How to Read Japanese Visual Novels with a Mouseover Dictionary



when you first start reading Japanese it's going to be unbelievably incomprehensibly incredibly difficult it's going to be so hard that you wonder why you're trying to do it but all I can say is that if you keep on putting in the effort and you put up enough practice the way that you should then it gets easier it's really really really hard it's really hard but it gets easier okay couple ground rules number one and no machine translation it will really really hold it back your Japanese number two no parsers or Hootie gon inserters or anything like that those are kind of bad for you they're not the end of the world and they won't keep you from learning Japanese but if you depend on them then you're not actually going to be able to internalize Japanese the way that you should number three actually read if you put off reading or you just read like a couple hours a week then you're never actually going to get good at reading Japanese one last really minor note a lot of the tools that we're going to discuss are maintained by volunteers and have random quality problems like every free Japanese to English dictionary that I know of uses JM dict which is maintained by volunteers and some of them do not have good functional grasps on Japanese and for another example most mouse-over dictionaries have some kind of conjugation problem some kind of problem with seeing conjugations properly for example mine it doesn't decon juh gait the very common irregular verb zhù do at all so just a couple of warnings that you're going to have to use your head whenever you run into anything confusing because it's not always your fault so before you can start reading Japanese you need to build some foundations first basically you need to know the hiragana and katakana which are the phonetic part of the writing system of Japanese and you also need to learn basic grammar and you also need some basic vocabulary so the vocabulary I'm talking about by the way is like a couple hundred words I'm asking you to go out and memorize 10,000 flashcards that would be very unreasonable so first of all you need to learn the hiragana and katakana most people that I know either use flashcards or they wrote them down on paper a lot or they used a drill tool like this I'm recommending this drill tool I have a link to it in the description a second you need to learn basic grammar most people that I know read take him as grammar guide do not read the complete guide read the grammar guides complete guide is unfinished and it's harder to read so most people that I know would recommend trying to finish take him before you start reading because everything in it is very basic including almost everything in the advanced topics section but if you start reading somewhere in the middle of central grammar and you're not having any trouble with reading then that's perfectly fine so that's grammar and then you need to know some basic vocab take'em happens to have a bunch of vocab lists you don't want to try to specifically memorize any of the vocab lists in take him but while reading taken you're probably going to naturally pick up about a hundred or 200 words and that should be enough of a basis for the absolute bare minimum that you need to be able to read at all but if that's not enough for you then you can go out and memorize a couple of words from frequency lists but you don't have to you want to start reading as soon as you're actually capable of reading you don't want to stall reading until after you've memorized six thousand or ten thousand words because you're going to become able to read a lot earlier than that if you try reading on a regular basis so I'm actually linking to a single page version of Tai Kim in the description that's easier to search through because you can just ctrl F and type stuff in like here I have nihongo in the search bar and I just hit nihongo and it shows me everywhere that it uses nihongo in the entire guide because it's taking itself is split up into multiple pages so that's the Foundation's out of the way so for actually reading you need a tool called Tech's tractor this is the most modern and currently updated text hooker if you go to the releases link here and you click on this link here then you get the English version which is the normal version and then you get an archive that contains it in a folder in that archive and you just extract this folder somewhere and then you open it up and you run texture Exe I happen to have it extracted already it's right here and one of the things about Tech's tractor is that it comes with a machine translation plugin you do not want to use this it is enabled by default for some stupid reason to delete it you just select it in the extensions list which you open by pressing this button and then you press delete another thing is the remove repetition plug-in is necessary for some games but you don't want to use it if the game doesn't need it because it can remove text that's actually part of what you want to read some game is duplicate every single character in the text one at a time when they get text hooks and the remove repetition plug-in is meant for filtering out the duplicate characters in games that look badly like that but you don't want it if it doesn't need it so now I'm going to start the demo this is basically unscripted but basically you want to open up your clipboard grabber in your browser oh sorry about this it's a modern Firefox bug with Windows classic theming so you open up this and you open up the e-text hooker you have a clipboard grabber txt hooker and then you open up your game you attach the text hooker to the game and then you start the game so this game the first line of text doesn't hook properly because it's in the middle of the screen and it's not a normal text box that's pretty common sometimes stuff just isn't gonna text took and if you need the text book to be able to read stuff then you're just going to have to find a way to either ignore it or draw it into Google Translate to get it as characters or something oh right don't use machine translation for anything other than maybe character recognition because it's going to have a lot problems so here we see that the text did not actually get copied to the clipboard and that's because I don't have the right hooking threat selected usually the hook that you want is the one on the bottom but if it's not then you can go through them with the arrow keys either with it down or with it up so here you can see that this one has a bunch of duplicate characters that's what it would look like if it was hooking into a game that didn't support if it's hooking into a game that required the remove repetition plug-in it would look something like this but we don't need it because one of these hooks doesn't have that problem so we can just copy that's a clipboard by selecting it and this copy to clipboard extension makes it so that whenever anything is added here then it automatically gets copied so we don't have to keep on selecting it so now I'm going to open up the mouse over dictionary or enable it rather and now I can I'm going to resize this so it doesn't overlap so now we can see that as I mouse over stuff it IFS me the readings and the definitions so this is the topic particle wha and it just so happens that my dictionary happens to list the entry for the topic particle all of the way down here on the fourth entry instead of at the top where it should be so that's a problem and every mouse over dictionary is going to have weird definition ordering like this so you're just going to have to scroll through the definitions usually you can just lift up your mouse and use the scroll wheel but sometimes you have to do something else it depends on the mouse over dictionary and what the clipboard grabbing page is like so we can see here this would have been reduced to this by the remove repetition plug-in but it's actually the repetition is emphasizing how constants the thing that is being described was so it's not just eat some old night paper it's eat some elite Symone tonight they thought so you see here it's I have this is upside down by the way if I go into the backlog then it shows them from top down but the Clipper grabber here shows them bottom up mine has this configurable but usually you just have to deal with whatever your clipboard grabber decides to insert things as so ogumo Emoto not emu sheet there so my little sister was a crybaby or is a crybaby or whatever but then we go to the next line and we can see oh it's past tense so it must have been was a crybaby and as you keep reading then you're going to run into things that you have to look up in order to understand things like even if you're how do I put this even if you have a good foundation for what for how Japanese is structured there's still going to be a lot of times when you have to look stuff up and that's what the mouse-over dictionary is for it's so that you don't have to manually copy things and then go to some website like Jeju org and paste them in but sometimes you still want to do that so this flashback is about the protagonist being injured like dying injured and his little sister crying on him and I'm skipping forward so that I can get to this word right here this so this word says revolving Lantern in the dictionary but I have no idea what that is like what does a lantern have to do with that flashback that just happened that's right you're gonna have to look stuff up on your own outside of the mouse-over dictionary so if you take this word and you plug it into Google then all of the results that you get are either going to be Chinese or Japanese and because you're a beginner you can't read any of this without severe severe effort so first of all you can go to images and see oh it's this particular thing that I happen to know what it looks like already but I don't know what kind of significance that has in Japanese culture or why it would be being named in this situation so what's up with that in recent years this soul motto has become associated with the life flashing before your eyes phenomenon that happens before death so basically the protagonist is saying oh so you really do see your life flash before your eyes when you die I've read this prologue like 20 times because this is like the 20th time that I've tried to record this demo because I'm so bad at it yeah this is a name and you are not going to find a name like this in the dictionary so if I go into the options some visual novels have character names in romaji in the options but this one doesn't so I have to bring it to Google instead that's not what I wanted to search it replaced my clipboard on me because that's what the clipboard grabber does so you're gonna be annoyed by that and none of these are what I want so I'm going to type in the NDB I take that wrong and this is her she AHA fit so sometimes you have to worry about the NDB giving you spoilers but if you set it's a hide spoilers then you don't have to worry about it the default is configurable in your accounts if you haven't accounts so that's one way of looking up name readings if you don't have a way of finding them in game sometimes game is use hoodie gah notice two marked names when they first appear or they put the reading in parentheses but that doesn't always happen and sometimes you have to look things up so basically this is all that I think I had to show you about how to use mouse over dictionaries and text cookers and stuff so just remember that you're always going to have a hard time time reading until you read for another and it's going to be really really really hard but it gets easier as long as you keep reading so somehow you've watched this entire video I have no idea why you would do that instead of just skipping through it but good job description has a list of resources and other useful advice that I haven't listed here and what else was there oh right the comments will probably correct me because I'm sure that there's a bunch of that I got wrong this is basically the only kind of situation where it's good to read the YouTube comments so go ahead and do it and what else it's really really really hard it's so hard but it gets easier you won't believe me when I say it but it really really gets easier

10 thoughts on “How to Read Japanese Visual Novels with a Mouseover Dictionary

  1. If you can't learn to read moonrunes dekinai-chan is gonna laugh at you

  2. Great video man, thanks! I'm currently studying using genki to have a good base, already doing the second book, and I plan to as soon as I finish it I'll go deep into studying using only visual novels, so very helpful content.

  3. Is it wrong that I love your voice? Useful guide btw! I've been delaying reading but now I should really do it.

  4. No idea why this is top in recommendations,but im glad it is.

  5. Sometimes i happen to see videos like this one. High quality content that deserves way way more attention. You did a really good job in my opinion. Btw huge thanks for links.

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