The Fuuraiki Journey: Learning the language [1]
Fuuraiki cover


Sometimes you encounter a game that gets your whole attention. It can be due to the aesthetic of it, the music, the gameplay, the story, etc. Whatever it may be it stays in your mind, it haunts you, you need to discover its secrets. You need you know if what you are looking for is in there.

And sometimes you can't play de game due to not having the system it is for, you don't play that kind of game or, in this case, the game is in another language.

風雨来記 (Fuuraiki) is one of those games for me. Since the first time I learned about this saga of visual novels about a reporter traveling on certain locations of Japan in not only a journalism manner but also as a self discovery trip it has stayed in my mind for over a couple years. Locked in there in this language I could not understand and I could only imagine what it was going on as this guy when on his bike around Japan taking pictures and meeting girls (yes it is a galge). And everytime I learned something extra about the game (theres little to no info on it in english) I discovered a part of the game that makes me more obsessed with it.

  • All the girls in the game are 18+ yo
  • You move around the locations in a street view kind of gameplay
  • All the backgrounds are real pictures with the anime people on top
  • Theres a route where you avoid all the girls and learn more about yourself
  • This does not have happy endings

So this is me, on a journey to discover this game first hand, with a language I know the bare basics of and a dictionary app on hand. Translating word to word what I encounter to make those words into cohesive dialogue. So as I write about what encounter of this game, some of it will be wrong due to the limits of my understanding of japanese. But I started learning japanese in order to be able to play this game, and even if this 10-30 hrs game takes me 100 hours I think this is the best motivation for me to keep learning kanji and getting used to actually reading it instead of just doing anki decks and memorizing.

I also know that this is not the best way to learn a language. This is the way I learned english and it took me almost a decade to be able to speak english in a proper manner. But I don't care, I am still studying grammar time to time and this is my little project to keep me engage.

The tools I'm using is the ps2 version of Fuuraiki, for better kanji resolutions, and the yomiwa app on android to draw every word I encounter. Yes I know about text miners and ocr tools but I won't use them. Also dont tell the AJAT nerds im doing this or they will crucify me for not mix maxing my learning.

To Hokkaido

I start this journey on a ferry, taking pictures of the tables, the sea, and the sky. Looking around appreciating the stillness of the water. Wondering what could be a good picture for the article. Maybe if I can find a model for the magazine it will attract more people to it. I love how this game treats the act of taking a picture, with a little gif focusing in and out until you take the picture. It makes no difference when you take the picture, it will always be perfect but its a nice touch of interactivity to have.

Natsu laughing

There I meet the first girl in the game. She's quietly looking at the see with a somber face. You can choose to aproach her or leaver her alone, so I decided to talk to her in the hopes of getting a model picture for the journal. Here I learn her name, Natsu. When she ask us why am I bothering her I come with the lame excuse that she was looking sad at the border so I was worried she might jump. She laughs at the idea and is sorry for worrying me. Natsu is here on vacation from school and the reason she's going to Hokkaido is to fulfill a promise. She wont tell me what... its a s e c r e t.

Then someone calls for her and I'm are once again alone in deck.

Here is also when I learn about myself. My name is Tetsu, if one wishes to leave the default name as I did, and you can also choose your pen name with which you are going to sign your articles. As I used to write articles irl ages ago I decided that the pen name should be me. Or simply SOUL written in katakana. I also learned now that I am a novice freelance reporter working for a tourism/travel magazine. Interesting stuff.

Finally, wandering around the deck, feeling the sea breeze I encounter the second girl. This time she is the one to approach me to take a picture of her with her camera, so I do that. But theres a problem. The shutter wont go. So I realise that the camera has no battery wondering if the reason she approached me was because she noticed the camera hanging from my neck and thought I could tell her what was wrong with hers without looking ignorant.

She's makes a playful guilty expression. Tamae being playiful

Tamae is way more upfront that I was expecting. She presents herself and wonder immediatly that if the jacket I have on it's because I'm also a biker. As I explain to her that I'm a photographer/reporter on a bussiness trip I ask her if she wants me to take a picture with my camera and send it to her by mail and she tease me about how much I know how to hit on girls and get them to give me her mail.

The more we talk the more I know about my job. This is not the first time I do a journey on a bike. I will also be staying outdoors and visiting different famous places and trying different food and cuisine from Hokkaido. She says that maybe is a good idea to follow me around to be able to experience all the flavours around Hokkaido. I respond that its not a good idea to follow someone you just met.

TO BE CONTINUE... Tamae posing for a picture


All of this took me 2 weeks... I kinda hate that on words its like a 2 minutes read, this will be a long journey so I don't know when I will think I have enough material to write the next part of this.

This has been my obsession because I've always loved the story of Honey and Clover. I'm a sucker for coming of age stories and particularly sour onces. Takemoto's journey to the north of the island on bycicle in the middle of the series is still a highligth for me in the series as well as Hagu's sad last words to him, that she knows he will restore all those landmarks he's going to work on because she knows him and his hands work. But feels jelousy of them, because she is now broke as her hands now need therapy and can't do art due to the accident. But she can't give him the love he wants, so she departs with him as a friend. Wishing him the best.

I wonder how this game will break me, in a good way. At least I'm recognizing more words as I go along with this.

Takemoto on his journey of self discovery