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Kanjilish- Learn Japanese and Kanji While Reading English

In the last few years there have been quite a few tools coming out to help students learn Japanese. One of my favorites is Rikaichan. Rikaichan is an add-on for Firefox that will give you the readings and definitions for Japanese characters when you mouse over them. It is a great tool for anyone learning Japanese or for someone who wants to read a Japanese website.

But what about a way to learn Japanese when you are reading websites in English? That’s where Kanjilish comes in. It is another add-on for Firefox that, when active, changes the first letter of English words into the equivalent Japanese Kanji. For example, the word “new” will become “新ew”.

Now to be honest I wasn’t really thrilled with this idea. I felt it is better to learn Japanese by studying Japanese. However, after a recommendation from @zirchi  on twitter, I gave it a try. It turns out it is a great way to review the meanings of Kanji and a great companion to Remember the Kanji.

Kanjilish gives you options of which word meanings you would like to choose based on a few popular systems, Kanji in Context, Remembering the Kanji, KanjiDic, and remembering Traditional Hanzi.

The only bad thing I have to say about it, is that it does require slightly longer for pages to load. Not ridiculously long, but longer.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Combined with Remembering the Kanji and Rikaichan, I think it’s a pretty good tool for learning Japanese.


Japanese Words with Sound

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The open old book - the dictionary on a white ...

One of the main focus of Japanese Words has always been about learning new Japanese words. In the beginning you need to know a certain number of words to communicate in Japanese and as you get to a more advanced level you will need to more words to express more complex ideas and feelings.

Today I stumbled across a site that has a number of common Japanese words such as numbers, colors, common Japanese phrases, animals, and other Japanese vocabulary. They also have sound.

You can check out the Japanese page here. In case you are studying another language as well, you can find other languages here.

Good luck and let me know what you think!

Rikaikun (Rikaichan for Chrome)

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I have written about Rikaichan before and how it is one of my favorite tools for reading and learning Japanese. It allows even a someone with a basic understanding of Japanese to read like a pro. Well, for all those who use Google’s chrome, a port has been made called Rikaikun.

Since the current release of Chrome doesn’t handle plugins you will need to install the beta. It will ask you to do this if you try and install the plugin.  Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’ve got it downloaded and it seems to work just fine. In fact it was easier than Rikaichan because all I needed to do was one click.

Rikaikun Plugin

Getting Back on Track with Japanese (and Japanese Words)

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Closeup portrait of a young woman holding a st...

Over the last month I have been pretty busy with a number of things including the holiday season, working as a volunteer diver to remove おにひとで (devil starfish) to protect the coral, and just work in general that have kept me away from my Japanese study. It has also caused me to write less on Japanese Words. Though I hate to admit it, I have barely touched Anki in over 3 weeks (at this point I am almost afraid to look).

On the good side, this is actually a good topic on Japanese study to cover.

I have mentioned before that it is best  if you can study at least a little bit every day. However, no matter how diligent I am, there are times when I tend to miss my study for one reason or another. So what should you do when you get off track?

The first step is to realize that you will get off track. Once you realize this you will be able to plan for it. Basically, create a back up plan. If you miss a day you will study an additional 10 minutes each day for a week. Or if you like, and can find the time, you could do a longer intensive session. Study an additional hour tomorrow. Just be careful not to burn yourself out.

If you are unable to study for a longer period of time, then try to substitute your regular study with something you can do. Watch movies in Japanese, read Japanese on the internet during your break, download some Japanese podcasts to play in your mp3 player or listen to them while you drive to work.

In my case, I am living in Japan and use Japanese on a daily basis. And while I prefer to study each day, I do get a lot of “Japanese time” even if I am not studying. By volunteering for the diving I have exchanged some study time for some speaking practice.

One last piece of advice is to continue to put Japanese words in Anki (or whatever you are using to learn new words) even if you don’t have the time to study. This will help make sure that you don’t forget and keep growing your list.

And of course, if you have been putting off your study, then there is no better time to start than now! I guess that goes for me too!

Let me know if you have any special methods that you use to keep yourself on track and how they work out for you.

Learning Hiragana and Katakana

Background - an ancient volumetric Japanese re...

The second Japanese class on Edufire ended today and Eri had a lot of fun teaching it. Thank all of those who attended. I hope you enjoyed the classes and learned some new Japanese.

Eri has posted a couple new classes as well. One for those wanting to learn to read and write Japanese (hiragana and katakana) and another class for practicing conversational speaking (this class is limited in size so if you are interested I recommend you sign up soon). You can find the classes here:

Japanese classes

For those serious about learning Japanese, learning hiragana and katakana as fast as possible is very important to not only reading Japanese, but for pronouncing it correctly as well. The sooner you get away from the English alphabet the better.

In the class, Eri will be showing you the correct way to pronounce the characters and how to write them. The class will be recorded, so those attending can watch it over and over again for review.

If you already know how to write and read the characters, then you are ready to sign up for the conversational class and start speaking Japanese.

Japanese classes

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