One Year of Gaming in Japan

It has been one year since I first started gaming in Japan. Despite a friend’s suggestion, I held off on trying to game in Japan because I was afraid my Japanese ability wasn’t enough to actively participate. After a while, and at the prodding of my wife, I decided to give it a shot and am really glad that I did. I’ve made many friends and have been able to continue enjoying a hobby that I love despite being far from my long term gaming group.

Role playing in Japanese has been a hidden method of study— it not only forces me to actively use Japanese at the table, but I am also more motivated to study.

Remembering my first day, I showed up to the character making session for the Out of the Abyss D&D Encounters series. I was still nervous about being able to participate, so I had decided to just go and watch at first. When I expressed my concern, they said that it wouldn’t be a problem and I should make a character. And if there was anything I didn’t understand, feel free to ask and they’d show me the English text of the adventure if need be. As it turned out, that last part wasn’t necessary, but I do occasionally ask questions. I also use a dictionary to look up words I don’t know and add them to my flash cards.

Deciding to keep it simple, my first character was a half-orc barbarian. In addition to the simplicity of the class (as compared to say, a wizard) I joked that any language mistakes could be played off as those of an uncultured barbarian. I became much more comfortable after several sessions and have played a variety of characters. The mechanics are fairly easy to understand due to being well consistent. The role play, though, can be much harder to follow and participate in due to its free-form nature. Like anything, though, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Fearsome Kuo-Toa
Facing down some fearsome Kuo-Toa

Friends have asked me about games and gaming in Japan, so I thought I’d share what I learn and experience here. This blog is primarily an intersection of my interests in analog gaming and Japan, though some posts may sway more one way than the other.

Finally, I’d like to give a big “thank you” to everyone who made my foray into gaming here so enjoyable. Your inclusivity and kindness is deeply appreciated. I’m looking forward to another year full of adventure with all of you.

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