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Thread: Samesong's guide to using your computer to kick J-go's ass

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    Default Samesong's guide to using your computer to kick J-go's ass

    I've been nerding out and using my computer to help me study Japanese for the past 5 years, and I just realized I know one or two tricks that would help a lot of you out. Here are some links, programs, tricks/tips, etc to make studying Japanese easier.

    This might be a work in progress; I'll probably think of something later and add it. If you can think of something yourself, post in this thread and I'll add it!

    Also this is a call to all Mac users; I think I've touched a Mac less times than I've touched girls' private parts (both of which are pretty dismal in number ), so if you have any information, shortcuts, links, etc on using Japanese on a Mac, please give m your input. I'll put it in this thread.

    I'm also going to abuse my moderator powers and make this post sticky

    So far this guide is geared to Windows' users only. Of course there's a lot of overlap; a website is a website, but some tricks will only work on a Windows machine.

    Before you proceed you should have Microsoft's IME installed; If you have Windows XP or Vista, this comes on the installation CD, so there isn't any need to download anything. There's no point in re-inventing the wheel, so if you can't type Japanese on your computer, use this guide to get you started

    TEH GUIDE・・・LOLZ!1!

    ・Kanji Tips

    Use your computer to look up a kanji on paper

    Windows user's only: Did you know you can use your computer to draw a kanji and get it converted into a character? On the IME bar, Click 'IME Pad' it's the 2nd from the right:


    Once you click that, you'll see a window that looks like this:



    Draw the kanji you're looking for, and it'll pop up on the right. Simetimes you have to really exaggerate certain strokes to get it to work properly, but once you use it a few times, it's by far the easiest way to look up a kanji.


    Look up the stroke order of a kanji

    Really simple:
    1. Go here
    2. Key in the kanji. In fact, key in as many as you like. They don't even have to be correct compounds.
    3. At the end of the kanji info, you will see a link that says SOD (stroke order diagram). Click that.
    4. Be amazed at how long you've been going without this.

    Quickly get the reading of a kanji
    Again, this is windows users only.

    1. Copy whichever kanji/kanji compound you want to the clipboard (control + C)
    2. Open notepad. (Quickest way... 1. Hit Windows key + R 2. type 'notepad', hit enter.
    3. Paste the kanji into Notepad
    4. Hi-lite the kanji, and then right click
    5. Click 'Reconversion'
    6. Look at the drop-down list and find the reading.


    Quickly get the reading AND meaning of a kanji

    When chatting online to Japanese friends I often find myself rushing to get the meaning of a compound that they nonchalantly typed. To keep up the speed of the conversation, I figured out how to get a reading/meaning of kanji or a string of words/kanji in the quickest way possible (I believe).

    The setup
    1. Install Firefox if you haven't already
    2. Install the Rikaichan plugin. Make sure you install the main extension AND the dictionary file. This is very important.
    3. Bookmark this site. It's nothing but a couple of blank boxes (I custom made this.. for your purposes you'll only need one box. Create a shortcut to this site on your desktop for quick access.

    The process
    When you do this and become familiar with it, this shouldn't take more than a couple seconds. This takes a hell of a lot longer to explain that it does to actually do.

    1. Copy a kanji or a whole sentence to the clipboard. So say if your friend says something like 栗田艦隊援助のための囮となっていた小沢艦隊も10月25日早暁に米軍第38任務部隊第3群の艦載機の空襲に遭遇し.. copy the whole thing.
    2. Open the box page I told you to bookmark earlier.
    3. Righ click on the page, click "Rikaichan"
    4. Paste the sentence/kanji
    5. Hover over words/kanji you don't know.

    As you need to look up more words (say you keep talking to somebody online), keep this page open. Whenever you come across another kanji you don't know, alt+tab back to that page, paste the kanji, and hover over it. スーパーファスト!!



    ・Word/grammar lookup Tips

    Of course you can use Rikaichan from above to look up most words, but sometimes you get a word that isn't in that dictionary, or you come across some obscure grammar. Here are some sites/tips to keep in mind:

    Use ALC to look up grammar

    1. If you haven't bookmarked ALC, do so now. This is by far one of the best and thorough dictionaries online.

    2. Key in the grammar. Say you don't know what さえ means. Type that in and hit enter

    3. Have a look at all the results that come up and be amazed. There usually isn't an exact defintion of grammar points in ALC, but when it comes to the more obscure stuff, it's much better to learn by example than it is to read a linguistic definition.

    This website has hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of example sentences. Whenever you're unsure of a word use or grammar, use this site to your heart's desire.

    Install JQuicktrans for offline lookup
    It's shareware, but fully functional. It has a great GUI and it uses Jim Breen's dictionary (the same one you use for kanji stroke lookup as well as the same one that Rikaichan uses). Download it here



    ・Japanese Typing Tips
    There are a few things that you can learn to make typing Japanese much easier.

    Know your keyboard shortcuts
    If you're clicking the language bar to switch between English and Japanese to type, you're doing it the slow way. Burn these shortcuts into your memory:

    -ALT + Shift
    This will cycle through the languages installed in your computer. If you just have Japanese and English installed, this will switch between the two

    -ALT + ~
    If you don't know where the ~ (tilde) key is, it should be below your escape key and to the left of the '1' key. When using Japanese IME, this shortcut will switch between Hiragana and Romaji.

    Here's another tip: Un-install the English IME from your computer and make Japanese IME your default. This way you won't ever haver to deal with hitting ALT + Shift to get to Japanese; you'll always be in the Japaense IME, and if you need to switch between Eigo and Nihongo, hit ALT + ~, like I mentioned earlier.

    Soon enough your fingers will automatically form to hit the ALT + ~ combination like they would when you get muscle memory from forming a chord when paying guitar. (I use my thumb for ALT and middle finger for the ~)

    F7
    F7 is a godsend; it will automatically convert what you type to katakana (no need to fuss around with the slow language bar).

    1. Type what you want to become katakana in hiragana
    2. Hit F7. That's it!
    (If for some reason you need half-width katakana, hit F8 instead)

    Use your Japanese IME to quickly convert huge numbers
    Sometimes it's difficult to convert huge numbers from Japanese to Engish on the fly.. for example if you want to know how to say "Five hundred and fifty three billion, nine hundred and forty-eight million, two hundred and seventy-three thousand, two hundred and seventy-five", it really takes a minute or two to process. So, do this.

    1.Make sure you're typing in Japanese. Key in the number
    2. Without hitting enter, hit the space bar. Scroll down. Let's say our number is the aforementioned one: 553,948,273,275
    3. Look at all the pretty results! Looks like it would be 5539億4827万3275 in Japanese, or 五千五百三十九億四千八百二十七万三千二百七十五.


    Make pretty stars and music notes with Japanese.
    I believe there's actually a thread that has a more thorough list, but here are some basic symbols and how to get them to come up:

    Musical note: ♪ - type おんがく and hit space
    Star: ★☆ - type ほし, hit space
    Arrows: ⇒ ←↑↓: type みぎ、ひだり、うえ、した respectively


    I'm sure there's more in this brain of mine; I'll post them then I think of them.

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    How do you type hearts? And all those other crazy emoticons? And the symbol that goes in front of postal codes?

    ETA: (´・ω・`)

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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Nicework there samesong!

    My favourites:

    Hiraganamegane: Furiganas up even the most arsey looking Japanese websites. http://www.hiragana.jp/en/

    www.speedanki.com - best kanji site ever.
    Melanie: back!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdDxFsopVs

    'Oh it's so wonderful to be an older woman. All this old stuff to do'

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    OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE mteacher80's Avatar
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    ☆★try typing the name for it in japanese hoshi ほし=★

    ♭♯♪ =おんがく

    〒 = ゆうびん

    if all else fails just type in kigou きごう (symbol/mark) and scroll down till you find the one you want.
    ☆★REAL EYES REALIZE REAL LIES★☆

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    awesome post samesong!!

    thanks so much! ☆

    :smt007
    fucking genki

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    Where's the love for Mac users?
    "Like anyone with a sliver of honesty in them I believe what I find I believe when I wake up each morning."
    Stephen Fry, The stars' tennis balls

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    You didn't read my half-witty comment about using Macs? Wicket if you know anything about using a mac and Japanese, please share and I'll post it.

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    Resident ewok wicket's Avatar
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    The only thing I know is that you only have to click on the flag to change from English to Japanese. And the dashboard feature has a dictionary (but you need to be online to use it) and weather reports for your local area.
    "Like anyone with a sliver of honesty in them I believe what I find I believe when I wake up each morning."
    Stephen Fry, The stars' tennis balls

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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Really? All i get is weather for some place called Cupertino in Farenheit.

    Now is it just me or is the ground shaking?

    Edit: No it was just my neighbour. I love the way building in Japan are made of matchsticks depsite the whole earthquake thing.
    Melanie: back!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdDxFsopVs

    'Oh it's so wonderful to be an older woman. All this old stuff to do'

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    Very very nice thread. Thanks dude!

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    Resident ewok wicket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dombay
    Really? All i get is weather for some place called Cupertino in Farenheit.
    .
    You have to set it to the right region, Dombay. Don't ask me how - why do you think I married a computer nerd?
    "Like anyone with a sliver of honesty in them I believe what I find I believe when I wake up each morning."
    Stephen Fry, The stars' tennis balls

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    Oooh thanks Wicket for the info about the dictionary widget - I didn't know about that. Japanese support for Macs is so easy - as you would expect. Goto System Preferences>Keyboard>and select Japanese input support from there. A little flag will appear on the bar at the top of the screen and you can select all the different Japanese entry formats from then on. There are some commands that let you do this quickly but I'm not at my mac now so I can't remember them. You can even change your mac OS to display Japanese language by going to the Interntional section of the System Preferences.

    As for the weather widget. When you have your mouse over the widget a little 'i' should appear at the bottom right hand corner of the widget. You can click on that and it will flip over so that you can customize your weather display. I think it covers most places in the world - if it's got the weather forecasts for Yamagata its sure to have them for other inaka places!

    There are some great mac resources for Japanese learning. JEDict is a free download for mac users only a believe. It has a comprehensive dictionary and a kanji writing tool to search for the right meanings.

    I also use iFlash (mac only program) which is an electronic flashcard program and has been invaluable for kanji learning and vocab learning - you have lots of flexibility to customize the flashcard groups.

    Rikaichan works on Firefox for Macs so there are quite a few crossovers mentioned by Samesong.

    As I say, I have a few more bits and pieces up my sleeve but I'm not at my mac now and so my memory is VOID.

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    Member kasugai's Avatar
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    I never noticed the IME pad before! Thanks for sharing

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    Nothing to do with Japanese, and other Mac users probably already know this, but you can scroll a page just by using 2 fingers on the trackpad instead of one. If you have 2 fingers on the trackpad you can "rightclick" by touching the mouse button.
    I've only been using this laptop for 2 years. Sheesh!
    "Like anyone with a sliver of honesty in them I believe what I find I believe when I wake up each morning."
    Stephen Fry, The stars' tennis balls

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    Quote Originally Posted by wicket
    Nothing to do with Japanese, and other Mac users probably already know this, but you can scroll a page just by using 2 fingers on the trackpad instead of one. If you have 2 fingers on the trackpad you can "rightclick" by touching the mouse button.
    I've only been using this laptop for 2 years. Sheesh!
    Alternatively, you can set it up to recognize a double finger tap as a "right-click." :wink:

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    big tip for mac users: If you're running OSX 10.5 (did you buy your mac after october last year?), then your computer has a built in japanese-english dictionary.

    How to use it:

    1) Open the dictionary application. You'll find it in your "Applications" folder.

    2) From the "Dictionary" menu in the menubar, choose "preferences"

    3) You'll see a list of sources. Make sure that the boxes next to "Japanese-English" and "Japanese" are checked, and you'll probably want to drag "Japanese-English" so that it's higher in the list, above "Japanese" but below "Dictionary" or "Thesaurus".

    4) Now you can look japanese words up in the Dictionary application, by selecting the Japanese-English or Japanese sources from the bar near the top of the dictionary window. You need to have Japanese text input switched on to do that. What's far more useful and convenient is using the dictionary keyboard shortcut in other programs. Try it out - open Safari, go to yahoo.co.jp, move the mouse cursor over a japanese word, and press "Control+Command (or Apple)+D". You may have to hold the keys down for a tick, but it should pop up a little window with a definition of the word under the cursor, from either the Japanese-English (hopefully!) or Japanese dictionary. This only works in some programs (probably not firefox) but having it in safari is awesome.

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    Member feckless's Avatar
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    Super easy Mac version!!

    Quick note about Japanese on Macs: By default, any G4/G5/Intel Mac can view Japanese. You only need to enable the ability to type Japanese text.


    Enabling Japanese Input

    Step 1:


    More steps:

    Note: The "Last (optional)" step is described in "Method #2" below.


    Switching to Japanese Input


    Method #1: Clickity click!


    Method #2: Keyboard shortcuts
    (continuation of the "Last optional" step above)

    Then hit your keyboard shortcut and type away!



    Tips for typing in Japanese

    • Hit the spacebar after typing a word to see the different writing options. Keep hitting spacebar to cycle through them.
    • Holding Shift while typing will result in Katakana input. Caps Lock does NOT have the same effect.
    • Typing "x" will make the next character subscript. Examples: パーテー, あぁぁぁ. However, the っ character will appear automatically when you type any two consonants together (e.g. "ppo" = っぽ).
    • The shortcut for ellipses (…) is Opt-; (Option + semicolon).
    • The shortcut for the yen sign (¥) is Opt-\ (Option + backslash)
    • You can get a list of ALL the special Japanese symbols by enabling the Character Palette (very first checkbox in the "More Steps" image above) and setting the drop-down menu on the Character Palette to "Japanese."
    • A few more tips at macosxhints.


    English-Japanese dictionaries that work on Macs

    • Leopard's built-in Japanese-English dictionary - 10.5 and higher ONLY. Mentioned previously in this thread.
    • Rikaichan (Firefox Plugin) - Also mentioned above. Great on-the-fly Japanese lookup right in Firefox.
    • JEDict - My personal favorite. Shareware ($25 registration allows you to add other dictionaries, like name dictionaries and other languages, but I just use it free). Has something similar to handwriting recognition (only lets you draw straight lines, so not EXACTLY handwriting), JLPT vocab lists, a built-in browser, stroke order animations, custom vocab lists, and a bunch of stuff I've never even used yet.
    • Jisho - Very easy-to-use dictionary. Shareware ($17 registration). The only one on this list I haven't used personally, but other people seem to like it.
    • WWWJDIC - Jim Breen's Online Japanese Dictionary. Online, so actually works on any computer. Comes with examples and verb conjugations, which are especially helpful.
    • Japanese (iPhone / iPod Touch app) - $19.99, which is a crazy price for an iPhone app, but a MUCH cheaper alternative to a real electronic dictionary when you already have an iPod Touch / iPhone. Also supports handwriting recognition (requires you to turn on the traditional Chinese writing input), stroke order animations, JLPT vocab lists, verb conjugations, and custom word lists.


    Other resources


  18. #18
    ERRRRRGG Avocado's Avatar
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    Default Re: Samesong's guide to using your computer to kick J-go's ass

    Yup, that's pretty much what I did. But I have mine set up so that the caps lock key toggles hiragana/romaji on and off, which is pretty handy, except for those rare times when I feel the need to type in all caps.

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    VIP hige's Avatar
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    Default Re: Samesong's guide to using your computer to kick J-go's ass

    i use:

    Denshi Jisho - Online Japanese dictionary

    the examples sentences are reallllllllllllllllly helpful.
    Lick my cookie, drink my apple juice

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by feckless View Post
    • Japanese (iPhone / iPod Touch app) - $19.99, which is a crazy price for an iPhone app, but a MUCH cheaper alternative to a real electronic dictionary when you already have an iPod Touch / iPhone. Also supports handwriting recognition (requires you to turn on the traditional Chinese writing input), stroke order animations, JLPT vocab lists, verb conjugations, and custom word lists.
    What about the Kotoba Japanese dictionary app? It's *free* and works fine! But doesn't have all that sweet extra stuff.

    (But god, handwriting recognition on iTouch is impossible, but probably just because I blow at writing correct stroke order.)

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