Hello everyone!

I thought it would be nice, from time to time, answering on my blog your questions about games, Japan or learning Japanese: if I answer them here, instead of just replying on Facebook, it may be useful to other people who have the same curiosity.

This is my first ASK, but I plan to do it every month, or every two months, depending on the amount if questions I receive.

Thank you for submitting your questions, let’s start!

  • Where is the best place to buy merch? 

Buying merch on internet may be painful, that’s why I bought mine when I went to Japan!

Importing is hella expensive, you’d end up paying like 3 times the price…. sadly.

I usually buy everything on Yes Asia, I trust them because they’ve never lost a package even if I live on the other side of the word.

Amiami should be good too, many of my friends buy there.

Amazon jpn also has good prices!

  • In learning Japanese to play otome games, what did you find the most challenging, and in doing so, what do you wish you would have done or a resource you found later that you wished you had used earlier?

The most challenging part is the different levels of language, which depends on the game or the characters, and it’s completely different from what you find on textbooks.

Textbooks usually focus more on the “polite form”, the -masu one, but it’s rarely used on informal conversations which happen in most of the games.

An example you probably know: Diabolik Lovers.

Ayato and Subaru speak using a very rude, basic and masculine tone, which doesn’t even exist on textbooks; no one would talk like that in real life, without being considered aggressive.

Kanato’s and Reiji’s level is higher and very polite, even too much: the -nasai form is the one teachers use, or mothers, or people who consider themselves in a higher position. It’s rude in a normal conversation.

Also, Reiji’s way of speaking implies more difficult kanji.

The most challenging is Carla, because he basically speaks like an ancient king.

I don’t know how to explain it properly, you’ll find out on your own, but it’s really hard and I always need to look up for kanj!

So, my advice is: study the grammar, but don’t expect to find what you’ve studied in otome games.

You’ll learn the different levels and forms while you play and everything will sound normal very soon!

In this process, a very useful app I discovered an year later is Google translate.

It’s awful for long sentences, but it’s actually helpful if you have to look up for a single kanji: you just take a picture and it will tell you the meaning, without having to look up on the dictionary every time.

Also, my dictionary is really thin and doesn’t contain ancient or rare words, so it would be useless.

Obviously, you can rely on it when you already grasp the general meaning of the sentence.

I hope my advice helped you a bit!

  • I want to ask something relating to Kanji dictionary. I know to understand Otome Game you have to get used with Kanji. What’s kind type of book or dictionary that you need to increase your comprehension on Kanji.

When I first started, I just bought a thin dictionary (about 10000 words), I brought it with me everywhere and I kept reading it again and again; I’m not even kidding, I just opened it wherever I went, like when I was waiting for my train at the station!

At the same time, I was already playing easy games, so I was pretty confident with hiragana.

I slowly started to recognize easy kanji, the most common ones, and they soon became very normal to me. When I needed something more, I bought a book of “joyo kanji”, which are the most important kanji which were chosen by the Japanese government as the ones you NEED to know to read at least basic texts.

I already knew most of them, but it’s useful if you find a book which helps you to memorize them with some tricks; there are many books which explain why a world has been given a certain kanji to represent it.

Kanji may look scary, but don’t worry: if you keep playing games, you’ll memorize them without effort!

  • Which is the most popular otome game right now in japan?? And also which one was the most popular of all time?

I’ve been in Japan in September and all I’ve seen everywhere were mobage such as A3!, Senbura, Touken ranbu (there was even a whole shop dedicated to the swords); for console games, Diabolik Lovers and Utapri are always the most popular. It surprised me to see no one cared about Code Realize, even if the anime was about to start soon.

I think the most popular of all time is Hakuouki, but Utapri is huge for sure!

  • Since i am learning japanese, too: how do you learn Kanji? And i am curious about how popular otome games are in Japan or elsewhere

As I answered in a previous question, I kept reading my basic dictionary everywhere! I think I read it all at least 10 times, probably more. Then I bought a book of “joyo kanji”, which are the most important ones.

But since some otome games may have difficult kanji (depending on the setting or the plot) or old kanji (historical ones), I obviously keep studying!

Every time I see a kanji I don’t know, I look for the meaning and try to memorize it.

Playing games is really useful to memorize, so I always suggest to try playing even if your level is not good enough: at first you don’t understand completely, but step by step you’ll find yourself understanding more.

People say otome games are a niche market and that’s obviously true in the west; but Japan is different, I disagree with those who don’t admit it’s a huge market.

When I was there, I saw literally in every gaming store a whole shelf dedicated to otome games; not only in “female oriented” stores like Animate or Kbooks in Ikebukuro, but also in Akihabara (in Traders and Book off).

I could buy otoge literally everywhere and mobage characters were hugely popular (I saw Senbura characters covering the walls in a train station).

Mobage are probably taking over console games, but the market is far away from dying!



This ends my first ASK, see you soon with another one!

Don’t be shy, you can ask me whatever you want!