Hello friends! It’s good to be back after the winter holidays! As I mentioned, I took a break from blogging to try some hardcore Japanese-ing! I wanted to make December all about action rather than theory or preparation. The best way to explain is of course with photos!
Switching entirely to iOS for my mobile platform has been very beneficial for my immersion environment. The biggest reason is that the interface (and many apps) can be set to Japanese. This is something I haven’t seen yet on any Android phone in Canada. Even the few tablets I’ve seen that can be in Japanese rarely extends this feature to the apps. I’ve found a plethora of games that can be played in Japanese, and in the case of certain ones like SquareEnix’s titles, sometimes that’s even its native language. This has been a great change for my immersion environment and ensures even more Japanese at all times!
iKnow.jp is one of the greatest things I’ve ever come across, thanks to our faithful reader Daniru. I’m sure it’s nothing new to some readers, as it’s related to the previous smart.fm website. I’ve been told by veterans of the service that it’s come a long way, and it really shows. It’s a paid service that provides a decent trial beforehand. To me, it’s worth every penny twice over. It’s available on the web, Android, and iOS and automatically syncs across devices. There’s so much I like about it, that I think it’s time to break out the bullet points:
- I was immediately sold when the first thing it did was give me a placement test. The lack of this was the biggest downfall on similar services that I’ve tried. It put me into the Core 3000 which the 3rd level of the 6000 most common Japanese words. This means not having to relearn hundreds if not thousands of words you already know.
- On that note, if you do come across a word you already know, or maybe just don’t find all that useful, you can mark it off. You can actually do this en masse before starting a new section to make it that much more effective.
- As an aside, I actually like it far better on iOS rather than on the PC, to the point where I use it exclusively on my mobile devices.
- Every single word has at least one example sentence with a full audio reading by native speakers.
- You’re tested multiple ways on the same word, including meaning in both directions (J>E & E>J), kanji reading, listening, and spelling.
- What kinds of testing you get is very customizable. You can turn off certain kinds of testing if you don’t find it useful, and when it comes to typing you can either do it via full keyboard, or pick each character from a multiple choice interface (which is great on a smaller phone screen.)
Manga collections like CoroCoro are something I like to describe as bulk manga. These are relatively inexpensive manga collections (compared to たんこばん) that are printed on lower quality paper (still better than newspaper though) and are very thick (they can exceed 700 pages at times.) They’re for a younger audience, so there’s always ふりがな. The content can be anything from Pokémon to card game manga, and there are quite a few ads that I actually find equally entertaining, since they tend to be about stuff I like, such as video games or figures. I got a few of these types of manga from J-List including a 4-panel collection which is great for browsing. Like I say it can be a cheaper way to get some manga into your collection than buying whole series, so please enjoy!
Last but not least for this post, I want to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year! May 2013 be the year your dreams come true!