It felt like the first six months of the year were well paced. I was getting a fair amount of work done, writing articles, studying interpreting and Japanese…… Then July happened.

But let’s not jump ahead of ourselves.

Year in Statistics

This year I have…

…had 60 hours of interpreting classes at Bellevue College.
31 hours of Japanese lessons with italki.com.
105 hours of Japanese lessons in Kyoto, Japan.

…translated 14 manga, 2 light novels, 1 movie, and 4 websites (one of which probably now covers over 200,000 characters of translation.)

…recorded 17 podcasts (5 of which really need editing and uploading but I keep running out of time……)

…live translated 10 hours of a Japanese game for a friend’s Youtube channel.

…been to 7 conventions where I interpreted at 2 of them, and ran 5 panels at 3 of them.

…made so many new translator friends in the community! Including joining a whole bunch of discords.

…shut down Japanese Talk Online after 3 years of writing Japanese articles.

…drove to the middle of California from Seattle…twice.

…AND went to the dentists from January to November, losing a 1/3 of my savings to fixing my teeth. (Never put off going for a check up for 4 years…)

Oh, and I quit freelance translation because got an in-house localization position and moved to Japan.

January to June

As I mentioned, the start of 2018 was steady. There were a few weeks where there was no work and I thought I was going to go crazy, but things soon kicked off and I was getting steady work.

The thing that mostly kept me and my spouse afloat this year was website translation. I love manga translation but it really didn’t pay the bills as well as websites.

The most exciting thing for me at the start of the year were my interpreting classes. 2017 saw mostly the English language-based foundation courses that I needed to complete before starting the meaty Japanese-English lessons. (Classes were 3 hours in the evening once a week for 10 weeks per term.)

I was then able to use the skills I’d learnt in class to interpret for Ryo Horikawa (voice of Vegita from Dragon Ball) and Hiroki Kikuta (composer of Secret of Mana and Inivisble). Both absolutely incredible experiences.

The start of the year also saw the most productive time for recording and editing podcasts. This was something I had started with my friends at the end on 2017. We each have our own podcasts under the banner of Anibros Creative where we manage our own by do cross-overs now and then on others.

My spouse and I started Recommendations for my Otaku Spouse (or “Otafu Susume” for short). I love doing it, but hate editing. Well, not really hate, more like it gets bumped down the to-do list very quickly. (I would like to have a more regular schedule next year…)

Sadly recording and editing went completely out of the window when July hit…

The Storm That Was July-Onward

A number of separate events came to a head in July.

  1. Earlier in May/June I had interviewed for a company who wanted me to do a second interview in their office in LA.
  2. New translator friends invited me to Anime Expo in July.
  3. My family had been planning a 2 week trip to California for over two years.
  4. July was summer vacation from interpreting class, I wanted to improve my Japanese speaking so signed up for 6 weeks of classes at a language school at the end of July.

This meant I flew to LA for Anime Expo, but went straight for my interview when I landed. Then it was Expo weekend. Then I met my family in LA (they flew from the UK and Vietnam) and we drove up to my spouse’s family home. Had an intensive two weeks juggling family and freelance translation work. Drive back to Seattle. Then two days later flew out to Japan!

I was at home for maybe 5 days in the whole of July, then was in Japan until mid-September. (So was actually only home for 5 days out of a total of 12 weeks…)

This then knocked onto getting a call back for the third interview with the company in Japan. This worked out great because I was already going to be in Kyoto for 6 weeks. I went down to the interview the first week I was there.

But I also don’t know how to say no, and was incredibly stressed trying to juggle more work and Japanese classes! Really not getting as much study in as I’d hoped, but the money was needed to pay for the trip. Beggers can’t be losers.

My trip to Kyoto ended with a typhoon knocking out the international airport and extending my stay to 7 weeks.

I was also offered the job! Which I accepted of course.
But this meant my return to the US in mid-September was spent finishing dentistry work, visa application, sorting and packing.

Too-Long-Didn’t-Read: I Moved to Japan

I moved to Japan from Seattle on October 30th, arriving on Halloween to be greeted by my new co-workers in Harry Potter costumes.

I really love the work, although the long hours are tiring. But my coworkers make it wonderful!

End of Year / New Year Goals

As the year draws to an end I’m actually really proud of how much I got done this year!

I was able to make stronger friendships and new ones, and got a lot more translation and interpretation done than I’d thought!

But I do feel like I didn’t study Japanese enough, especially from July onward. My goal had been to learn all the N1 kanji, but I only managed to get 20% of them and their vocabulary covered.

I had also wanted to take the N1 this December but the craziness of the move meant it just wasn’t viable.

I’d like to spend the end of the year catching up on video games, books and Japanese study.

Here’s to an exciting unknown 2019!

2018 – A Year in Review of Japanese Language and Translation