Monday, November 16, 2009

Japanese Words List

A new words list has just been posted on Japanese words that contains over 1000 common Japanese words and Kanji. The great thing about it is that it is available for both Anki and Mnemosyne. You can find the link below.

Japanese Words List

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Japanese Dictionaries

Yesterday, I listed a number of Japanese study tools I feel are very helpful for learning the Japanese language. Today I figured I would follow that up by another very important list, Japanese dictionaries.

Since we all spend so much time online, all the dictionaries I have listed are online dictionaries. My personal favorite is Denshi Jisho because of it's easy interface, and it's ability to look up words, sentences, and kanji. It is can also easily be accessed from cell phones.

For my non-online dictionary I use Kiten. Kiten is a free dictionary designed to run on linux and works excellent. However, I usually find myself going to Denshi Jisho to look up words.

Here is the list

  • Denshi Jisho- If I had to choose one dictionary, this would be it.
  • WWW.JDIC- Similar to Denshi Jisho, but a different interface.
  • ALC- Site in Japanese. Has some additional options.
  • Goo- Different dictionaries depending on what you are looking for.
  • Weblio- Another dictionary with a lot of search options.
Give them all a try and see which one works best for you. Sometimes, if you can't find a word in one, it will come up in another.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Helpful Tools for Learning Japanese Words

If you are learning Japanese then you need to know a certain amount of Japanese Words in order to communicate. The more words you know the easier and more fluent you will be able to speak Japanese (practicing using them is also important).

Learning all these words can seem like a difficult and never ending task. The problem with standard methods (flash cards, note books, words lists in books) of learning is that you will spend too much time reviewing words you already know and not enough for ones you don't. This not only slows down your progress, but limits the number of Japanese words you can study.

The tools I have listed below, help you learn faster and make studying easier by showing you the appropriate Japanese words or phrases at the appropriate times. They make studying Japanese easier and funner.

  • Anki- A flash card program designed specifically for Japanese that tracks which cards you know and shows you the right ones at the right time.
  • Smart FM- Similar to Anki, but with a more advanced algorithm and more pre-made materials available. Can only be used online.
  • Mnemosyne- A flash card program similar to Anki, but with a slightly different algorithm and interface (I personally perfer Anki).
  • Reviewing the Kanji- An website set up specifically to help you learn the kanji using Heisig's Remembering the Kanji book.
  • Read the Kanji- A website that helps you learn to read and type kanji. Since each kanji or word is in a sentence you will also learn grammar as well.
  • JapanesePod101- Learn Japanese words through actual conversation.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Typhoon in Southern Japan

Over the last few days we have had a typhoon here in Miyakojima. Typhoon season for southern Japan usually start in August and runs through till about September. It wasn't a huge one (about 78mph), but it was certainly large enough to pull out trees and to knock fields of sugar cane (a very durable crop) on it's side.

The house that I am staying in held up without any problem. We did have water being forced in through some of the sliding windows, but that was about it.

The thing I didn't think of, or at least wouldn't have if friends didn't tell me, was how the food supply in stores disappears. Miyakojima is a small island of Okinawa, and while a lot of vegetables and fruits are grown here, most of the major stores carry stuff that comes from outside the island. Since it usually arrives via ship, and ships couldn't dock due to the typhoon, that meant almost no fresh vegetables and perishable goods.

Below are some of the pictures I took today when visiting the super market.

This was the milk shelf. Only the local brands and the "fake milk" was left.

Not much left on the rest of the dairy shelves either.

Or on the cold shelf at all!

So if you are every in an area where you have natural disasters then be sure to think ahead and be prepared. For those who plan on traveling to Japan or living here, it is important to be aware of the different types of disasters that can happen. Earthquakes and typhoons don't happen everyday, but they are also not rare so it is best to be prepared with food and water.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hard To Believe This Is Japan

Here is Miyakojima we are finally coming out of Rainy season and the weather has been sunny and Great weather combined with friends coming to visit from the mainland has meant that we have been getting outside quite a bit.

Probably the most common comment I constantly hear from friends is that they can't believe this is Japan. And if you have ever been to the mainland (especially somewhere like Tokyo) then this really doesn't seem like Hawaii. In fact, the culture of Miyakojima, a small island of Okinawa is a bit different. The Japanese language is spoken here, but there is also a very strong dialect spoken by the older generation. There are also some Japanese characters not used in the regular Japanese alphabet. If I had to explain the culture I would say it is a mix between Japanese and Chinese.

Anyways, here are some pics to backup this claim.

At Maehama Beach in front of Kurimajima Bridge

Sanshin (traditional three string instrument of Okinawa) live

Ikemajima at low tide

Nemo (formely known as the clown fish) enjoying it's home

Sunset at the pier nearest to my house.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Underwater pictures of Miyakojima, Japan

I have been pretty busy here in Miyakojima. The weather has been absolutely beautiful (even though we are technically in rainy season) and I have been trying to get to the beach as often as possible. In addition, I have started learning the sanshin and am also reviewing what looks to be a great book for learning kanji (more on that in a future post). Today is all about pictures.

My digital camera of three years broke a couple of months ago, and today it's replacement arrived, a Pentax Optio W60. I looked at a lot of cameras, but this was the only one that had all of the features I wanted. (or at least as close as I could get with one camera). It is waterproof up to 12 feet, has a 5x zoom that is operable while shooting video, a decent macro setting, shoots HD quality video. Basically all the things I wish the last camera have.

Today I put it to the test by taking it snorkeling at Nagamahama on the small island of Kurimajima. Now I don't know that much about cameras, so I can't give you a lot of details. What I can say is that it worked flawless for what I bought it for. It's amazing what a $200 camera can do!

Anyways, on to the pictures. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Nagama Beach

As you can see we hit it at low tide

Once we got past the Reef it got a little deeper

The local group of clown fish

Little closer shot using the zoom

Here is the video I took. I noticed afterwords there was an underwater video setting. Oh well, next time.

I was surprised how well the camera was able to get good shots of small fish

I think I used the macro for this coral shot, but honestly can't remember

This shot of a hermit crab is using the macro

Fresh flowers at the local cafe

More vegetation at the cafe

Pink hibiscus

There's even papayas

Carmel Vanilla Sundae

Yup, I don't think it gets much better than this

After I got back home, I took a walk to the nearest port and there were fisherman practicing rowing for an upcoming matsuri (festival)

A great sunset (actually it was a bit cloudy) to a great day!

Let me know what you think!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pictures of Miyakojima, Japan

I have been here in Miyakojima for about 7 months now and am pretty well settled in. The weather is getting much better now that we are hitting mid May and the ocean is gorgeous. My Camera broke about a month ago due to the number of times it was accidentally dropped, so I haven't been taking a ton of pictures lately. I am still looking for a good replacement that will shoot decent shots and has a good zoom. I am also looking at models that will allow me to take it into the water and also ones that have hd video available. If you have any recommendations please let me know.

In the meantime, I started taking a few shots with my cell phone. It doesn't have a zoom and the megapixels aren't that high, but for small shots it actually does pretty good. Anyways, here are some of the photos I have taken in the last months.

I have also posted some videos of some traditional Okinawan songs and taiko as well as hula dancing that was performed at Tokyu resort hotel on Japanese Words. You can find the the videos as the link below.

Okinawan Dancing and Hula Music

Maehama beach at Sunset

Candle lit dinner at Maehama beach

Maguro-don lunch at Tanto

Sunayama Beach

Official opening of the ocean day. It was kind of funny, because they basically closed it off to open it.

Okinawan taiko at Tokyu Resort

Looking at Maehama beach from Ikema island

Pond in the middle of the "compact" golf course at Tokyu resort.

Maehama beach in front of Tokyu Resort

Maehama beach on a sunny day

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

1000+ Japanese Words List with Kanji

For everyone learning Japanese, here the below link goes to a website containing a Japanese words list containing nearly 1300 mostly common Japanese words. Enjoy!

Japanese words list