Android Apps For Japanese Learners

 Japan, Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on Android Apps For Japanese Learners
Apr 012011

If you’re going to go Android for Japanese first you need a keyboard. I like Simeji. It’s ugly, but very useful… and really, the only good choice out there, to be honest:

Also, if you like to add Japanese-style emoticons, then Kaomoji List is a great add-on to Simeji. It’s activated through the “mushroom button” on Simeji’s keyboard:

If you want to draw kanji by hand, then I recommend HanWriting IME:

For a dictionary, there are a couple of options. My preference is DroidWing. It works great with EPWING dictionaries (just create an EPWING directory on your SDCard) and with web searches, if you know what search strings to use. You can search multiple dictionaries all at once, which is powerful.:

If you just want EDICT, then it’s hard to beat Aedict. It’s free:

Vertical Text Viewer is great for reading 青空文庫 (aozora bunko) formatted books.  青空文庫 is the Japanese version of Project Gutenberg, only the difference here is that the format they use has become an “underground” standard of a sort. You can even buy books, have them sent to a professional to be scanned professionally, and then format them yourself in 青空文庫 format. (The books get destroyed in the process, though.) Of all of the 青空文庫 readers out there, I like Vertical Text Viewer the most. It has a Mincho font you can download inside the app for extra legibility, and when you press and hold on a word, you can send the word to DroidWing to look it up! VERY handy.

If you’re learning Japanese, chances are, you’re also struggling with a way to remember everything. I hope you’re using an SRS. My favorite SRS is Anki, and there’s a port of Anki for Android, called Ankidroid.

When you’re in Japan, post offices are really useful places for doing 2 things: sending crap home, and getting money for cheap. Finding them, on the other hand, can be tricky. This app claims to do it. (Requires a connection.):

This last app is just cool: the Hyperdia search app– you can use the Hyperdia service to search for ways to get from A駅 to B駅 (A Station to B Station) all over Japan. Of course, these days, that might not work exactly as you think. Also, this requires an online connection to work:

Filling in the Blanks

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Filling in the Blanks
Nov 022007

Okay, I figured out what I’m doing next.

After Osaka it’s Nagano, then Sendai, then Tokyo. I just made the reservations for Nagano and Sendai a little while ago. I’ll deal with Tokyo later.

Nagano is smack in the middle of the Japan Alps, which should be beautiful this time of year, and Sendai has Matsushima, one of the three most beautiful sights of Japan. Miyajima was on that list as well, so I have high expectations for Matsushima.

I know I’ve been going on and on about Beppu, but if I went to Beppu, then I would have had to go all the way back to Kyushu from Osaka, and I don’t like to double-back like that. And it would make the next day’s trip hellishly long. I’m trying to keep train rides under 4 hours, 5 tops. Fukuoka to Osaka is going to be just under 3 hours, which is perfect. It’s enough time to read up on Osaka, but not so long as to be uncomfortable.

Osaka to Nagano is going to be longer, because I have to make a quick stop in Kyoto, but Kyoto is on the way there. And the train from Kyoto to Nagano is a scenic view train, so it should be enjoyable.

I really wanted to go to Hokkaido, but I’ll have to save that for another time. The travel times are just too long there for this trip.

By the way, rocks. It gives you the entire Japan Rail timetable at your fingertips. Click the English button if you can’t speak 日本語, and it will make sense of a sort.

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