Monday, March 17, 2008


mne·mon·ics [ni-mon-iks] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun (used with a singular verb) the process or technique of improving or developing the memory.

Or you could say, "How do you remember that?"

A discussion of kanji and the various ways that *I* remember them!

賛 as in '賛成' (さんせい). You will need to zoom in on this kanji (Rikaichan will work wonders in that department). When I look at this kanji, for whatever odd reason, the top part resembles sparkling eyes and the lower portion a smiling mouth. This is the face your father or mother might show you when they're happy about something you've done, and the kanji means something very close to this.

老 as in '老いる' (おいる). For me, the lower portion is all it takes to conjure up the correct meaning. The lower stroke curves down and right giving me the impression that this kanji is weathered with age. And funny enough, it means 'old, aged'.

誌 as in '雑誌' (ざっし). A three-part tear down for recognition: the left side is '言う' or 'to say', so we know this has to do with literature or speaking. The upper right is 土 for 'ground, soil, earth' giving us 'words on the ground' or 'words on the street'. The next is 心 for 'heart', but it means heart more in the metaphysical sense of 'emotional stuff' in this context. Put them all together: street words near to your heart. 雑誌 happens to mean 'magazine'. What better place to find a bunch of words sold on the street that are near to your heart? 誌 can mean 'magazine' on it's own in fact ~

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Here is another grammar point from my favorite book (not):


And an example sentence for kicks:


I can't find a good English translation for this. My best effort is:

The Shinkansen, along with all other forms of transportation, are stopped due to the snow.

My wife (bless her) explained it to me in using chocolate:


Which loosely can be translated as:

Girls like sweets, but chocolate comes first.

Or something like that.

If anyone has any hard translation for をはじめとする please comment and let's all learn!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Welp, I got my iPhone. Yay!

The first thing that I did was try to find some software applications or websites to help me study Kanji on the go.

One of my favorites for my old PDA was King Kanji from Gakusoft. That application kept me company on my 40-minute commute to and from work in Japan. I would draw the characters and take the little tests until my eyes bled. I passed though.

So what is a student of Japanese supposed to do without a stylus? However will we learn the stroke order without practice?

So far, I've been unable to locate any meaningful Japanese writing utility for the iPhone.

I did find the useful iChinese application posted on TUAW - but I'm not studying Chinese, so it's a step off to the left.

I contacted the creator of iChinese and asked him if it was feasible to create the same application with the 常用 set broken down into the various levels. I went a step further and said I'd pay him good money to come up with a Lookup-by-Kanji method for searching a dictionary instead of by radical. Now *that* would be useful.

He got back to me a couple of times with questions and I gave him all the links I could find. Hopefully he'll come back with something brilliant soon.

The most useful app for studying Japanese that i can find so far is Kanjiroushi. You should check it out. It leaves a bit to be desired from a navigation standpoint, and the mock-tests aren't very good for meaning, but it definitely helps you figure out the on-yomi and kun-yomi on-the-fly and has a fairly usable dictionary lookup utility.