Several of us here on Kawaii Japanese have begun to use HabitRPG as a time management tool, as Cure Dolly has discussed here. Time management can be a big stumbling block to being able to continue one’s studies, i.e., “I would love to learn Japanese, but I really do not have the time.”
Really all of us have the same amount of time….there are 24 hours in the day for all of us! It is really a matter of what we decide to do with our time. I am not sure about anyone else, but left to my own devices, I will wander around all day feeling like I have been busy, without any sense of accomplishment, and having no idea what it is I was actually busy doing. I absolutely *need* some sort of time management tool.
I have been looking for the perfect time management tool for decades. I still miss my old Palm Pilot, which was very nicely laid out for how I like to work. I have spent these same decades learning and practicing about every procrastination avoidance/time management system under Ohisama. HabitRPG is not quite perfect, but it is pretty close, I think! Cure Dolly has given a very good description of the basics of the game/tool in her previous article, so I will concentrate on the things that I have learned that are relevant to us here on Kawaii Japanese.
Approach to the “game”
One of the things that I have noticed as a difficulty for my party members is a reluctance to give themselves “credit” for their tasks and habits. I think that here on Kawaii Japanese, many of us are studying Japanese because we feel much more at home in the cultural assumptions of the East. One of these assumptions is that modesty is proper, and self-aggrandizement is not. I think that one of the ways to get past this is to really understand what the purpose of the “game” is.
The purpose of the “game” is to help us all manage our time better, and to get things done. For us, this is important so we can manage our study time and manage our other tasks and chores, so that we DO have study time. The game itself is very well designed, so that actually the “tricks” to playing the “game” are mostly good time-management and task-management habits.
For example, dailies, todos, and habits change colors depending on how well we are doing with them. They all start off as yellow, and turn green, then blue, and then bright blue, if we are doing well with them. If we are doing poorly with them or letting them sit in our “todo” list, they turn orange, then red, and then deep red. The redder the task or habit is the more damage it can do to us, but by the same token, we get more rewards for actually doing it!
Generally, tasks that turn red are tasks we REALLY don’t want to do and are putting off. Getting more points for them helps to turn these tasks into our friends! Heee…and doesn’t that seem like a very Japanese way to look at things!
The social aspects of HabitRPG are really wonderful. I am now working with a party, and that has been really nice. My party consists of close friends (who are also study partners). We are all geographically far apart, but HabitRPG is helping to give us the sense that we are all working together. We can actually see avatars of each other on our personal pages, so for me, it gives the feeling of my party being with me while doing my daily chores and tasks.
We already done about 3 “Quests” together. The quests we have done are Boss quests, which means that we are battling a Monster. When we do tasks and dailies, they do damage to the Boss, and missed Dailies of any one of us mean that the Boss does damage to the party.
Because we are all close friends, no one wants to do damage to the party, so we all work extra hard to do our Dailies. Yet, also because we are all friends, we can support and comfort each other when we don’t do as well as we would like. Below is a typical exchange in our Party chat.
ごめんなさい。(Gomen nasai. “I am very sorry”…for causing the party damage)
大丈夫ですよ。今日はがんばりましょうね！(Daijoubu desu yo. Kyou wa ganbarimashou ne!
“It is ok. Today, let’s do our best together!”)
I think that it has very much helped our group’s bond to grow and develop!
It is also nice, that so far, all of the Quests are written in a way that is very much in line with our philosophy. The “Bosses” are often tamed, rather than “killed”, and it is quite easy to see in these stories the traditional story themes we know and love from our favorite Anime. We can imagine the Bosses as being taken over by Evil Spirits to be cleansed, or that they are our own False Selves.
There is also a Tavern, where just like any role playing game, one can go to hear rumors and get information! The Tavern chat is very well moderated and is polite and pleasant, for the most part. For many of us, part of the reason we are studying Japanese is that we are attracted to the more gentle and polite culture of Japan, so many English speaking social places on the Internet can be jarring and poisonous. On HabitRPG, I have found the Tavern quite pleasant. One of the really nice things is that swearing is not allowed at all, and posts with swear words are promptly removed!
This is Kawaii Japanese, so, of course, aesthetics are quite important to us. The basic game itself is quite kirei. On the other hand, at the Tavern, I learned a way to make the game even prettier! There is an add-on which works for Firefox, known as Stylish. It also works on other browsers, I think, but of course we recommend Firefox here because of the availability of the Rikaichan and Procon Latte addons.
With the Stylish add-on, one can customize the interface of the program. A link to this add-on is here. The default theme is quite nice, and is the one that I use. You can see it in the image above. This add-on also has an option to hide the game aspects, which might be important if one is using HabitRPG at work. There is also the option to create your own custom theme, but really the default one itself is quite nice, ne.
Oh dear, I had a lot more to say, but this article has already gotten quite long. Maybe I will need to write a sequel later!
P.S. I just received 76 experience, about 9 Gold pieces, and replenished 2.6 Mana Points by writing this post! (this was a very red Todo)