I have recently added a new approach in my very slow ascent of the Japanese Language Mountain. After buckling down and learning all of the fifty-two characters in the two phonetic alphabets, I decided to get stuck into the kanji. That’s the characters imported from China. I was working away slowly when I began using a method called ‘Remember the Kanji’ developed by James Heisig. I bought the book and it clicked for me. There is now a website and I have purchased the great little app for my iPod Touch. The kanji are presented in an order that enables one to take their pieces and create stories for one of their meanings. It is amazing how empowering it is to take this first step and then learn the Japanese words associated with the kanji later. On the website, one is able to see some of the more popular stories that people other than the author use. If you like one, you can ‘star’ it. Here is an example of one that I like. The kanji with the meaning “leaf” is made up of parts representing ‘flower’, ‘generation’ and ‘tree’. Here is the story that I chose from suggestions on the website. “The flower generation spent far too much time up trees trying to smoke leaves.”
I have some applications for my Macbook and some apps for my iPod Touch that I use for studying Japanese. In this post, I’ll tell you about the apps that I use on my Touch.
The first that pops to mind is called Kanji Fuda. It has sixteen tiles and when you touch a tile it flips to reveal a kanji (chinese based characters) or the meaning in English and Kana. If two match, they stay up. Otherwise, they turn back over and you have to search. It’s a great game. Helping me to refresh my memory and learn some new kanji. Right now the number of kanji is limited but the creator is going to post more.
Next is sticky study. A flashcard app for studying hiragana and katakana. The two phonetic alphabets used in conjunction with the kanji. My hiragana is pretty good, but, my katakana has a ways to go.
For a more full on study, I use an app called Japanese Flip. It is a flash card program with the Kanji arranged in four levels. You can have the kanji show by itself or with kana below it. I have it set for both. You then tap to show the answer. You tap to indicate if you were correct in your answer. It keeps track of your answers to present you with the ones that you missed more often.