger.
Ah, really? Since I'm in the UK, because they're different here I thought they differed between US and JP too. Thanks.
Besides,
would it work in the UK?
 
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It would with a UK charger. Same with pretty much any portable or console that uses an external PSU.
 
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Generations I-IV's handheld titles will work fine on any system, regardless of region. Generation V and all console titles however, can only be played on their respective regions (although Black and White will work on international DS Phat/DS Lite consoles - just not DSi/XL/3DS).

As for charging any foreign systems, or using them in the power sockets, you could by a little thing (can't remember the name) that lets you plug an international plug into a converter, which you then plug into the mains - it's what I used back when I only had an American DS. Otherwise, due to the different voltages, I wouldn't recommend using a non-European charger.
 
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I think those are stepdown converters. They convert 220 power to 100/120 power, and vice versa. They are only really useful for consoles with built in PSUs though, with a portable, you can use a charger for your own country.
 
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I'd like to get my hands on a Japanese copy sometime just to see how well I could play. I don't know very many kana but I know a lot of movepools by heart, so I'd probably be able to manage Ruby...
You can always just look stuff up on bulbapedia or serebii
 
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Thanks to everyone for your replies; you've all been really helpful :]

LanguageSponge
 
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