Via JapanProbe - Tadashii Kanji Kakitori-kun (正しい漢字かきとりくん) is Nintendo DS software aimed at elementary school children, making it perfect for beginner students of Japanese. It looks like fun, and kanji + fun = good. If I get my hands on a copy I'll do a review (promises, promises!!)
I received an email yesterday offering me Mangajin CDs (I bought some issues a long time ago..):
One of the problems with overselling was that we had to commission the duplication of more Mangajin CD's, and of course, you can't order them in small lots... so if you haven't picked one up yet, they are 35% off if you use this URL:
Please buy one if you haven't yet. The CD's interface could have been smoother, but the sound files, manga and translations / notes are fantastic.
I can't vouch for the CDs - I have never used one - but the magazine upon which there are based is AWESOME. And I use the word in its original sense - after reading a copy of Mangajin you will be filled with a sense of awe at the cool way in which the mag leads you through learning Japanese via manga. Mangajin the magazine went out of business years ago but you can get back issues though the Wasabi Bros website and I highly recommend them. I have a stack on my shelf which I still occasionally thumb through. The killer feature of Mangajin is the way it breaks down manga dialogue, providing both a word for word translation and then a natural sounding translation of the whole, for example: (p73, Mangajin issue 20, September 1992)
ところで、そろそろ あの 騒ぎ の 疲れ も 取れた だろう。。 by the way by and by that uproar of/from fatigue also was removed probably/I imagine "By the way, I imagine your fatigue from all that furor is about gone by now..."
A great start to reading Japanese and an excellent way to make sure you sound natural when you speak.
Hats off to those gung ho folks who have decided to go for complete Japanese immersion in their online computer environment. Setting your computer's language preference to Japanese or running a Japanese OS and doing your online tasks on Japanese sites will make reading Japanese an integral part of your day, you will learn contextually and the repetition is just what the language acquisition doctor ordered. If you get stuck you can always use rikaichan, LiveDictionary or Moji.
It is simple enough to find news, tech support, search and bloggy musings in Japanese, but what do you do about sites like flickr, Alexa or YouTube which you use regularly but are yet to provide Japanese localisation? Try Japanize, a Firefox plugin which does on the fly Japanese localisations for a whole bunch of popular English websites. Japanize is designed for J-folks who want to use English language sites but it is perfect for Japanese learning keen beans who masochistically want to force themselves to deal with as much Japanese text as possible. (via from the inside, looking in, the blog of a returnee venture capitalist called Shinichiro Fukushige and a great read, often with bilingual postings)
Sergey Kurkin has revamped his JEDict dictionary and produced version 4.0.5, for people running Mac OS 10.4 and up. The old JEDict 3.8.1 is still available for download and works a treat on Mac OS 8.1 through 10.3.9.
Version 4.0.5 has a number of major changes:
1. It looks different - Version 4.0.5 has the look of a simple web browser. I think 3.8.1 was a better looking interface, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.
2. Version 4.0.5 can use a whole plethora of dictionaries including monsters like Eijiro which would have caused Version 3.8.1 to choke to death:
Importing new dictionaries is a breeze and if you fork out the money for Eijiro you have all the power of the ALC dictionary even when you don't have online access.
3. You can set Vers 4.0.5 to "search on clipboard change" which means that when you select text in a document and then "Copy" it, JEDict 4.0.5 automatically searches for and translates it. (Note - when I tried the right-click function "Search JEDict" it opened version 3.8.1!)
5. Vers 4.0.5 not only looks like Safari's poor starving cousin, it incorporates a browser function too. Highlighting a kanji while surfing will causes a sidebar menu to appear and display readings, examples etc.
6. The kanji search menu has remained almost the same (ie excellent) except for the fact that the new input space for entering kanji via a touchpad or stylus is not as easy as Vers 3.8.1.
7. Saving search results to the User Dict is now just a matter of a right-click (it used to be Command-click)
8. Allows romaji use. Although some people might like this I find it annoying, and even with the romaji preference turned off, any search for a Japanese word will still produce a romaji reading at the top of the word search screen.
Version 4.0.5 can be downloaded from the JEDict site. The free version comes with the EDICT and KANJIDICT dictionaries - more than enough for most people's needs. The $25 registered version lets you add unlimited numbers of dictionaries and is well worth the investment for anyone doing more than simple searches.
BTW I have referred to version 4.0.5 throughout, but the version listed on the JEDict site is version 4.0.4 - as an owner of the registered version I received the 4.0.5 update direct from Sergey and I imagine it will be on his site in due course.
Overall, not as pretty as 3.8.1, but far more capable.
Listened to Japanese until your ears are bleeding? Want to study kanji but you left all your flashcards at home? Help is at hand because your iPod is not only musical but literate too.
kanjiPod is a program for generating sets of files for studying kanji on the iPod via the Notes feature. Programming maetros can download the Python based source code here and get cracking putting together personalised files, while code allergic mere mortals can simply download one of three pre-compiled dictionary files:
Reviewing the Kanji is a website designed to assist people using the Heisig method to study the 2000 or so Joyo kanji. Register on the site and you have access to your own set of online Heisig kanji cards to which you can add your own stories. The "share this story" option gives you examples of stories other people have come up with - a good way to kick your brain into gear if you get stuck coming up with a story. For example, for the kanji 重 which has the Heisig keyword 'heavy':
erikkusan Last edited: 20-3-2006 The first computer in the world was as heavy as thousand computers are now.
fuaburisu Last edited: 16-10-2005 This is the latest in technology from Macrosoft : a machine nicknamed "heavy duty". Capable of dealing with heavy load computations, it is made of one thousand computers linked together. You may picture it as a big cube, the inside made of 10 x 10 x 10 computers.
Back in February Jim Heisig, author of Remembering the Kanji, left a comment following my review of WriteKanji, pointing out that in cooperation with German publisher Vittorio Klostermann he has produced a free application for reviewing the 2042 kanji introduced in RTK. KanjiGymLight is a Java based application designed to aid in kanji review via either 56 pre-set lessons or using the Heisig numbers. KanjiGymLight comes in a laptop/PC and a Palm version, needs the Java Runtime Environment (downloadable here) and all you need do is register to download it.
The interface is straightforward - the Heisig keyword is given and a blank pallet enables you to write the kanji using a mouse or touchpad. Click the "Check" button and the kanji itself appears - compare it with what you wrote on the pallet and then mark yourself correct or not. A "Note" button allows you to add comments - for example you can write your particular story for that kanji - and saves automatically on quitting. Click the "Stroke order" button and see the kanji drawn as a small animation.
KanjiGymLight is the perfect companion to Remembering the Kanji - so long as you have access to your computer you don't need to lug around flashcards, but you will have to enter the mnemonic story for each kanji manually - hey, if all the stories, elements etc were included you wouldn't need to buy the book! Cheaper than WriteKanji, comes in English, German and French versions, works on both PCs and Macs and put togther by Jim Heisig himself. A must have. Just add time and effort....
E-J/J-E dictionaries are wonderful beasts but not all of them provide examples of words in context - and we all know that based on the principle of "a little knowledge...." if you only know the literal definition of a word you are almost guaranteed to screw up the first time you attempt to use that word in conversation. Enter the Space ALC website which has a nifty 和英・英和 dictionary bar at the top of its home page. The dictionary is powered by Eijiro, which means that searches return not only a definition but (usually) a slew of sentences using the word in question. Now all you have to do is remember the new sentence...
How many words do you know in Japanese? Take the 語彙数推定テスト (Vocabulary Assessment Test) and find out. You will be presented with a list of 50 words - just tick the boxes next to the ones you know (be honest!) and based on how many of these representative words you know the page will spit out an assessment of your vocabulary. Compare your score with the vocabulary of an average Japanese student:
Another reason to migrate to Firefox - rikaichan, from Polarcloud.com , is a Firefox extension that displays a popup showing
the English definition of Japanese words as your cursor passes over them. Enabled/disabled with a simple right mouse-click rikaichan is the perfect companion when you browse the 新聞、朝日新聞 or 日経新聞 online. But there's more. Installing rikaichan puts a Lookup a Word item in the Tool menu - click it and a dictionary search box appears in your browser navbar. Sweet. rikaichan was based on Todd Rudick's excellent RikaiXUL, but is faster and easier to use. It uses the EDICT and KANJIDICT dictionaries. Download it today.