Lots of Free VSTs in the March DTM Magazine

 Japanese Language, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Lots of Free VSTs in the March DTM Magazine
Feb 122015
 

The March issue of DTM Magazine, a Japanese electronic music magazine, boasts 122 free VSTs. They do a good job breaking them down by 32/64-bit, plugin type, and OS. BUT! You need to know how to read Japanese. If you can do that, click on to the rest of the article.

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Kindle Paperwhite: Powerful for Japanese Study

 Education, Foreign Languages, Japan, Japanese Language, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on Kindle Paperwhite: Powerful for Japanese Study
Jun 052014
 

I finally bit the bullet and bought a second Kindle Paperwhite, this time for my Japanese language library. And I don’t regret it one bit. It has become an incredibly powerful tool for improving my Japanese, because I read more books, faster, with the Paperwhite than I have with any other reading platform.

And I’ve tried a bunch of different ways to read Japanese books.

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N1, Take Three

 Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on N1, Take Three
Dec 012013
 

Another year, another N1. I feel okay about how I did. If I passed or failed, I’m sure it was close either way. (I hope I passed!) In general, I’m going to focus more on writing to improve my Japanese, as well as reading “meatier” stuff, like literature, as opposed to light novels. That sort of thing. Heading home tomorrow morning. Also, my hotel room is creepy.

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Celebrating Pocky Day in Manhattan

 Food, Japanese Language, Photography, Travel  Comments Off on Celebrating Pocky Day in Manhattan
Nov 112013
 

I spent Pocky Day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then went to Kinokuniya. Dinner was with friends in Greenwich Village. Tomorrow I go back home. It’s supposed to snow.

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Oct 212013
 

Man, that was nerve-wracking. Part two of the A+ exam was trickier than I thought it would be. I know a lot of this stuff just because I’ve been messing around with computers all my life. I’ve built every computer I’ve used for the last 20 years. (Except for laptops.) But if you ask me

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Miku 3.0 Bundle

 Japan, Japanese Language, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Miku 3.0 Bundle
Sep 192013
 

Crypton announced a great deal for people who own previous version of one of their Vocaloid sound banks, but getting it at that attractive price took a few extra steps. Still, it’s a great deal, and using a forwarding service, it’s pretty easy to get. (If you know Japanese!)

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Anki Assault / Piano Practice

 Education, Japanese Language, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Anki Assault / Piano Practice
Sep 102013
 

I’m dumping tons of new content into Anki now, which I’ve finally upgraded to 2.0. The upgrade wasn’t that bad. And I’ll need it for the N1 and A+ exams. Greenshot and e.Typist are making my exam prep a lot easier, too, helping me OCR stuff and dump it into Anki. Also, the piano class is a lot of fun.

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Music School

 Education, Music, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on Music School
Sep 032013
 

This fall is going to be hectic. I’m going to take a couple of music classes at UNC’s new Community Music School. I’ll also be preparing for the N1, and getting ready for the Boston Career Forum by getting my A+ certification. Somewhere in there, I’m going to need time to breathe!

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Progress Report

 Art, Japanese Language, Music, News, Photography, Technology  Comments Off on Progress Report
Jul 252013
 

I bring up a lot of ideas for personal projects… so what’s going on with them? Well, some are moving forward, and some are on the shelf for now. GTD helps me figure out what I have the energy and time to work on, and what I don’t.

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3D and 2D Resources for Blender, Metasequoia, Inkscape, and Sketchbook

 Art, Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on 3D and 2D Resources for Blender, Metasequoia, Inkscape, and Sketchbook
Mar 122013
 

I picked up some Japanese books on using Blender and Metasequoia to help me get a better handle on those two programs. I also started working on improving my 2D drawing skills, because the 3D stuff was looking somewhat “bleh.” I tried Autodesk’s Sketchbook, and it’s okay. I fell in love with the open-source vector graphics program Inkscape.

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Working on My Japanese

 Education, Japanese Language  Comments Off on Working on My Japanese
May 012012
 

I met up with my first Japanese teacher from when I was a grad student about ten years ago. A-sensei is a great person who will always help a former student out, and I really appreciate it. We had a nice chat and she’s going to connect me with some local folks to talk to.

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Keeping Up My Yamasa Momentum

 Japanese Language  Comments Off on Keeping Up My Yamasa Momentum
Jan 252012
 

I’ve been back from Japan for a month now, and I’m worried. Worried that my Japanese is going to rust and fall apart, because I don’t have much of a chance to use it here. So I’m getting into high gear to find a way to keep it going.

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Sayonara, Yamasa, Sayonara, Okazaki. Tadaima, Tokyo.

 Japan, Japanese Language, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Sayonara, Yamasa, Sayonara, Okazaki. Tadaima, Tokyo.
Dec 162011
 
Sayonara, Yamasa, Sayonara, Okazaki. Tadaima, Tokyo.

A whirlwind of a day as I thanked everyone at Yamasa during the closing ceremony, had lunch with all of my classmates and said goodbye, then rushed to finish packing and got out of town. I made it to Tokyo and passed out in my favorite hotel in Shinjuku.

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Last Trip to Anjo

 Japan, Japanese Language, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Last Trip to Anjo
Dec 142011
 
Last Trip to Anjo

Today was the last big testing day. I forgot to attach a file I was sending to one of my teachers, so I had to race home at lunch to send it. There was an earthquake in class, too. After class, I went to the calligraphy store in Anjo, where everyone was really nice again. I bought more packing materials at the Daiso, and frantically packed until 2 a.m. Oof.

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Calligraphy Lesson

 Japan, Japanese Language  Comments Off on Calligraphy Lesson
Dec 052011
 

Today was my first calligraphy lesson in Japan. I’ve been doing it for about five years in the US, but I’ve never had a chance to study it here. It was a lot of fun. Thanks to the teacher’s info, I’ll probably go to Toyohashi this weekend for supplies.

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First Night in Kyoto

 Food, Japan, Japanese Language, Photography, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on First Night in Kyoto
Nov 252011
 
First Night in Kyoto

I made it to Kyoto; discovered a few things about buying shinkansen tickets, ate some delicious food in Kyoto, and some not-so-delicious food.

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Okazaki-jo and Anjo

 Japan, Japanese Language, Photography, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Okazaki-jo and Anjo
Nov 202011
 
Okazaki-jo and Anjo

The Tokugawa theme continues from yesterday, when I did some local Tokugawa-related sightseeing today. I visited Okazaki Castle and the Ieyasu and Mikawa Bushido Museum, then went to Anjo to pick up some calligraphy supplies. This time, I took pictures!

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Not to Brag, But I Think I Did Well on My Tests…

 Japan, Japanese Language  Comments Off on Not to Brag, But I Think I Did Well on My Tests…
Nov 172011
 

The writing and conversation exams went pretty well. Even now, though, I still have a lot to learn about Yamasa. Today in JBPP, we covered job interviews and all of the things that need to be done the proper way.

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Makes Me Want to Eat My Phone!

 Japan, Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on Makes Me Want to Eat My Phone!
Nov 132011
 

I went back to Nagoya for more wandering around. I found an international market that sells oatmeal, and some fake plastic candy to stick on my phone. I also found the dictionary I’ve been looking for!

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And So It Begins…

 Foreign Languages, Japan, Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on And So It Begins…
Oct 122011
 

Finally! My real first day of class! I still feel like hell, but my fever is gone, so I didn’t really have an excuse to stay home and lounge around. Besides, we’re on the fast track here at Yamasa. Every day I miss is like missing 3-4 days of Japanese at a univeristy. Keeping up

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We’re Not Through Orientating Yet!

 Japan, Japanese Language  Comments Off on We’re Not Through Orientating Yet!
Oct 062011
 

More orientation today, and the 入学式 (nyuugakushiki, or school entrance ceremony.) We got a lot of info about various things, what to do, what not to do, and we introduced ourselves in Japanese. What I said before about this being the UN of Japanese Language Education? I’m serious. We have a bunch of different countries

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Off to Japan! (Wait, Didn’t I Use This One Before?)

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Off to Japan! (Wait, Didn’t I Use This One Before?)
Sep 262011
 

It’s 3:30 a.m. Saturday, September 24th Sunday, September 25th. The driver is going to be here in an hour and fifteen minutes, and I’m trying to close my humongous Samsonite 29″ suitcase. My plan was to have a giant suitcase big enough to stuff Jimmy Hoffa into, but slim enough to fit nicely behind the

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JLPT Pass!

 Japanese Language  Comments Off on JLPT Pass!
Sep 232011
 

As part of my trip to Japan to study at Okazaki, an important part of my plan is to take either the N2 again (if I failed it) or N1 (if I passed it.) The deadline to apply is 9/30/11, and by 9/16, I still didn’t have my results from London. I guess going over

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Going Back to Okazaki.

 Japan, Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on Going Back to Okazaki.
Aug 162011
 

I mentioned earlier that I was dissatisfied with the way my Japanese was progressing when I took the JLPT N2 last month. After talking to Michele, I realized that I have completely neglected my spoken/written Japanese in order to prepare for the N2, which tests neither skill. I considered my options seriously, and realized that

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Wandering Around Piccadilly Circus

 Food, Great Britain, Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on Wandering Around Piccadilly Circus
Jul 052011
 

My first stop today was Piccadilly Circus, where there’s a neat used Japanese book store called Adanami. It’s in an old dry cleaner’s, and when I got there, I could still see the old dry cleaner’s sign. I got there just a little too early, because they were still closed. They open at noon, and

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More Stupid Anki Tricks– Using the G15 Keyboard.

 Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on More Stupid Anki Tricks– Using the G15 Keyboard.
May 052011
 

I don’t know how many Anki users are out there with Logitech G15 series gaming keyboards (mine is one of the older ones), but yes, they do work with Anki. And by that I mean that you can program the G-keys to do all the answering dirty work for you, just as you would with

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Apr 022011
 

This is something I stumbled upon last fall while trying to find an easier way to go through a ton of Anki reviews in a short period of time. I mentioned it on the Reviewing the Kanji forums somewhere, but I never posted it here. Well, here it is for posterity’s sake. Problem: Using the

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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: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.adamrocker.android.input.simeji 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

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Updates on Learning Japanese, Word Lists, and iPhone stuff

 Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on Updates on Learning Japanese, Word Lists, and iPhone stuff
Feb 012010
 

Things have been hectic. I decided to start taking JLPT exam prep classes offered at the NC Japan Center, and I find that that has been helping me to focus on acquiring new vocabulary and grammar. For some reason or another, I had gotten a bit bogged down doing the self-study thing. Maybe it’s just

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Turning Your iPhone Into a 電子辞書 (Denshi Jisho)

 Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on Turning Your iPhone Into a 電子辞書 (Denshi Jisho)
Oct 132009
 

So what’s a 電子辞書 (denshi jisho)? Japanese for “electronic dictionary,”  it’s a gizmo that’s really handy if you’re learning Japanese. They’re usually full of all different kinds of dictionaries, and now they have things like a drawing pad where you can draw a kanji on the pad, and they will (usually) recognize the kanji you

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Great iPhone Japanese Dictionary

 Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on Great iPhone Japanese Dictionary
Oct 032009
 

I was looking for a good portable dictionary for my iPhone, and I’ve found a couple of programs. One is great, one is free. If you’re going to use either one of these, make sure you install the Japanese keyboard and the Chinese Traditional “draw the kanji” keyboard on your iPhone, and take the time

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A Secret to Japanese Language Success: Post Less, Study More

 Japanese Language  Comments Off on A Secret to Japanese Language Success: Post Less, Study More
Aug 112009
 

I’ve gotten a lot of great advice and tips from reading all kinds of message boards and blogs, but to be honest, I think the best lesson I’ve learned is that eventually, you just have to stop drinking the bathwater and start getting things done. When I saw the 999th iteration of the same general

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Jul 272009
 

After seeing this post by Vosmiura on the RtK forums, I’m going to try Iversen’s method of learning lists of vocabulary before entering them into Anki. I’m not usually obsessed with getting particularly high pass rates or having high long-term retention percentages (mine is already around 96%), but I have been noticing lately that there

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How I Learn Japanese (Now) (part 2) SRS and You.

 Japanese Language  Comments Off on How I Learn Japanese (Now) (part 2) SRS and You.
Aug 282008
 

I want to talk about SRSing today, because it’s the one item that is overemphasized and underutilized at the same time. Using an SRS is a process that demands some care and feeding. It’s sort of like having a sick plant. Some people will nurture the thing for a while, it’ll start to get big

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Sayonara, Okazaki; Konbanwa, Kyoto!

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Sayonara, Okazaki; Konbanwa, Kyoto!
Oct 262007
 
Sayonara, Okazaki; Konbanwa, Kyoto!

I’m back in Kyoto, safely out of Okazaki now, although I kind of miss Okazaki. The Sky Is Crying Way Too Much I’m so happy to finally be dry. Why is it whenever I go to Kyoto, it rains? (Does two trips count enough for a “whenever?”) It started this morning, during “The TP incident,”

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Off to Kyoto for the Weekend!

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Off to Kyoto for the Weekend!
Oct 182007
 

I’m still in Okazaki, but I’m leaving for Kyoto in just a few minutes for the weekend. I need to rest for another 5-10 minutes, then I’m heading out. That’s one thing I’ve discovered I have to do– make time to rest. If I don’t, I suffer. Classes are hard. For some reason, the Japanese

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