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ext23
August 20th, 2008, 15:53
i saw a post in another thread about some homebrew kanji software for the DS...

what official titles/homebrew apps are there for studying japanese on the DS? whether it's grammar, vocab, kanji, anything. is there anything targeted at native english speakers?

please do NOT suggest the kanji dictionary - everyone has it by now and we all know how great it is. post the stuff that you use and have found useful!

Delekii
August 21st, 2008, 20:25
200万人の漢検 is the only thing ive tried, and it's pretty nice. Haven't used it for a while though. You had no Japanese before coming here right? Of course, all of the software is aimed at Japanese people learning more Japanese rather than English people learning Japanese, so it's hard to use much of it without a reasonable base.

ext23
August 22nd, 2008, 10:35
shh, don't tell everyone!

...but you're right. i'm learning though! or...trying to.

so nobody can tell me the names of those homebrew apps?

pinch_me
October 2nd, 2008, 02:20
This comes out pretty soon and is aimed at for English speaking wanting to learn Japanese. It's one of a series which has covered French, German etc

http://www.amazon.com/My-Japanese-Coach-Nintendo-DS/dp/B001BZ8EX8


I will be getting it when it comes out so i will let you know how it is.

jonesinjapan
October 3rd, 2008, 08:38
that looks pretty cool I think i will be picking that up as well.

ext23
October 16th, 2008, 23:58
this was finally released (leaked) recently and it's not bad!

jonesinjapan
October 17th, 2008, 08:32
I found it on the play-asia website, it will be available there on the 20th, so I think i will buy it when it comes out.

pinch_me
November 5th, 2008, 05:33
I've been playing it for a couple of weeks now and it's not bad at all :) The electronic kimono clad woman sometimes does some usual gestures but other than that it's great. It also relies on you practicing outside the game.

One of the major drawbacks i think is that as soon as the game thinks you have "mastered" a word i.e. got it right 3 or four times in the mini games, you can't really practice it any further. Later on in the game, it brings previously learned words into the mini games at random. This means that if you want to really practice for example verbs, there is no opportunity to do so.

Hope this helps!

I Am Quailman
November 10th, 2008, 15:18
What level is that game? Beginners, intermediate, advanced?

kredman
November 13th, 2008, 16:41
It starts from the VERY VERY VERY begining. There is a short quiz at the start that will allow you to skip ahead if your answers are correct, but in all honesty you don't skip that far ahead. I also have the My Spanish Coach, and all it was was a giant vocab lesson. I was worried this would be the same, but it seems to be a little more in depth.

I'm enjoying it so far though...it occupies my time on the subway at least....


Pinch-me: If you select the 'mastered' option and unselect the 'open' option at the begining of a game, you should be able to practice ONLY the words/hiragana and katakana that you have mastered.

enigmaneo
November 27th, 2008, 10:04
I'm buying it as I type this. I hope it's useful.

reed
December 3rd, 2008, 10:27
My Japanese Coach (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Japanese_Coach) is at first blush a useful beginner's guide but a frustrating crutch for anyone already proficient in basic Japanese, and even more of one for brand-new learners since it only teaches you to recognize patterns and not technically learn how to read or interpret. The furthest one may "test ahead" is Lesson 11, which is still very entry level, and there are no options to isolate hiragana, romaji, etc. 3/10

Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanji_Sonomama_Rakubiki_Jiten#Kanji_Sonomama_Rakubiki_Jiten) is the most effective tool I have found for improving my Japanese. It accepts written kanji, hiragana, katakana and English and is basically a DS version of a touch electronic dictionary. Because it is marketed to Japanese, it has a rather high learning curve, but the functions are simple and it's a lifesaving alternative to looking up something online. I fully recommend this dictionary. It can be purchased on Amazon or eBay. 9/10

Eigo ga Nigate series (http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ds/angj/) is also pretty fantastic, again aimed at Japanese, but can be inverted to improve Japanese reading and comprehension skills. It provides simple "games" which give English listening examples and Japanese written translations to challenge users how to SPELL words and phrases. Since it uses extremely common Japanese and has a gentle learning curve it's very easy to get into. My preferred method is to turn off the sound and use the Japanese written prompts to figure out English phrases. Many of the mini-games are timed and impose penalties which are good for legitimizing self-study. There are two generations of this game and I own and play them both regularly. 8/10

Our son speaks NO ENGLISH and so I have a very large library of DS kanji and education games geared toward Japanese which increase Japanese fluency. These are quite challenging -- Nihongo Kentei DS, Nihongo de Asobo, etc. They're really more for ages 13-18, and have difficulty settings for Japanese adults, so my son dislikes them and they're way over my head. But I keep on buying and testing. Even Quiz Magic Academy and seemingly useful study games like TOEIC training are beyond all of us.

But check the links above! The Sonomama dictionary is a great investment!

AliDimayev
December 3rd, 2008, 10:28
Why doesnt your son speak english?

reed
December 3rd, 2008, 10:59
He is Japanese, of course!

He's 10 years old and heading into 5th grade very soon, with increasing responsibility in all areas of study, so we don't push him on English. He'll pick it up or he won't, but I'm unsalvageably disgusted with the Japanese education system and will never, ever subject my son to the kind of language "education" that I'm forced to teach in schools, and which he has no interest in anyway. We will study it together in the USA, if he asks, and he will benefit from real-life use and exposure then, but as long as we're in Japan we speak Japanese. I suddenly sound defensive, don't I! The funny thing is that I met him and my wife when as students at my eikaiwa. And while they continued as students for a while after that, we all felt it was ridiculous, and so real learning happens in much smaller steps, in real ways, at home in private. But I'm combating six hours of school a day and as many as five hours of homework a night, in Japanese, with barely enough energy or stability to even keep the family together. English is one of the least important things these days.

Imagine your father as an oil prospect and rig man. He comes home every day exhausted and dirty and says the business is crap, it's crap, it's so horrible, but it pays the bills. Then imagine you go to work with your dad once a week to "learn the oil biz", and discover that his job is actually mixing black ink with syrup and squirting it on the heads of other people who laugh and swallow and imagine they are making progress. Your dad is spouting ridiculous simple facts about oil, laughing with them, sort of maniacal. Not your dad at all. We felt that way as a family about me "teaching English" to them, and go to lengths to avoid it at home, which means not really doing it in a structural real way either. We're tired. We all pop in Spongebob and then a few episodes of CSI, English dialogue Japanese subtitles, and get more out of that. Then we buy cheap Walmart books aimed at English-speaking 10 year olds, stuff about spiders or snakes, educational stuff that uses simple language but doesn't treat its audiences like fools. His comprehension is always higher than I expect. I don't translate when we do this stuff. Well, okay, I do sometimes. But it's more for me.
:kaos_chi_xmas3:

How did this get so long?!

AliDimayev
December 3rd, 2008, 11:59
But you speak English. Did you not live with your son or something?

enigmaneo
December 10th, 2008, 13:21
I received My Japanese Coach, it kind of sucks but it keeps me busy. It helps learn new words, but I haven't gotten to the kanji part. That's frustrating since I really didn't need to relearn hiragana or katakana. I was surprised to find a few new words I didn't know. It wasn't horribly expensive so I'm happy with my purchase. The games are kind of fun and will keep me busy on the train.

Lee
January 6th, 2009, 23:27
was definitely thinking about buying a DS lite to supplant both boredom and my total lack of Japanese....but now I'm rethinking it? i might get the My Japanese Coach since I have no basic understanding of Japanese and to convince myself to drop that much on a DS.

so a few questions:

- DS lite or DSi?
- If I get a DS lite should I order from amazon or buy it here in Japan? I don't know if there's something I should be wary of in regards to the technology..
- Would it be a good and useful tool to learn Japanese with?

aidee
January 7th, 2009, 06:17
I just got a DS lite for Christmas, and My Japanese Coach.

I obviously can't speak to how useful My Japanese Coach is because I have nearly no experience with Japanese, but I do know that the lessons are pretty interesting and combine reading, pronunciation and writing of the hiragana and katakana. There are lots of games to drill you, and while I hate the excessive romaji, once you get a little further along you can unlock some writing games that drill you on the hiragana and katakana writings of various words and sounds. For someone like me, who has not yet learned hiragana and katakana, this is extremely useful. I just wish they had a tool that straight-up drilled the alphabet, though I admit seeing the words they're used in is also helpful.

It starts you off by making a profile and giving you a quiz. You have a set amount of time to answer as many multiple choice questions as you can. If you miss two in a row, it stops you right then. Once you're done, it comes up with a placement level for you. By pure guessing and peripheral knowledge, I managed to get to lesson 5 (Days of the Week!), but I have been going back and working from lesson 1 as well

As it goes along, it introduces little grammatical points using the words you've been drilling. The early sections are pretty simple -- numbers up to 15, colors, days of the week -- but it's still a little overwhelming to me since I'm still starting. Already learning how to say "green car" and "Tomorrow is Friday". :P

It's expensive for a little DS game, but I think it's pretty useful for people who are just starting out. If you know more Japanese, well... can't tell you a thing about it. :p

xoxobra
January 7th, 2009, 09:52
I find My Japanese Coach to be pretty useful so far. I'm a complete beginner, but the lessons seem to be sticking so far.

The only thing I hate about it is how you can't practice the words you've mastered unless you go to each and every individual lesson. It seems to give you the option to practice mastered words only, but for some reason it never works for me. So once I earn enough points to unlock a new lesson, even if I haven't opened the lesson yet, all of the games will include the new words that I haven't learned yet and I'm all "sheeiit why can't this game be smart enough to realize I don't know what that means yet!"

Atalante
January 7th, 2009, 13:55
I'll swear on Kanji Kanken 2, it might be a common name but it's made by Rocket Company. If you want to learn kanji with no BS or hand-holding, this game helps. That game taught me a shitload of kanji, although I would recommend playing it with a dictionary so you actually know what it means.

There's also the Kageyama method game, which is a little more hand-holding. You go through each grade level, learn stroke order, and then practice the readings for each one. Much easier than Kanken, but I didn't find it to be as effective.

AliDimayev
January 7th, 2009, 14:14
You did your son a big disservice by not teaching him English.

Lee
January 7th, 2009, 23:07
You did your son a big disservice by not teaching him English.

what's to say his son doesn't learn English later on?

regardless of how "smart" it is to learn English in this current day and age, I dunno how you can criticize someone who values spending time with his family over trying to force feed the language to his son when he himself doesn't like the way it's taught through the system his son goes through.

/end rant

back to the topic of the DSi. the one thing that sorta swayed me away from buying it today at the mall (aside from the fact that the store didn't have the games I wanted) was the software-regional lock. Because the DSi OS is a software, the language is locked in Japanese? So I can't change it to English? I know that I'll be able to play DSi games sold in America (the games themselves are not locked by region) but yea, that suddenly doesn't sound too appealing.

I know a few of you who have bought the DSi claim to be Japanese Langauge noobies, has it been a struggle to use it? Is it worth it? And if so, should I just wait to pick one up in Tokyo when I visit? Also, did you guys buy the games online or where did you find the games themselves?

AliDimayev
January 7th, 2009, 23:17
what's to say his son doesn't learn English later on?

regardless of how "smart" it is to learn English in this current day and age, I dunno how you can criticize someone who values spending time with his family over trying to force feed the language to his son when he himself doesn't like the way it's taught through the system his son goes through.

/end rant

back to the topic of the DSi. the one thing that sorta swayed me away from buying it today at the mall (aside from the fact that the store didn't have the games I wanted) was the software-regional lock. Because the DSi OS is a software, the language is locked in Japanese? So I can't change it to English? I know that I'll be able to play DSi games sold in America (the games themselves are not locked by region) but yea, that suddenly doesn't sound too appealing.

I know a few of you who have bought the DSi claim to be Japanese Langauge noobies, has it been a struggle to use it? Is it worth it? And if so, should I just wait to pick one up in Tokyo when I visit? Also, did you guys buy the games online or where did you find the games themselves?

It's his son. All you have to do is speak english when he was a baby and he would learn. How do you think I learned Chechen even though I grew up in America?

I have a friend whose mom is from Italy and father is from Germany. When his mom was with him (from a baby) she spoke Italian. When his father was with him (again, since he was born) he spoke German. When both parents were with him, they spoke English. So he grew up speaking three languages.

AliDimayev
January 7th, 2009, 23:18
I am talking about how he should ahve spoke Englishi to his son since the day he was born, so he could grow up learning English and japanese.

Dy'understand?

Lee
January 7th, 2009, 23:34
I am talking about how he should ahve spoke Englishi to his son since the day he was born, so he could grow up learning English and japanese.

Dy'understand?

Yea, I understand that. I also understand that kids at a very young age are more receptive to learning multiple languages than later on. I get that it's easier and in your opinion, would've been prudent for reed to have done so. But to say that he was doing his son a disservice with all the reasons he listed as to why he didn't, sounded a bit harsh.

It's great that you learned Chechen as a youngster. I myself was taught Korean since I was 1 all the way till I was 13. I can't speak Korean for the life of me, but I can sure as hell speak Spanish quite well, which I learned through High School. Every child is different and a lot of parents (hopefully) do their best to rear that child in a way that best fits their environment/lifestyle.

Ryee
January 8th, 2009, 06:07
He is Japanese, of course!

He's 10 years old and heading into 5th grade very soon, with increasing responsibility in all areas of study, so we don't push him on English. He'll pick it up or he won't, but I'm unsalvageably disgusted with the Japanese education system and will never, ever subject my son to the kind of language "education" that I'm forced to teach in schools, and which he has no interest in anyway. We will study it together in the USA, if he asks, and he will benefit from real-life use and exposure then, but as long as we're in Japan we speak Japanese. I suddenly sound defensive, don't I! The funny thing is that I met him and my wife when as students at my eikaiwa. And while they continued as students for a while after that, we all felt it was ridiculous, and so real learning happens in much smaller steps, in real ways, at home in private. But I'm combating six hours of school a day and as many as five hours of homework a night, in Japanese, with barely enough energy or stability to even keep the family together. English is one of the least important things these days.

Imagine your father as an oil prospect and rig man. He comes home every day exhausted and dirty and says the business is crap, it's crap, it's so horrible, but it pays the bills. Then imagine you go to work with your dad once a week to "learn the oil biz", and discover that his job is actually mixing black ink with syrup and squirting it on the heads of other people who laugh and swallow and imagine they are making progress. Your dad is spouting ridiculous simple facts about oil, laughing with them, sort of maniacal. Not your dad at all. We felt that way as a family about me "teaching English" to them, and go to lengths to avoid it at home, which means not really doing it in a structural real way either. We're tired. We all pop in Spongebob and then a few episodes of CSI, English dialogue Japanese subtitles, and get more out of that. Then we buy cheap Walmart books aimed at English-speaking 10 year olds, stuff about spiders or snakes, educational stuff that uses simple language but doesn't treat its audiences like fools. His comprehension is always higher than I expect. I don't translate when we do this stuff. Well, okay, I do sometimes. But it's more for me.
:kaos_chi_xmas3:

How did this get so long?!

To put an end to the debate going on above me about teaching his son English at a young age, read what he actually wrote (I've bolded it for you) :roll:

He met his wife and son at an eikaiwa; i.e., his son is--at least technically--his stepson, so there was probably no chance for him to teach the kid English as an infant/toddler, since they hadn't met yet.

And now, for something completely different...

:p_cake:

Lee
January 8th, 2009, 10:59
To put an end to the debate going on above me about teaching his son English at a young age, read what he actually wrote (I've bolded it for you) :roll:

He met his wife and son at an eikaiwa; i.e., his son is--at least technically--his stepson, so there was probably no chance for him to teach the kid English as an infant/toddler, since they hadn't met yet.

And now, for something completely different...

:p_cake:

haha good eye ryee.

Hyakuman
January 8th, 2009, 16:15
For learning kanji reading/writing, I use a game called なぞっておぼえる大人の漢字練習.

It doesn't have the meanings, but it straight drills you from beginner kanji, right through to the last joyo kanji. The thing I like about it, is that the tests make you write pronunciation and kanji, so you learn how to actually write the kanji. It's a fairly simple game but definitely one of the best in my mind.

It also shows you the proper stroke order, and all the associated pronunciations for the particular kanji.

UPGRAYEDD
January 9th, 2009, 10:20
For these DS programs are there any out there where you can customize the order you learn kanji in?

I've been using a book called 'Kanji in Context' where they introduce kanji in their own order and I would like a DS program where I can follow the same order as the book.

Hyakuman
January 9th, 2009, 11:15
I think all games teach you it like gradeschool does, starting from grade 1 and up. There's no customization available that I know of.

AliDimayev
January 9th, 2009, 14:22
God damn. My DS and Ipod shuffle both crapped out on me over the last two weeks.

Atalante
January 9th, 2009, 14:29
back to the topic of the DSi. the one thing that sorta swayed me away from buying it today at the mall (aside from the fact that the store didn't have the games I wanted) was the software-regional lock. Because the DSi OS is a software, the language is locked in Japanese? So I can't change it to English? I know that I'll be able to play DSi games sold in America (the games themselves are not locked by region) but yea, that suddenly doesn't sound too appealing.

I know a few of you who have bought the DSi claim to be Japanese Langauge noobies, has it been a struggle to use it? Is it worth it? And if so, should I just wait to pick one up in Tokyo when I visit? Also, did you guys buy the games online or where did you find the games themselves?

Now, my Japanese is pretty good and all, but I think that someone who knows none of the language will be able to navigate the DSi interface with little problem. If nothing else, just by trial and error, but there are lots of pictures for the icons and it's pretty logically laid out. The games themselves aren't region locked, but you'll be stuck on the Japanese download store if you care about that.

Very, very, very, very few DS games base their language on your system language, and all of those games have language options that you can manually change when you start it.

Johonasen
January 18th, 2009, 16:22
Not to change the subject ...but what is a program that you'd recommend for someone that dosn't have a DS and is a beginner?

Wakatta
January 18th, 2009, 21:47
Not to change the subject ...but what is a program that you'd recommend for someone that dosn't have a DS and is a beginner?

Have you learned hiragana and katakana yet? If not, do so. A simple google search for like "learn hiragana" will do you fine.

Also, pick up Anki. It's an adaptive flashcard program. You can make any sort of decks you want...you could even start by making some hiragana flashcards with it, having the hiragana on the front side and the reading on the back.

Do note: (and I apologize in advance if you already learned kana and thus this is totally unnecessary) that らりるれろ is not "ra ri ru re ro"; basically, move your mouth like "r" but your tongue like "l" and you'll get the right sound. Similarly, ふ is not "fu"...but it's close. Just ease up on the bottom lip, which softens it a touch in the "h" direction. Like, the air is going maybe more forward and less over the bottom lip. Also, the がぎぐげご series has a touch of an "n" sound in front; don't make it too sharp. Remember that Japanese doesn't really stress particular syllables. (I'm probably getting this wrong from a proper linguistic perspective, but I'm trying to give the gist.) Even long syllables aren't louder or anything. Get your pronunciation right from the get-go. Listen to anything in Japanese that you can to try to build a sense for rhythm and tone.

Slime Forest is a great game for kanji...but I would not recommend it to a beginner. Learn at least a hundred or so kanji the old-fashioned way first, getting used to how to do the subcomponents in the correct order and building an intuitive sense for how kanji go together before you bring that into play.

For a dictionary, I suggest picking up the freeware "Rikai-chan" plugin for Firefox. Great dictionary, totally free.

Johonasen
January 18th, 2009, 21:56
Thank you, I will look into the programs you've mentioned. As for skill level I'm absolutely clueless. I took Spanish in HS, Arabic in college, and spanish and English are spoken in my home but I stay on the English side