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:

I Have Joined the Robot Army.

 Technology, Travel  Comments Off on I Have Joined the Robot Army.
Jul 182010

The main reason for the switch was that AT&T said that Apple won’t let me unlock the iPhone I spent 2 years paying for on contract. Okay, fine. I can’t fight you, but I can never buy your stupid phones again.

Then AT&T told me “unlimited” wasn’t in their vocabulary anymore.


So now I’m using a Nexus One on T-Mobile, with a month-to-month unlimited plan that’s the same cost as my old AT&T plan. We’ll see how long it lasts.

I’ve had the Nexus One (I’m going to call it the N1 from here on out) for a little while now, and I must say that it’s a great little phone. Unlocked, it cost about $550 US (ouch), but it’s a real trooper.

I got it unlocked to avoid more contracts–that $300 you save up front isn’t worth the $2000 you pay on the contract–and so that I could use SIM cards from other carriers when I travel overseas.

The main reason for picking the N1 was that as a Google developer phone, Google will roll out updates to it relatively quickly.

It comes with a stock version of Android, with nothing skinned over it, and that also means faster OS updates as well.

It also means that it doesn’t come with any bloatware.

There are some limitations: the onboard memory is small. Google’s own apps are not movable to SD for some reason they do not wish to divulge, so the onboard memory is always crammed full, and I’m already getting low memory warnings.

It supports up to a 32GB microSD, so that’s one thing in its favor.

Also, the touchpad tracking is a little off. This can cause great consternation at inopportune moments. Like when I’m driving and it decides to wipe out my route. Thanks for nothing.

Finally, no stock Japanese keyboard for non-Japanese phones.

But really, those are the only complaints I have about the phone, and they really are minor, because in every other area, it saves me so much hassle, it’s not even funny.

Google Maps is total lifesaver. There’s nothing on the iPhone that comes close.

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