Tablets: Your easiest way to digest Japanese manga (outside Japan)

I know my last post was on the Ipad 3, and I still believe the Ipad 3 with its retina display will be a great tool for consuming manga. I’m going to write a post about “language homeostasis” and how you can create a cool immersion environment with a tablet.

Anyways back to the main post. What tablets are providing for those who are not in Japan with easy access to manga, is a free, fast and hassle-free way to consume manga. You can download almost any major manga series for free on the internet, thanks to droves of people who spend years and years scanning manga titles (in various langauges) then offering them freely on the internet, you can pretty much read any manga you want in only a few minutes.

What this allows for is a way to consistently digest Japanese in easy increments. I wrote a post on the idea of “extensive reading” which basically means a high volume of exposure to Japanese without focusing heavily on 100% comprehension, but relative comprehension of reading material. So for example, when I read my first Slam Dunk manga, I understood most of what was happening as I read it, and I didn’t really bother to worry if I didn’t completely get a specific grammar pattern. The idea is, if you go through a 200 page manga and understand 85% of it, then you read say, 10 more of these mangas (putting you up to 2000 pages of Japanese exposure) then after reading 30 mangas, there will be grammar points, vocabulary and other things that you will see so often they become embedded in your memory. Tablets are a nice segue into that system because of their portability.

So if you take 10 minutes to read some manga daily, or 30 minutes or whatever, you have a very low-risk, low-stress way to consume the manga you like. I received a Kindle Fire as a gift, and I found the 7-inch screen just barely too small to comfortably read Manga for any length of time. So naturally I was quite biased (and a bit annoyed) by this limitation. It drives me a little mad to have to pinch the screen to enlarge boxes I can’t read, because I feel like i’m slowing down.

BUT, then I remembered when I bravely decided to try and read through Death Note book 1 when I was in Japan (epic fail!) and the manga (like 99% of them in Japan) was a small book (a little smaller than the Kindle fire I think) small to the point where my eyes hurt sometimes when I was reading. So in a sense the Kindle fire isn’t “that bad” because I have an option to enlarge if needs be. I think think an Ipad might be better, but I haven’t thoroughly tested how comfortable/convenient that would be. Either way, we are now in a time when the consumption of Japanese material is quite easy, and readily available.

So your tablet, whatever it is, is your super library of Manga. Also, this is to promote “easy Japanese reading” or “lazy Japanese reading”. Japanese can become quite tiresome if you are trying to cross-translate every single expression. Study time is study time, and then casual reading time, is guilt-free reading time.

A valuable thing to note is that high input = output in any language. Sometimes forced input can be stressful, but at the end of the day, input is necessary. So you need

easy input, focused input and casual input.

Focused is like studying, casual would be like reading manga and easy would be listening to Japanese music in the background for example. There is no escaping this, so if you can make aspects of it easier, then the better for you.

So my eyes still hurt when I read on the Kindle Fire, so i’d either need glasses or a bigger screen to feel like i’m not destroying my eyes while reading. But whatever you can do to get ahead, go for it.

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About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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