One of my weirder ideas to improve my Japanese is to pick up a Japanese Vocaloid and write some grammar songs. I grew up on Grammar Rock, and I remember “Conjunction Junction” to this very day.
My idea is that by creating something that tunecrimes me into remembering grammar, I’ll jump ahead a few spaces on the board.
The problem is that buying the Vocaloid software is convoluted. Buying direct from Japan requires using a shipping agent, which adds fees to the already-expensive shipping. Going through a seller on Amazon means that the price is significantly higher, and that’s not figuring in shipping from Japan. (Again.)
So I went back to Vector, my online software store of choice, and found Megpoid Native for 9,000 yen in a download version. I also got Vocaloid 3 editing software from Bplats’ Vocaloid Store, also a download version. So for ~ 18,000 yen, I got a solid voice bank and the editor I need. It’s still kind of pricey, though.
Meg (or GUMI as she’s commonly called in Japan) had a good voice and solid range. I wish the software was more open, in the sense of working with ReWire and Reason. And I wish I could run it like I run Reason– use a USB key or a login and let me use it on more than 1 machine (like a laptop and a desktop.) Unfortunately, the license is one computer only, which sucks for when I travel. If I want to use a laptop, I have to shell out another 18,000 yen for more software.
Another annoying thing: the Japanese Vocaloid store is run by a different company than the English version. So the products they carry are different. And if you want to get job plugins for Vocaloid 3 software, the English store has a paltry 18, while the Japanese store has over 100.
I wish Yamaha and the other companies behind Vocaloid would work harder to reach out to the global users. It’s not easy to just “pick it up,” and it should be. The easier, the better for their bottom line, and my blood pressure.