As fans might recall, I am a big fan of the game Final Fantasy XIII1, and lately I’ve been playing the sequels XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. I’ve enjoyed these games, and the story, so much that decided to purchase the novel. Actually there are a few novels available, but all of them are in Japanese-language only:
- Final Fantasy XIII Episode 0 -Promise- a kind of prequel to the original game.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2: Fragments Before – a prequel to the second game (XIII-2), but also explains some things that happen after the first game.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2: Fragments After – as the name implies, this comes after XIII-2 and helps explain certain events.
I bought all three, but only the last two are in stock,2 so I’ve begun reading Fragments Before.
The reading-level is a stretch, for me, but not nearly as difficult as trying to read Dune in Japanese. That was much harder. Already, I’ve enjoyed the book quite a bit and have finished one of the ministories. I don’t read fast, but I can read at a decent pace. Also, I sometimes have to go back a few pages and re-read because I understand the words, but have trouble grasping the overall meaning the first time. This happens with manga too sometimes, but novels are harder than manga. It doesn’t really bother me though, because I really want to know what goes on, and want to know the details of the characters and the world they live in, so I don’t re-read because I have to, but because want to.
It turns out that if you want to read in a foreign-language, you have to find something you’re genuinely interested in. I have English-language novels that I don’t finish because they’re not very interesting, and this is even more true in Japanese. I just can’t finish books that don’t interest me. Or if I finish them, I don’t remember much. So, now that I found something I really like and want to finish, suddenly I find it takes less effort to read. ;)
A good tip for language students out there: find something in your target language you really like and just focus on that. The rest will fall into place.
2 Once Episode 0 is in stock, they’ll ship it out, of course. I can wait. I can’t read that fast. ;)