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Do you understand Japanese?

Started by Palamon July 30th, 2019 8:10 AM
  • 20 replies


Has sent out Pikachu!

Age 22
Seen 4 Hours Ago
Posted 5 Hours Ago
4,956 posts
10.6 Years
We have a lot of animanga/mobile game players here, but I thought it would be fun to ask this question.

Do you understand Japanese w/out English subtitles? Can you read Japanese text? How did you learn it if you understand it? If you don't understand Japanese, do you want to learn it?

I /do/ understand Japanese! Audibly! If I hear Japanese (without subtitles) I can understand it, or understand the context, to an extent. But, I do still need subtitles, just not as much as I used to. I play a lot of Japanese games with audio heavy stories, so nowadays, I can understand a lot more Japanese than I used to!

….Can I read Japanese though? Not enough, no. I can read a /tiny/ bit, but I'm still learning. I can read small words like hello, are you okay? Good morning, names, and etc, of course.
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...blasting off again!

Age 32
Vermillion City
Seen 9 Hours Ago
Posted 10 Hours Ago
4,646 posts
15.8 Years
I can understand Japanese if it's written in Romaji as I don't remember much from when I took Japanese 10 years ago. Although I work for a Japanese company and everything is in Japanese with all the games we get.
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Overanalyzing Pokemon for 20 years

Seen 15 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Day Ago
538 posts
61 Days
I've been studying Japanese in my free time for a couple years now, I can read hiragana and katakana and know I think a couple thousand words with their respective kanji... listening and speaking are far behind though. I can understand common short sentences with no problems but as soon as the sentence become a little more complicated I just can't keep up with what they say fast enough, even if the subtitles tell me what they should be saying.
It still feels good to understand stuff here and there and catching little nuances that the translation can't quite portray, and I'm slowly playing through a game in japanese which feels of course amazing.

I'm learning it by self studying using mostly internet resources as guides for grammar and a couple books.


Laverre City
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 3 Hours Ago
8,912 posts
8.3 Years
I wish. I only know what nani means because of the meme.
^this, lmao.

I've picked up small phrases that I can recognize now but honestly learning Japanese from anime just seems like a poor way to go about language training. I personally have no interest in learning but I'm not above tossing out a baka every now and again.


Age 23
Seen 2 Hours Ago
Posted 2 Hours Ago
20,237 posts
7.4 Years
Nope lmao
Only reasons I watch sub over dub are a general preference for VA quality and censorship concerns.


Age 28
'cause it get cold like Minnesota
Seen 14 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Day Ago
22,363 posts
14.5 Years
I know assorted small phrases in verbal Japanese or Romaji, but outside of that I basically know nothing.


eepz, come help pwease!

Age 33
Seattle, WA
Seen 12 Hours Ago
Posted 2 Weeks Ago
2,581 posts
7.3 Years
I'm able to read Hiragana and Katakana without much aid
I know about 50 or 60 Kanji from memory

I know some basic Japanese to at least get someone to get me aid in either English or Spanish
or probably order something at a restaurant
I don't know much of the language after that
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Seen 46 Minutes Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
26,863 posts
12.9 Years
I can understand to an extent when listening, and enough to translate certain bits of dialogue, but that's it. Have always wanted to learn it (as well as other languages) but I just don't have the immersion to retain a new language so I'd just end up forgetting it. :catsad:
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I'm trying to find my berries!

Age 21
South Carolina
Seen 4 Days Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
1,006 posts
246 Days
Writing wise not at all but when it comes to listening, I've listened to enough anime and other Japanese media that I've learned a few words and phrases that when I hear them I know what's going on. I'd love to study and become fluent in the future though.


space adventure

Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
32,971 posts
11.8 Years
Nope! I recognize and can almost use some common anime lines lol, but that's about it. I can't read it at all, it's too different for me to remember what the signs sound like.
Seen 1 Day Ago
Posted 1 Day Ago
74 posts
59 Days
I know everyday phrases and lines that keep popping up in anime all the time + a bunch of random words. When it comes to grammar I know the very basics and can recognize stuff like negations, relations etc.
I could technically read it all as I know both katakana and hiragana, if hiragana is written above the kanji (like on Pokemon cards, which is my main method of practicing my reading atm), that is. I know only grade 1 kanji by themselves, kanji for colors and kanji that pops up on Pokemon cards such as kanji for "opponent", "card", etc. Most of the time there is no hiragana, however. Not that it matters because I most likely will have no clue what the meaning is.


Age 30
Seen 1 Day Ago
Posted 2 Days Ago
31,881 posts
16.8 Years
Yes. I'm better at reading than listening (and certainly speaking). I can read manga just fine, some novels (although it can be slow going if I'm not super into the content), and although I don't really watch anime anymore, I don't need subtitles unless it's something with complex themes or vocabulary. (And if I have Japanese closed captioning, I can watch stuff more complex.) I've plateaued after passing N2, since I'm too lazy to study intensely for N1 and for casual purposes, don't really need anything more advanced.

I mostly use it to play games, lol. I started taking classes in high school because weeb and then when I fell out of that phase, I kept up with it solely to play Kingdom Hearts games. Then it turned out to be useful for other JRPGs and that's the bulk of what I use it for now—playing games and translating side material related to those games, lol. I'd love to actually do Japanese-to-English localization for a career but having done some freelance translation work over the last few months, I wonder if I'd get burnt out too quickly, so I haven't pursued it all that seriously.

Starry Windy

Everything will be Daijoubu.

Liberty Garden
Seen 2 Hours Ago
Posted 3 Days Ago
9,181 posts
6.8 Years
I think I'll slowly but surely understand Japanese as time goes on. Watching anime for years does have that kind of effect, ahaha.


Seen 40 Minutes Ago
Posted 40 Minutes Ago
2,955 posts
5.1 Years
hell no. but i hope i can. i understand bits and pieces since I usually watch anime. but that's just the common phrases. i always feel proud when I can predict what japanese word a character would say haha


Age 21
The Land Down Under
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 2 Days Ago
568 posts
4.1 Years
There's some words that I can almost instantly recognise due to my time dabbling with Japanese-exclusive TCG Fire Emblem Cipher (I can pretty much recognise "Fire Emblem" and a few names right off the bat). I also play FGO on JP and while I really only know my way around that due to the fact that I also play in English on NA (so I know what menu buttons and skills in general do), it has helped me be able to recognise some words like "Day", "Turn", "Enhance", etc.

I also have the 'ability' to pick out "ara ara" in speech no matter how discreet it is.



Age 26
Dublin, Ireland
Seen 1 Day Ago
Posted 5 Days Ago
6 posts
7.2 Years
はい !

"Fluent" would not be what I would use to describe my skill level, however my friends from Japan disagree. I would say "intermediate" level would be the best way to describe my ability to speak Japanese. I've been to Tokyo three times in the last 12 months - and the most recent trip in June, I left my English at home.

As for reading & writing? I know all of the Hiragana & Katakana characters and the sound each of them make - but I have not yet reached the point of being able to read words by sight memory. I still have to slowly put together each word phonetically syllable by syllable, then read back the entire word to myself. It means reading just one sentence could take me several minutes - but I'm slowly getting better. I don't know much Kanji, maybe only 15-20 in total.

Side note: bar some help from my native speaking friends via phone calls or video hang outs, I have had no formal or professional teaching or lessons. I've studied and learnt what I know by myself. It's near-impossible and and I've picked up some bad habits along the way, but I'm doing my best with the resources available to me. I hope to one day have time to take professional lessons and be able to sit the JLPT exams.

2019 was the year that I finally turned off English subtitles for good when watching anime. It was a super proud moment :)
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