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  • One of the most difficult languages in the world to learn is Japanese. And when you've

  • been exposed to English all your life, learning three new alphabet families and a totally

  • alien sentence structure as compared to any Western method is like climbing Mount Fuji

  • itself. Still, giving it a go in this day and age puts you ahead of most, and the more

  • you work at it, the sooner you'll be demonstrating your knowledge to your astonished friends

  • who have nothing but thoughts of sashimi and Akihabara district dancing in their heads.

  • When Ubisoft and Sensory Sweep Studios decided they'd make the Japanese language a target

  • in their My Coach series, which had already touched on French, Spanish and Chinese, DS

  • owners around the USA like myself were licking their chops at the prospect of being able

  • to read all the grab bag manga I've been storing up. This is My Japanese Coach for the Nintendo

  • DS, a digital boot camp for otaku and weeaboos everywhere! Promising players they can learn

  • Japanese in as little as 15 minutes a day, My Japanese Coach will drill you with minigames

  • after you've reviewed a lesson, starting with the most basic hiragana, the phonetic Japanese

  • alphabet, all the way up to various kanji characters that represent words. Lesson maps

  • will take you through various locations in Japan, starting with the greatest tourist

  • destination of all, Tokyo, and its surrounding areas. Mini games consist of drills like Write

  • Cards which will train you in the way that you write characters, very important in Japanese

  • written language. The developers were keen to the use of the stylus, and it’s this

  • game that I use it more than any other game I've played on the DS. Other minigames like

  • Hit a Word are a version of Whack a Mole that will train you in how quickly you recognize

  • a word. After you complete training in romaji words, you'll move on to hiragana, katakana,

  • and eventually kanji. If you're eager for more knowledge beyond your current lesson,

  • My Japanese Coach has an entire compendium of Japanese words, their pronunciations, and

  • their characters waiting for you when you access the dictionary, where you can practice

  • each word by reading, writing, and even speaking it into the DS microphone. Just as with any

  • video game, My Japanese Coach has an overall difficulty on a learning curve, and my instinct

  • tells me that if you've only been speaking one language your whole life, chances are

  • it will make learning a language entirely unlike English that much more difficult. But

  • with enough hard work and practice, the words and characters will eventually stick, and

  • with learning, my friends, comes confidence. Buyer beware - My Japanese coach should be

  • thought of less as a video game and more as a learning utility. Use it as such and you

  • might learn something. Soon you'll be deciphering those imported Famicom games like a boss,

  • and let's face it, you'll have it easier than teenagers in Japan currently going through

  • exam hell. Ganbatte!

One of the most difficult languages in the world to learn is Japanese. And when you've

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