For Cardcaptor Sakura, I’ve decided to do something different than the standard episode commentary. One reason is because I’ve already seen the episodes, and know everything happening in them. This is also why I’ve chosen to handle Princess Tutu episodes as a reference of music used in each episode. As mush as I would love to do analysis on an episode-by-episode basis there, my having seen the whole series would lend better to a (perhaps multi-part) full seires analysis.
But this post isn’t about Princess Tutu, this is about Cardcaptor Sakura.
I haven’t gotten very far with my Japanese grammar posts, and my studies are lacking because of it. Since I do spaced-repetition vocabulary review using the cross-platform Anki software, once I’ve learned a word, it shows up less and less. Once I comfortably learn all the words I’m studying, my reviews are down to one to five words each week. I need more than that! Unfortunately, my quest to pick up more words watching two series of Ojamajo Doremi didn’t work out very well. I did pick up new words to be sure, yes, but not many. Not even one per episode. Now that’s just sad. Watching without subtitles forced me to pay attention to the words, but that was split between also paying more attention to the animation. It’s amazing how much subtitles can distract, even if you’re a seasoned subtitles reader. Sometimes you don’t even notice it until you’re watching a well done dub.
No, this post isn’t about any Cardcaptor Sakura dub, thank goodness. I plan to work my way through 70 episodes (and maybe two movies) of pure Japanese, no English subtitles Cardcaptor Sakura.
“Subtitles” is not a bad word when it comes to learning new Japanese words. It allows you to see which words are being used, so you can re-watch a scene, and listen carefully. If a word isn’t spoken clearly, you can look up the English subtitle in a translation dictionary and find the Japanese versions, then use this to more clearly understand the word as spoken. If you don’t know what’s being said, it can be more tricky to pick up on what characters are saying when it comes to words you don’t know. You instead have to pick up on rules of grammar, such as English words ending in the “-ing” sound being one form of verb.
I think the reason I failed to pick up many wods from 100 episodes of Ojamajo Doremi is because I didn’t have any expectation to pick up words. I think I walked away from those 100 episodes with less than 20 new verbs learned, a bad showing indeed. With Cardcaptor Sakura, it’ll be in the context of “Let’s see how many words I can recognize, and how many new ones I can pick up.” Anyone reading the posts can pick up new words and recognize old words from their own learning, giving me an extra incentive to continue. I have to “do it now” if I want to increase my vocabulary. Obviously reading a list of words isn’t going to be enough for me. I need visual mnemonics.
Rather than watching an episode through, then trying to pick out words, or remember what I heard, I expect I’ll use a “stop and go” method. When I hear something I want to include in the post, I’ll stop, take a screenshot or three to visually show where the scene is, re-watching the scene as many times as necessary to type out the dialogue and its translation (including refering to my Nintendo DS and a Japanese dictionary with English words if need be for new-to-me words), typing out any related translation commentary, then continuing on watching. I can easily do this as I’ve already seen the series, so it won’t be jarring or holding me back from enjoying the series. The only issue I’ll have is a complete and utter lack of Japanese subtitles.
Before posting something for the first episode, I decided to try translating Cardcaptor Sakura‘s opening theme song, Catch You Catch Me. This didn’t go as well as I’d hoped for me, but I’ve always had trouble with song lyrics. I’ll still post it (across multiple posts, about one a day) before posting on the episodes.
Past posts of mine have shown scenes from an anime series with a transcription and translation of the dialogue in the scene. These work for me because I’m able to put the words into the context of a scene and the characters involved.
Whereas I’ve previously put kana and romaji side-by-side on similair posts, I’ve decided to drop the romaji for this series of posts. Others may use these posts as a learning aide, and anyone planning on learning Japanese needs to be able to read kana. Having romaji is only a crutch, and a harmful one at that.
The same can be said about kanji, but my kanji knowledge is limited. I’ll try to add in a kanji here and there, but I may make mistakes.
I’ve decided to put all names in kana, rather than romaji, when using the name in an English sentence (excepting full-sentence translations). For someone struggling to learn kana, this would make for a nice amount of repetition of letters, a good way to become familiar with them. For someone who already knows kana, this can help with speed of word recognition.
I’ll also openly welcome transcriptions of scenes from an episode in that episode post’s comments, which I could add to the post. I’m sure there are many, many, many out there with better Japanese understanding than I have.
This is not a fansub project. This is not an attempt to do a full series fan translation of Cardcaptor Sakura. This is a learning experiment.
(By the way, whoever said Tomoyo is subtle about things obviously never asked her to break a wall of text.)