LadiesGamers learning japanese

Learning Japanese #2: Heather’s Journey

My online persona, or how I see myself TBH. Made with the character creator on the Yo-Kai Academy Y Waiwai Open Campus Site.

Hello! Heather here, to tell you about my journey in learning Japanese in a slightly unconventional manner, as well as telling my story about visiting Japan in 2014. I’ve also got a little announcement near the end of this article.

Heather’s Journey: An Otaku Girl’s Unconventional Way of Learning Japanese.

But first, a little bit about myself. I’ve always had a huge interest and love for anime, manga, video games that are from Japan, and things related to Japan like the culture.

I introduced myself twice earlier—the first time in Japanese, which is “Konnichiwa! Atashi wa Heather desu. Yoroshiku ne!” (“Hello, I’m Heather. Nice to meet you!”)

Now, in Japanese, you have many ways to say “I”: boku (僕), which is commonly used by young men or men in a formal manner; ore (俺), which is the more informal pronoun for men to use; watashi (私), a formal gender-neutral pronoun; and the one that I use, which is atashi (あたし), an informal pronoun commonly used by young women. There are a lot more, but these are just some examples.

How I am learning Japanese

I am gonna say this right off the bat. My way of learning Japanese has been unconventional, to say the least. Like my skills in games journalism, the bit of Japanese I have learned is mostly self-taught by having played a lot of games as well as watching anime series in Japanese (with some of them never getting a proper English dub).

So I may not be the most fluent in the language yet, but I have gotten to the point where I can easily figure out things that are in katakana or hiragana—but kanji without furigana (which tells you how to pronounce the kanji) can still be a problem.

duo #duolingo #owl #bird #freetoedit - Duolingo Bird Png ...
Duolingo’s mascot Duo is a cute, innocent-looking owl.

I have also dabbled in using Duolingo for learning Japanese, which may have helped a slight bit with the basics, but I am still looking for ways to improve my knowledge of the language past the point that I have learned on my own.

Visiting Japan in 2014

A shop window for a store that specializes in anime and manga that I saw in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo.

In 2014, I had a very special trip with colleagues from a karate dojo I used to do chores for. We went to Tokyo, which was a huge learning experience for me in many ways. I had my stay at the Richmond Hotel Tokyo Suidobashi, in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, which was close to Tokyo Dome City, a huge entertainment complex.

My group visited Japan to witness and participate in the Karate World Championship, also known as the 13th Funakoshi Gichin Cup, that was held at the Nippon Budokan, one of the most well-known theatres in Japan that feature live events and concerts as well!

A picture of Shibuya 109 that features a huge ad for Monster Strike, a popular Japanese mobile game.

Outside of that we also visited a few other places like Korakuen, a really beautiful park, and Akihabara, which is like the holy land for any huge anime and video game fan. I can tell you I enjoyed walking through the Electric District of Akihabara a lot.

We also went to Shibuya, one of the most busy and crowded districts in Tokyo on top of having a lot of various subcultures converge in one place. In Shibuya, you have a lot of cool things like someone driving a Batmobile and people dressing up and having fun during the Halloween season. It was a fun experience, though I was concerned that I would be separated from my group given how crowded it was.

Also had a chance meeting with an adorable cat which had a short tail at the Nippon Budokan. I remembered petting them.

And last off, we also visited Asakusa, which is well-known for the various temples and shrines such as the Senso-ji shrine. The district has various small stores and stands that you can look through and buy things from.

During the trip I also got to use the little bit of Japanese knowledge I had up until that point, and it went alright, all things considered. I also learned a thing or two over there in terms of the language and got used to things having a lot of structure relatively fast. Overall I had a fun and wholesome experience and wouldn’t be opposed to going back again for another trip!

Conclusion and the Announcement!

Image may contain: outdoor
A screenshot from Yo-Kai Watch 4++ on Nintendo Switch featuring Natsume Amano and Keita Amano/Nate Adams.

To be fair, I still have a lot to learn when it comes to reading and speaking Japanese, but I am sure that I will find more ways to learn the language.

Oh yeah! I didn’t forget about the announcement that I wanted to make.

I am planning on doing reviews for imported games from Japan—whether they will eventually come over or will never cross the pond—for those that are curious about specific games and how hard these may be to play depending on the language barrier.

Rating System|CERO (official homepage)

I am only going to review games that are rated CERO A, CERO B, CERO C and CERO D. CERO-Z is 18+ and up, so these are not games that good boys and girls should play or see on this family-friendly site!

I will also note that the prices for the games will be put in yen from the Japanese eShop. If you are planning on buying games via the eShop, I recommend buying Japanese yen eShop codes from SeaGM or Play-Asia. Physical imports are available from various import sites, but prices will fluctuate between them.

A screenshot from PriPara All Idol Perfect Stage. An idol rhythm game with a character creation element <3

In any case, I hope you all will look forward to the Import Review series, and I hope you enjoyed this story I had to tell! I wish you all an amazing week ahead!


  1. Great article! Thanks for sharing your experiences in Japan. Very cool indeed!

    I’m definitely looking forward to your reviews. I find myself looking over at play-asia now and then, but haven’t ordered. I find it tough to tell which games are accessible to English speaking players. I know there’s some grey area there (some games maybe having subtitles, or easy to translate menus) but haven’t pulled the trigger on anything I couldn’t get easily here. Being close to NYC has helped with that!

    1. I’ll be sure to do my best to tell which games are accessible or not depending on one’s experience with the language. Many thanks for the compliments~!

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