After thinking about things quite a bit, I finally decided to buy a Japanese Nintendo 3DS XL. One of the "New" ones, too.
There were plenty pros and cons I've dealt with for a while. For the record, the Nintendo 3DS is a region locked system, so I'm unable to play Japanese games on my American 3DS. Likewise, I cannot play my American games on this one. Nor, can I really exchange data of any kind between the two handhelds on a system level. Though, nearly all games internally don't care about exchanging data.
I had two big reasons that kept preventing me from outright buying this for a while. One was the lack of games. Any 3DS game I was interested in was almost guaranteed to make it to the U.S. So I could simply wait, and buy it later. The second reason was the language barrier. Even if there were a game I wanted that didn't make it to the states, it would mostly likely be story-based or have mechanics where not totally understanding the language would get in my way.
I continued to think more and more about that second point. Everyday I deal with problems learning Japanese, and effectively communicating with those around me. It weighs on me most days. When I get home, I want to relax and just turn everything off in my head. I usually do this by playing games, and I don't want to see anymore Japanese while I'm basically trying to get away from it. Sometimes there's just too much being shoved into my brain at once.
Other foreigners living here face similar problems. It continually builds and builds until you NEED to get out. You need a break, a vacation. Going back home over Christmas really let me recharge. The same with visiting Okinawa last year. I guess it's technically being "Home Sick" but it's not really that I want to go back home. I just miss the variety, or the ability to actually understand people, and be effective in society.
Anyway, I just got back from vacation, so I've been recharged. And many of my recent clashes with Japanese have turned out somewhat successful. I'm using Google Translate FAR LESS on webpages these days. When talking with other teachers, I rarely need to pull out my dictionary. And with the Japanese I'm studying, I'm able to consistently read things and only misunderstand a few vocabulary words.
I am improving and am getting better, even though I'm still terrible at it. So, the thought of having to tackle Japanese in games, and for fun, no longer seemed like con. Really, it was now a reason for buying it.
Having another venue for studying and practicing Japanese now joined my list of pros, which was really just a list of games I wanted to play. These games include Game Center CX 3, Yokai Watch, the Picross games that haven't come to the U.S., and the eventually 3rd Gen VI Pokemon game, whether it be Pokemon Z or Pokemon Delta Emerald.
Yokai Watch is massive in Japan right now, and I have no idea (really) what it is. I've read some articles about people explaining it. I've read the wikipedia page about it. And read a few other things, too. From what I gather, it's a multi-media marketing machine similar to Pokemon. Eventually, the whole thing boils down to the core video game, and a complementary anime. Really underneath all the bullshit Pokemon has, it's a solid game, and people claim Yokai Watch is, too.
So, people think Yokai Watch is actually good, and I want to know more about it. It is coming to the U.S. this year, but I want to learn about it now, and also attempt to do it in Japanese.
Also, another reason I wanted to buy it is that I actually want an upgraded 3DS. I play my Nintendo 3DS a lot, and the updated hardware has a lot of great stuff. The Circle Pad pro is built into it. It has a faster processor. The 3D is better. It's a great update.
So, I bought it. :D Here it is:
I took a couple photos comparing the new 3DS XL to the previous 3DS XL, plus my DSi and DS Lite, since I have those. The 3DS game goes in the bottom now, which is kinda weird. Same with the stylus, which I don't like, but whatever. Additionally, you need to unscrew and remove the back faceplate to get to the SD card slot. It's annoying, but really only needed to be done once ever. It uses a Micro SD card now, as well.
But it feels great. The D pad feels amazing. The buttons feel amazing. I haven't used the right Circle pad much yet. There's almost no tactile feedback with that at all from what I've messed with. In game, I'm sure it's much better.
Also, language-wise, it has been very gratifying and confidence building how I've been able to go through menus, sign up for things, and generally understand everything that I've been doing. The language has not once gotten in my way.
I have yet to delve into Yokai Watch, but Game Center CX 3 is excellent so far. And, again, I've been able to understand what has been going on in the game. I know what the characters are talking about. In some cases, I understand the conversations completely. The language has not been a crutch, what-so-ever.
Though, everything is still quite within my wheel house. I already understand the menus, and Game Center CX from using and playing the English language equivalent. I have not done that with Yokai Watch, so that game should actually challenge my understanding of Japanese.
On the digital side of things, I purchased nearly all the Picross games available on the eShop.
With my current catalogue of Japanese 3DS games I had exactly enough points to purchase Club Nintendo Picross. Game Center CX gave me 30 points. Yokai Watch gave me 20. And each of the 6 Picross E games were 5 points each. 80 points exactly!
It's really odd that this game using the Picross DS "engine", rather than the upgraded Picross E. Overall there's like 180 puzzles in the game, including 2 Mega Picross puzzles. I wanted to make sure I was able to get this game before Club Nintendo shut down for good in the next few months. Unfortunately, I won't be able to get Club Nintendo Picross Plus, which was a Platinum reward last year, but I'll take what I can get.
For the Picross E games, only the first 3 made it to the U.S. There are 3 more that came out in Japan just this past year. Picross e6 just came out last month. In addition, there's a second Picross Gameboy Virtual Console game only in Japan. Whee, Picross!
Well now I have plenty of new games to play, and also can actually take part in more Japanese games.