One day, I woke up, and decided I would work on organizing some of my music backlog. This somehow devolved into almost an entire day of both studying Japanese, and playing Pokemon FireRed...in Japanese. Care to join me on a stupid adventure ?
My only theory of what sparked this was a new Johnstone video that reminded me Pokemon existed. I've always had an odd...thing against emulating it, only playing on real hardware, everything legit...this run would be me breaking out of it, not caring anymore, and enjoying the story that unfolds, playing as nonstandard to my typical style as I could, and only looking things up for translations, not guides and maps. I would have to heavily rely on my intuition and memory of playing LeafGreen in the past to carry me. Battle Style set, not shift too.
I always had a stigma against learning Japanese, it's such a reflexive language cringey people go to...but, as I would come to learn, I was being naïve as fuck, and it's the most fascinating and unique language I'd ever dive into, one that plays a lot off my love for memory techniques and patchwork intricacies in something most would assume is simple. Plus, my greatest game I love, Tetris, has a larger community in Japanese than English. Dabbling in it became a go-to like an addiction, and I knew I hadn't even scratched the surface, merely memorized parts of how it looked.
Plus the reason for learning Japanese being Tetris and not anime just sounds like an amazing conversation point
Was this a good idea ? Didn't know or care, but I only started writing this out as an idea when I hit Mt. Moon, so screenshots are going to be limited until then. I picked Charmander (ヒトカゲ), nature Naïve (むじゃき), decided not to reset for anything. For the record, I never choose charmander, it always seemed like the stereotypical "cool" option, and I avoided it. Poetic I'd do it here. He was specifically named テキ as a callback to a conversation I had recently about what I'd name a borzoi, being inspired to name it after a Tetris opener because of the borzoi literally called Tetris, hence te-ki, a butchered Western reference to TKI, a Japanese opener. Things only I'm going to understand I swear...
This created a feedback loop where I kept swapping between Pokémon, and renshuu, to try and get the rest of the main characters down, and to look up the occasional word. This was a very very fun feedback loop that made me absolutely cram knowledge into me while actually having fun. I'm a massive sucker for gameified learning, though Duolingo can have a rusty pole shoved up it's source code, as I don't do well with strict daily schedules due to a sleep disorder.
Normally the way I play is to blast through the game with one Pokémon to just reach the end, but I wanted to savor this, build out a full team. The first one was Pikachu (ピカチュウ) which I renamed to をり with no real care about grammar or if it was a word. I wanted to use を, and a pikachu that worri(es) is funny to me. Should it have been katakana, not hiragana ? Didn't care, was having fun and feeling comfortable.
Eventually I realized, whoops, my name isn't written write and I can't change it, so instead of シンシヤ (Cynthia), it was シンツヤ. It sounded funny and I liked it, so it didn't stress me, it'll make this game unique.
If Team Rocket was stupid enough to get in the way of my silly Japanese adventure, I was gonna wring them for all they're worth. I threw the poor magikarp bought before Mt. Moon into my party, and allowed it to faint to the Team Rocket member blocking Nugget Bridge six times, to have a bit of playing around money. Something about this didn't sit right with me though, and I decided to have her tag along as an unofficial third party, at the very least to have some water typing, and an easier time managing HM stuff.
With money in my pocket and a disturbingly high amount of time played for only having one badge due to idling so much while I looked words up and practiced Japanese, I had a feeling this would either burn out quickly, or turn into something incredible.