Let’s Learn English with Mekakushidan

(pictured: Kagerou Daze [anime: Mekakucity Actors])

(pictured: Kagerou Daze [anime: Mekakucity Actors])

Every now and then I have to make sure we’re all on the same page here. You all know English, right? Well, if you don’t, here is your big chance to learn English with the cast from Kagerou Daze. Everyone’s favorite Vocaloid song-inspired stories about a bunch of kids with special powers. Sometimes they stop terrorists; sometimes they go to the amusement park. Sometimes both on the same day!

And sometimes they teach English. Let’s take a look.

As you can see from the cover, this is all about memorizing English vocabulary. Most of them look happy about it. But what is this?

Kore wa bookmark desu ka? Yes, and it features many chibi Ene faces. (At least five.) You can use this as a bookmark, but it seems sturdy enough that you could also use it to remove a splinter or bee sting.

It’s just the right width for covering the Japanese words.

Most pages in the book look like this. The characters say something in Japanese, and then the book provides an English translation, followed by a few vocabulary words to memorize. If you don’t memorize them all, Mary will cry.

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In case you forgot who is who, here is a character guide. But why is it in Japanese? I thought we were learning English!

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Some of the things the characters say are just everyday things, but most of the time their dialogue is related to the story. They all speak in-character, which makes the book fun.

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I think the entire book is more or less correct when it comes to grammar and spelling (which makes this post less amusing than it could have been), but there are some sentences that sound… a little strange. “This is the breakfast!” makes sense, but I think normally we would say “Breakfast is served!”

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There are a few pages that give you a whole paragraph to read.

Many of the illustrations in this book, by the way, come straight from the light novels.

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Finally, some useful English for teenagers to learn??? Remember: treasure photos and treasure videos.

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This is one of my favorite bits in the book, which is referring to a scene in the second light novel volume. Kido is the no-nonsense leader of the group, and generally acts aloof and level-headed. When they go to a haunted house at the amusement park however, she loses her cool… which the jokester Kano is all-too-happy to point out. Now you can learn the proper response in English, in the event that your friends poke fun at you one time too many.

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More amusement park fun… Every now and then they don’t translate a Japanese word into English, as can be seen in the last sentence.

Also, for whatever reason, they always spell Mary’s name with two r’s. What is up with that?

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Chapter breaks include some artwork. The book is quite stylish in general.

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Be sure to learn this before New Year’s Day hits.

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Another example of a strange-sounding sentence. This sounds like something students in Japan say all the time, actually. “What do you mean?” is much better to say, minna-san. Or “I don’t get it.”

This is my favorite set of dialogue in the book. “Russia again!” I don’t know if I laughed more there, or for “Cola is a symbol of being happy and lucky.” (Which is true, isn’t it?)

And then that expression for the last sentence. Shintaro is at his wit’s end…

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POP QUIZ! In the back of the book, there are a few pages that will test your mettle. But if you pass, you will be more than ready to read a whole light novel in English.

(That’s your ultimate goal, right?)

One response to “Let’s Learn English with Mekakushidan

  1. So actually, I want to answer the why of Japanese in an English book as I’m currently teachign English in Fukushima City, Fukushima, Japan.

    A lot of english studies are done sidealong with translation. Example: I give the english word “more” and the students repeat, then translate the word on a worksheet into the Japanese “motto”. Egg to “tamago”. Chestnut to “kuri”.

    It’s a different way of learning, and while I go between liking the regular association of both languages being equal and also feeling that when you speak a language, you have to think that language: this something I do when I flip from English to Janglish to straight Japanese.

    However, this kind of thing is perfect for my students, all of which are Senior HS. They love pop culture, especially anime, and so hanging with Mekakushidan would be a great vehicle for learning English. I’m gonna to look in my locale Book-OFF or Tsutaya Books and see if I can find this. Who knows: I might boost my Japanese!

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