Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Japanese Country Cooking

Hi folks!

Like us, you might've been intrigued by the home-cooked dinner Rena brought in Day 14 to tempt Keiichi: vegetable miso? side dishes? What are those?

We were lucky enough to find Domo, a restaurant in Denver, Colorado that serves Japanese country-style cooking - including the same kinds of mouth-watering dishes Rena made! They even have a detailed explanation of side dishes.

Feast your eyes on (not) Rena's home cooking!

This was Mion's lunch order. The entree is Unagi-don, grilled eel on rice; the soup is vegetable miso - a lot like your standard miso with tofu & seaweed, but with the addition of thinly-sliced daikon and other vegetables.

The three dishes behind the unagi & miso are the side dishes of the day (for lunch) - on this particular day, the side dishes were, from left to right: kinpira gobo, burdock root; hijiki ni, hijiki seaweed & green beans; and renkon to kiriboshi no nimono, which is lotus root & dried daikon strips (we think - our dish had lotus root, anyway).

Oh yes - they didn't have them at that lunch, but Domo does prepare some dishes with mountain vegetables.

Anyway, we enjoyed our taste of country cooking and the extra understanding it gave us for Keiichi's excitement at the prospect of a home-cooked meal ^^


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Getting the game

(Updated August 4 2009):
Hi everyone!

In case you haven't heard, MangaGamer has announced plans to release an English localization of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni in October of this year.

But if you'd like to have the original Japanese Higurashi games to use with our patches, here's how you get them:

The easiest and cheapest way is to try out the free Higurashi demo. We have an already-patched version of the demo available on our Aquiring our releases page; if you'd rather not have that, you can download the original release of the demo from this site. Don't worry about the Japanese - the download mirror sites are at the bottom of the page, so scroll down and follow the directions in English for which mirrors to use, labeled "みら〜#”. You might have to right-click and select 'save link' if it doesn't automatically begin to download the .exe file.

If you like what you've seen of the story and wish to get the full visual novel Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (Himatsubushi) with the first four arcs, there are a few retailers you can order the CD from - we ordered ours from Himeya Shop, which is in English and fairly straightforward.

To get the same content for cheaper and without shipping costs, you can buy it as a paid download from one of these Japanese merchants. Here are some handy instructions for buying if you don't know where to start:

  1. Go to this page at a place called melonbooks.com. You should see something like the image below.

    Click the circled button to put the game in your cart.

  2. You will now be at the cart page, which should look much like the image below.

    (Note the price: 1575 Yen, or about $15 in US Dollars.)

    Click the circled button to buy the game as a guest - one reason we chose this site is because you don't have to register to purchase.

  3. This is the page where you select your method of payment. About the only real payment option for people outside Japan is "Credit Card", so click the circled button to pay by credit card.

    (They accept VISA, Mastercard, Diners Club and AMEX.)

  4. You will now be at the credit card payment page.

    Here you need to enter some of your personal information in the blanks with the following labels:

    • クレジットカード会社 - Select your credit card type from the drop-down.
    • クレジットカード番号
      (半角数字) - Enter the 16 digits of your credit card number. Do not use dashes or spaces.
    • 有効期限 - Use the drop-downs to select your card's expiration month () and year ().
    • カードの名義人
      (半角ローマ字) - Enter your full name as shown on your credit card.
    • メールアドレス - Enter your email address. There are 2 textboxes:
      1. 半角英数128文字まで - Provide your email address, which should be at most 128 characters long.
      2. 確認入力 - Re-type your email address to confirm it.

    At this point, scroll down to the next section of the page:

    The text suggests that you register as a member so that you can reuse your billing information. This is probably more trouble than it's worth for just Higurashi, so in the part labeled 一般メンバーに登録する, select the (circled) radio button marked いいえ.

    After that, click the circled button at the bottom to go to payment confirmation.

  5. This is the payment confirmation page.

    If your information looks correct, click the circled button to authorize your purchase.

  6. You may now download the software, either by clicking the circled button on this page,

    or else by following the link from the email you should get from Melonbooks.com. You have exactly one week from the time of purchase to download, so you can try later if there's a problem while downloading or if you don't have time to download right away.

    Their listed likely download durations:
    4min 10sec at 100Mbps, 20min 51sec at 8Mbps.
    Plan your time accordingly.

  7. Once your download completes, you can unpack it (it's a zip file) wherever you want to install the game. (This works the same for Mac & Linux users too.) Then go to Acquiring our releases and follow the directions for getting & installing the full Himatsubushi (NON-DEMO) translation patch.

  8. Enjoy the story! ^^

Friday, September 5, 2008

Onikakushi Day 14 DEMO Bugfix

We just fixed an issue found in the demo version of the Onikakushi Day 14 release. There aren't any problems in the latest chapter itself, but the program may crash during earlier chapters and TIPS. If you downloaded the Day 14 Demo patch before September 6, you will probably want to grab the fixed version.

Edit 10/21/08: we've removed the link to the bugfix since everyone's likely updated their patches by now; you can contact us if you need it, or just download the current release.)

Sorry about that,

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Onikakushi Day 14 Release!

(Updated Aug 13 2009 to remove old links)
Hi everybody! Sorry for the long wait!

The Sonozaki Futago-tachi English patch for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Onikakushi (Days 1-5,9-14) is now ready!

This release features Keiichi's favorite cup ramen, ginger tonkotsu (pork-bone) flavor. The pictured ramen cup is not exactly the same, since it's just tonkotsu without the ginger. It does taste pretty good, though a little sodium-heavy like most cup ramen. (The image on the lid is pretty accurate, actually - it even came with the scallions!)

You'll need the original Japanese game Higurashi no Naku Koro ni in order to play this translation; go to our Getting the game post if you don't have the game already. Acquiring our releases will tell you how to get our latest patches.

As always, let us know what you think, or if you encounter problems playing the translated game.

We've made a number of changes to earlier days based on comments from our new native Japanese helper, so now quite a few scenes make a lot more sense - take a look! (At least our mistakes didn't affect the main flow of the story ^^;;)
We'd also like to warn everyone that we changed Rika's speaking style, so don't be alarmed if it catches you off guard.

Anyway, well. A lot happens to Keiichi today, and things go from bad to worse very quickly. Beware of reading this late at night! The creepy marches onward!


Friday, August 1, 2008

The Real "Hinamizawa"

Hi everybody, Shion here!

Sorry it's taking us longer than usual for the next installment. Day 14 is a looong day, but it'll be worth the wait - the creepy plot really 'swings' into action here ;-) .

Meanwhile, I recently stumbled on this neat website that shows a Higurashi fan's pilgrimage to Shirakawa-Go (official site), the UNESCO World Heritage site that served as the model for Hinamizawa. It's in Japanese, but those of you who've been playing along may remember seeing some of the images in slightly more blurred form. He even found the exterior model for the Maebara Mansion - which is apparently a treatment facility (poor Keiichi)....



Saturday, June 21, 2008

Onikakushi Day 13 release!

Hi everybody!

The Sonozaki Futago-tachi English patch for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Onikakushi (Days 1-5,9-13) is now ready! Check Acquiring our releases to find out how to get the patches and the original Higurashi games.

As always, let us know what you think, or if you encounter problems playing the translated game.

Nothing bad happens to Keiichi today. ...But that doesn't mean that things don't go horribly wrong....


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Translation Notes Poll Results

The votes are in, the polls are closed, and we have the final tally for "How shall we provide translation notes?":

  1. A text file in the patch - 69 votes (46%)
  2. "Tooltips" within the game - 65 votes (43%)
  3. No need! The story is understandable (blah blah blah) - 17 votes (11%)
  4. Extra "scenario", like TIPS - 13 votes (8%)
Total - 148 votes

Thanks to everyone for voting and commenting during this poll! We learned a lot about what our readers would like in a game translation. We've decided to provide a text file with translation notes at the next opportunity or release.

However, we're not about to discard the other favorite, "tooltips". Although we do try to provide some context in the text for Japanese words that are common or important to a scene, like "ohagi" or "Echigoya", at other times a Japanese word is just part of the background of a scene, like "oden" and "nori". Adding explanations and definitions for these words would just distract readers from the main story, and I don't see Keiichi taking the time to describe what already seems "obvious" to him.

However, such unfamiliar words are already distracting - you're forced to stop for a moment and think, "what does that mean?" At times like these, it would certainly be helpful to have the unfamiliar word or phrase act as a link to a pop-up with some explanation of its meaning; meanwhile, the words shouldn't "stand out" too much to readers who already understand them.

It will take a little more work and a lot more script recoding, but I think we can provide "hyperlink" notes that readers can access during the game itself. Since this will take some extra effort, we plan to wait until Onikakushi is complete before adding this feature.

How does that sound? Let us know what you think!


Saturday, May 24, 2008

More about the latest release

Hi folks,
Just thought I'd explain some new elements of our latest release.

First of all, those of you who use the Demo version of Higurashi may notice that the Day 12 release includes a 'WAV/LP' directory containing two MP3 files. These are provided as a (temporary?) fix for playback issues with the version of these files that came with the original Japanese demo. You can see the difference if you play from the beginning through to when Rena first makes her appearance - the music no longer sounds weirdly "sped-up".

Second, our file sharing folders now include a Windows executable of the full ('Himatsubushi') game patch, courtesy of DaCyclops from AnimeSuki. I highly recommend that Windows users use this version of the patch, as it will by default install into a subdirectory of the original game location, saving headaches in figuring out how to install the ZIP version of the patch. (It's also a somewhat smaller file.)

Needless to say, non-Windows and/or Higurashi demo users still need to use the applicable ZIP patch for their Higurashi game instead of this executable.

I hope you enjoy these improvements to our latest release! We plan to make further improvements for future releases as needed. As always, we're happy to hear if you have questions or comments.

Onikakushi Day 12 Release: Shion makes Ohagi!

Hi everyone!

In honor of our Onikakushi Day 12 release, Shion decided to try making ohagi, the Japanese sweet that appears in this chapter. Ohagi are balls of sweet rice and sushi rice mixed together, with a coating of sweet red bean paste. It's fairly easy to make as far as sweets go, and the only cooking required is simmering the rice and cooking the beans (if you don't use canned bean paste like Shion did), so it works well as a summer treat. She mainly used the recipe from this book, but with some suggestions from an excellent Japanese cooking blog that also has a full recipe for ohagi if you want to try it yourself. Tip: avoid buying 'koshian', written こしあん in Japanese, since that's what Shion used and it ended up being too soft and sticky to form a good coating. Either get a can of the chunkier 'tsubushian' (つぶしあん) if you can find it, or a can of the red azuki beans to make it yourself per the recipe instructions.

Which one do you think Shion made? (Hint: the one that looks like crap)

Here you can see Shion's amateurish skills, in both ohagi making and iVideo editing - both attempted for the first time on Friday!

Oh yeah, and here's that new release!

The Sonozaki Futago-tachi English patch for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Onikakushi (Days 1-5,9-12) is now ready! Check Acquiring our releases to find out how to get the patches and the original Higurashi games.

As always, let us know what you think, or if you encounter problems playing the translated game.

Enjoy the steadily-growing creepy, and BEWARE THE OHAGI!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Our Translation Process; Poll

Hi everyone, Shion here.  I thought you might be interested to learn a bit about how we're conducting our project.

I have more experience with Japanese than Mion, so I specialize in translating from Japanese to English.  I use a combination of JEDict, my Canon Wordtank, the ALC website, and my JLPT Level 1&2 grammar references to put together a somewhat literal rendering.  Sometimes they use an expression that I can't find even with those, in which case I use Japanese Google or Japanese Wikipedia to see what context that expression shows up in.  If even that fails, I make an extremely literal translation of it with a note that it needs to be looked at later.

Once I have a whole day finished, I send it to my sister Mion for adaptation.  She takes the sentences I wrote, which are usually pretty stilted and Japanese-like, and fixes them to sound more like natural English while still conveying the same information or feeling as the original.  She knows some Japanese, so she's able to check the original for particles such as 'ne' or 'yo' to make sure the adaptation matches the mood fairly closely, not to mention checking for the characters' speaking quirks to make sure they each have a unique and consistent voice in English.  She'll also look at the tricky spots I noted, and can often make a good guess at what they're supposed to mean based on the flow of the script and what was said/happening before or after it.  

After making a first-pass through the script for that day/chapter, Mion uses IM to send me bits of the script to make sure it matches what I remember it saying, and we discuss those tricky parts and usually figure them out between the two of us.  I also point out places that still seem a bit stilted, and suggest smoother readings.  It helps to be a bit removed from the original Japanese to do this effectively, so it's not a bad thing for me to be a bit ahead of Mion in my part of the work :-).  

After the second run-through, Mion prepares the beta patches and makes them available to our nice beta-testers, who then play through the new material and make suggestions.  We may not always do exactly what they suggest, but their comments do bring up important points that we think about very carefully, so we appreciate them all.  We discuss the ideas with each other, Mion makes more fixes, and if we think it's ready she makes the release patches and uploads them to Rapidshare and Mediafire for all of you to enjoy!  


We're always refining our adaptation based on new information, including the earlier days in the story, and are always happy to hear any suggestions you have to improve it.  For example, we're considering how best to provide "translation notes" for the game, to explain some of the uniquely Japanese terms that occur in the story.  For example, 'takoyaki' and 'miko', which appeared in day 9, or 'ohagi', which will appear in the next update (EEEK!).  Not to mention some culture-specific ideas such as the Japanese penchant for building a new house instead of moving into a previously-owned one, or the mysterious Echigoya ^_^.  

We've been trying to introduce such explanations in a way that doesn't disrupt the flow of the story, but it would be nice to explain it further, and there are a number of ways we could provide that information.  Take a look at the poll on the sidebar, which will be open until the end of the month, and please let us know which way you would prefer we include the notes, and add a comment to this post if you want to be more specific.  Thanks and look forward to more creepiness in the near future!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Onikakushi Day 11 Release!

The Sonozaki Futago-tachi English patch for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Onikakushi (Days 1-5,9-11) is now ready! Check Acquiring our releases to find out how to get the patches and the original Higurashi games.

Please note that saves made in the Day 5 release or earlier will not work with this version, but saves from the Day 9 release should load just fine! (Unless you did something silly like save during one of the TIPS.)

For this patch, we rolled two new days into one release, all the better to space out the creepy. It's no longer just fun and games for poor Keiichi...

Let us know what you think, or if you encounter problems playing the translated game.


Monday, April 7, 2008

A note about saved games

Those of you who have been trying out our translation patches since Day 5 and before may have noticed that your saved games don't always load properly when you upgrade to a new patch.

I made a fix in the script for the Day 9 release that should prevent these kinds of errors when you upgrade to any future patch. However, this only applies to games saved using the Day 9 patch; unfortunately, there's no good way to fix loading games saved from the Day 3 & Day 4 patches.

Games saved from the Day 5 patch should load in the Day 9 release, so long as the save was done within the main story (it won't work for saves within the TIPS or the TIPS Save | Load menu.)
Because I had to move game code around, loaded Day 5 games will begin earlier in the game than where you saved. The fix for this is easy - simply play through to the point where you'd saved in Day 5, and re-save the game in the same slot.

Note that only saves from within the main story or the TIPS Load | Save menu can be expected to work correctly in future releases, so don't save in one of the TIPS!

Of course, please let us know about any problems you have with playing the game.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Acquiring our releases

(Updated August 8 2009)

If you would like to play 'Higurashi no Naku Koro ni' in English, please note that our releases are just translation patches - you will need to get the original Japanese game first in order to use them!

(Alternatively, you can wait for MangaGamer to release their official localizations later this year.)

If you'd still like to try our patches, go to Getting the game to find out how to get either the Demo version of Higurashi ('Onikakushi Arc' only) or 'Himatsubushi', the version containing the first 4 arcs.

(Currently only the first arc, 'Onikakushi', has been fully translated - just so you know.)


new! English-Patched Higurashi Demo

07th Expansion has kindly given us permission to distribute the entire Higurashi Demo, so long as we provide user support, so - for those of you with Macs or Linux, or are otherwise having trouble running the demo installer - here's a zip-file version of the Higurashi Demo, "higurashi-demo-en.zip", already patched:

Higurashi Demo with English Patch (v1.12) Applied

Just unzip it somewhere convenient, then go to the "higurashi\English" folder and run "onscripter-en.exe" to play! Let us know if you have issues, of course.


English Translation Patches

If you have installed the Demo version of Higurashi, you can download our Demo English translation patch, "[Sonozaki Futago-tachi] Higurashi No NAku Koro ni DEMO (English patch).zip". Please use one of the following links:

Demo Patch (v1.12)

If you have installed the full (first 4 arc) game, 'Himatsubushi', you can download our patch with Watanagashi (Day 1) as well as the first arc, 'Onikakushi', translated into English: "[Sonozaki Futago-tachi] Higurashi - Watanagashi_Day1 (English patch).zip". Please use one of the following links:

Watanagashi Day 1 Patch (v1.1) for 'Himatsubushi'

How to Install a Patch

To install a translation patch, create a new folder (say "English") within the original Japanese game folder, unzip the contents of the patch into that new folder, then double-click "onscripter-en.exe" to play.

Of course, be sure to use only a DEMO patch with the demo game, and only a non-DEMO patch with the full game, or else the patch might not work as you expect!
(Actually, our current releases will warn you if you try to play the demo translation patch with the full game and vice-versa, just in case.)

(Updated September 24 2009)

For Mac OS X and Linux Users
(or anyone who wants the latest ONScripter)

Since I ("Uncle" Mion) have more or less taken over maintenance of ONScripter-EN, I've finally put together a new site and subversion repository.

So from now on, come to http://onscripter.denpa.mobi to get the latest ONScripter releases! After downloading a build, here's what you need to do:

Mac OS X

The download comes as a Mac disk image file, "onscripter-mac-20090915.dmg", which you will need to mount as a drive.
Once you have installed a Higurashi game and translation patch as directed above, simply drop the contained "onscripter-en.app" file into the translation patch directory and double-click to play.


Since there's so many different distributions of Linux, there's no official Linux build of ONScripter-EN. However, the new ONScripter site does have a build for Ubuntu Linux, which you are welcome to try (though we make no guarantees).

(Note that some distributions of Linux come with a build of the Japanese version of ONScripter, but this will not work with our Higurashi patches.)

If the Ubuntu build doesn't work, you can try doing your own build:

Building from source

Since ONScripter is under the GNU Public License, you can download the latest release as source code from the new site's Releases page, either as a zipped archive or from the subversion repository.


You can always find our latest translation patches and related downloads in our file-sharing folders below:


Please let us know if you have trouble with installing or using our patches!


Our First Posting


This is Mion of Sonozaki Futago-tachi, beginning our foray into the world of blogdom.

Watch this space for news of our ongoing Higurashi no NAku Koro ni translation project, including links to new releases and fixes.

Thank you for your support.